Anatomy of a Picture Book Essay
Anatomy of a Picture Book
Format/Size •Rectangular—This is the shape of most books •Horizontal—Often used to in stories about journeys •Vertical—May be used for “larger than life” characters oCohn, Amy L. Abraham Lincoln. oIsaacs, Anne. Swamp Angel. •Cutout forms—cutout in the form of buildings, animals, etc. Book Jacket/Dust Jacket •Think of a book jacket as a small poster wrapped around the book with flaps on the front and back. oOriginally used to keep books from being soiled oNow used to be eye-catching, to encourage you to pick up the book.
•Should be appealing from a reasonable distance through its form and color •Provides important information about the book oTitle oAuthor oIllustrator oShould predict the contents of the book oShould convey the age group for the book oBack of book jacket normally includes the book’s barcode with ISBN (International Standard Book Number) number, a unique number to identify a book. •Jacket areas oFace—front that faces us as the book is closed and lies on the table ? Is the picture on the cover repeated inside the book or is it unique? If the cover is repeated, it anticipates the plot of the story. ?Does the cover contradict the story? Is the cover mystifying? ?Cover may reflect most dramatic or enticing episode in story.
However, the cover should not tell so much that it destroys the suspense of the story. ?Is the cover framed? Framing creates a sense of detachment. oBack—back of the jacket should relate to the front ?Consider how the book jacket flows from the front to the back ? When the jacket is flattened, the design should be homogeneous and consistent ? If you want to be a collector of children’s books, protect the book jackets by covering them in plastic. oWrap-around cover—uses one illustration that wraps around from the front to the back oBook flaps—include background information about the book.
May also tell about the author and/or illustrator, etc. oSpine—located to the left, along the bound edge of the book. This is a narrow panel which you see when the book is shelved. Normally includes the title, author, publisher, and sometimes the illustrator. Book Casing/Book Cover •Stiff-cased casing—This is what you find underneath the book jacket. This is hard to see on library copies that have plastic put over the covers that is taped down. oSome book covers are simply a repeat of the book jacket. oThe higher quality picture books have a different book casing that is a type of cloth.
?Consider how this contributes to the overall design of the book. Consider color of the cloth, use of patterns, ornaments, or drawings. Does the color used fit the book? oDesigns on casing—This design normally refers to the central motif or symbol of the book. ?Blind stamp—sunken image of the same color as the casing ? Die stamp—sunken image of different color than the casing. Endpapaper (Endsheets) •Serve as structural bond between body of book and casing. They are glued down to casing to hold the book together. They are usually of heaver stock paper.
oEndpapers may be a solid color, have a design, map, illustration, etc. Sometimes they convey important additional information. If the book is well designed the endpapers should be an integral part of the story. ?Color of endpapers may be symbolic to the story. •Endpapers should offer a transition between the exterior and the interior of the book, a “welcome” into the book. •Sometimes the narrative of the book actually begins on the endpapers. •Check to see if the front and back endpapers are exactly the same. If they are different, there is a significant reason. •Not included in paperback books.
•Front matter includes the beginning pages of the book through the title page and copyright page. Front matter may include blank or extra pages at the beginning of the book. oSets mood for story and may amplify meaning by indentifying books’ main character, setting, theme, etc. •Half title page (false title page)—placed before the title page and usually includes only the title and an illustration. Not found in every book. •Title page—includes title, author, illustrator, publisher. The illustration used on the title page should be one of the best found in the whole book. May be a detail of some picture in the body of the book.
oDouble-page spread—a design that is unified across two pages oTwo distinct pages—one page has illustration; the other has text •Copyright page—back or verso of the title page. oContains circled “c” or word “copyright” with the year of publication and the name of the copyright owner. oAlso includes the book’s printing numbers or printing code. A first printing of a book may in the future become very valuable. ?First edition “generally means the book you are holding is the first printing of the first edition, in other words the first appearance of this particular text” (Horning 13).
