Carrie was inspired to start ReFoReMo, the Reading for Research Month Challenge, to help picture book writers enrich and reform their writing by reading and researching mentor texts, both fiction and nonfiction.
Every jam-packed expert post had me jotting notes and adding more titles to my maxed out library reserve list. A terrific post on re-readability from Susanna Leonard Hill really stuck in my brain. It was filled with “truthiness” about the magical qualities that cause certain books to stand out and become cherished favorites. As Susanna noted, that intangible factor that is different for every writer, every story, and every reader.
But why do we choose to re-read certain books? When I was little, my mother insisted that my favorite title was The Bundle Book by Ruth Krauss. I asked her to read it over and over, but did that mean it was my favorite? No! I just didn’t “get” the story. I was worried about the mystified mother who did not recognize that the “bundle” in the bed was obviously her own child. I continued to ask for re-readings, hoping eventually I’d figure out what it was all about.
Thankfully, it is much easier to identify the reasons I choose to re-read books today. Susanna’s excellent post names them all! Today when I close the cover of a picture book, I stop and think:
What was my favorite line?
What was my favorite image?
With some books the answers leap forward. They persist long after my last re-reading. For example:
And sometimes my favorite line and illustration are paired together.
From Sparky: “I reached over and tagged him on his claw. You’re it, Sparky,” I said. And for a long, long time he was.”
I’d love to hear what some of your favorite picture book lines and images are.
And just for fun, here’s a link to a recent Kirkus article called Picture Books Parents Will Actually Want to Read Over and Over.