The setting of a picture book is important because it determines much of the illustrations. Picture Book Settings
When writing for kids, you walk a fine line between what is familiar v. exotic. Kids like the familiarity of neighborhoods, homes and schools. Yet, they also need to have their world expanded and literature is a great way to do that. Try to stretch the setting, yet keep something familiar.
Examples of Picture Book Settings
- Where the The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, starts at home, sends the character out for a fantastic visit, then bring him back to the comfort of home again.
- Think of the Caldecott-Honor picture book, King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, by Audrey Wood, which uses the familiar ritual of a nightly bath, but turns it into something exotic.
- Or, turn something exotic into something familiar, as in Rachel and Obadiah, by Brinton Turkle, which treats a Quaker family and a historical family as just a normal family.
Suggested Reading for Familiar v. Exotic
Visit your local library or a bookstore and study the settings of children’s picture books. Here are titles to get you started.
- Traveling across country: The Journey of Oliver K. Woodman by Darcy Pattison
- Other countries: The Diary of A Wombat by Jackie French
- Fantasy settings: The Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
Combination of Familiar and Exotic
- 19 Girls and Me by Darcy Pattison (school and imaginative play that takes the kids to exotic spots)
- Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French (wombat interacts with humans)
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