cover image From Pictures to Words: A Book about Making a Book

From Pictures to Words: A Book about Making a Book

Janet Stevens. Holiday House, $17.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1154-2

Stevens (Coyote Steals the Blanket: A Ute Tale) writes-and draws-herself into this innovative explanation of how authors and artists create picture books. Rendered in black-and-white drawings, she sits in her studio surrounded by vividly colored and humorously garbed animals who urge her to write a story. Stevens agrees, picks three creatures (a rhino, koala and cat) to appear in her tale and, insisting she is an illustrator and not an author, cautions them not to expect too much of her. As the characters contribute sometimes outlandish suggestions and diverting asides, Stevens tells them that their story needs a setting; a beginning, middle and end; plus a plot in which something happens. She lays out her sketches in a storyboard and then, with her chatty characters by her side, goes through the processes of writing, editing, making a dummy and creating the final art. Though the detailed explanations may prove a bit laborious, aspiring writers and artists will appreciate this tidy lesson. Ages 7-9. (Mar.)