Page 32, the last page in a picture book is a chance to give the reader a twist, or emphasize an emotion.
The last page of a picture book is a left-hand single page. Consider ways to use this last chance to connect with the readers.
Emphasize the emotional connection.
In Officer Buckle and Gloria, by Peggy Rathman, the last page of this story about friendship between a safety officer and his police dog reads, “Safety Tip #101 ‘Always Stick with Your Buddy.'”
- Begin the cycle again. My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann is a story about friends who face a potential disaster together. On the last page, they start a new potential disaster.
- Fulfillment. Sometimes a last page is simply the climax of the story, the fulfillment of the character’s desire. In When Marion Sang, by Pam Munoz Ryan, the last page of the story reads, “. . .and Marian sang.” In this story of opera singer, Marian Anderson, she not allowed to sing on many American stages because she was African American. In the end, though, “Marian sang.”
- Leave it to the Illustrator. Often the last page is a single-spread illustration with no words. It’s a hug, a child sleeping, or the sun setting. These last images are a place for the adult and the child in the lap to have a moment of silence, or give each other that special hug.
Nonfiction Last Pages
Nonfiction picture books tend to end with back matter: the author’s note, the sources, maps, etc. In this case, refer to the last page of the text for the above. But also think about ways to cut down on back matter so the story carries itself
Dizzy, by Jonah Winter, a story about the jazz musician, Dizzy Gillespie, (a book which received six starred reviews!), there’s only one page of Author’s Notes. It allows the reader to be fully in the story for almost the whole book. (Of course, sometimes a book needs more back matter, but cut when you can.)
If needed, revise the last page of your story.
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