oIf a book was first published outside of the U. S. or a book is a translation, the original title, publisher, and date appear on the copyright page. oMay include the technique the illustrator used for the book, such as watercolor, gouache, colored pencils, oils, etc. oOften includes the name of the book’s typeface. oNormally includes the Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data (abbreviated as CIP). This information helps libraries catalog books faster. Includes call numbers for books and may include a summary of the book, as well as the author, illustrator, title, and publisher.
page—may be included in the book. If book’s have separate authors and illustrators, there may be dedications from both individuals. Dedications may give clues to interesting personal information about the author/illustrator. Back Matter •Pages in the back of the book after main part of the book. Sometimes the copyright page is part of the back matter. •May include author/illustrator information, photographs, reviews, etc. •May also include source notes, glossary, index, bibliographies, acknowledgements, notes on the illustrations, other supplemental information, suggested activities to use with children, etc.
Body of the Book •Main section of the book—what’s between the front matter and back matter. •Signature—pages inside the book are sewed or fastened together in one ore more sections classed signatures. A standard signature is sixteen pates. •Typeface/typography selected for book should fit the story. For emphasis, fonts may change (size, bold, italics). Layout of the text may also change to emphasize certain elements of the story. •Paper—should be of quality. May be matte, shiny, etc. Shiny paper gives a smooth, glazed surface that gives a high sheen and intensifies the colors.
May also be heavier paper stock or textured. •Gutter—the middle area where pages come together. The illustrations that go over the gutter should not be misaligned or have missing parts because they are “caught” or lost in the gutter. •Placement of the text oVery formal—text placed opposite the illustrations on an adjacent page. A border or frame around the text or illustrations is even more formal. oFormal—text positioned above or beneath the illustrations. oInformal—text shaped with irregular boundaries to fit inside, outside, between, around, or to the side of the illustrations.
oVery formal—no text at all (as in wordless books). •Placement of the illustrations oDouble-page spread—both facing pages are used for an illustration. The illustration “spreads across” both pages. Wanda Gag is credited with inventing this technique in her book Millions of Cats. oBorders—an outer edge or boundary, a frame, that encloses text and/or illustrations. Borders have decorative or geometric designs, folk designs from a particular culture, or visual symbols that relate to the story. oPanels—use of vertical sections to break apart an illustration. oVignettes—also called spot art.
Small illustrations integrated into the layout of a single or double-page spread. They often allow the illustrator to tell a story through various stages. •Page turner element—what on a page makes you want to turn the page to continue the story? oIllustration—is there something in the picture that makes you want to turn the page? A figure facing right on the right hand page is often a page turner element. oText—is there something in the story that encourages you to turn the page? Integrated Whole •Visual symbolism—use of physical objects in the illustrations to represent abstract ideas.
For example, a dove may symbolize love, gentleness, innocence, timidity, or peace. •A high quality picture book (like those which are Caldecott winners or honor books) should be well designed from the book jacket to the back matter, including the endpapers, and book casing. EECE 441 Prof. Sibley Minnesota State University Moorhead Bibliography Harms, Jeanne McLain, and Lucille J. Lettow. “Book Design Elements: Integrating the Whole. ” Childhood Education 75. 1 (1998): 17-24.
Education Full Text. Wilson Web. Livingston Lord Library, Moorhead, MN. 28 Aug. 2005 http://hwwilsonweb.com/. ___. “Book Design: Extending Verbal and Visual Literacy. ” Journal of Youth Services in Libraries 2. 2 (1989): 136-42.
Horning, Kathleen T. From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. Matulka, Denise I. “Anatomy of a Picture Book. ” 24 April 2005. Picturing Books. 28 August 2005 http://picturingbooks. imaginarylands. org/. Pitz, Henry C. Illustrating Children’s Books: History, Technique, Production. New York: Watson-Guptill, 1963. Troy, Ann. “Publishing. ” CBC Features. July-Dec. 1989. ©Carol Hanson Sibley, August 2005