• Plot – a series of events that tell a story
• Conflict – keeps the story going
• Characterization – consider appearance, action, thought, dialogue.
• Are the characters believable, dynamic, changing?
• Point of view
• Theme – what is the story about? what is the overall idea? not the plot
Who is the author? Look for biographical information.
Is there a logical sequence – either chronological or enumerated? Is there a table of contents? Is there an index?
Illustrations provide information by supporting or extending the text.
How do they relate to the text? Are they merely decorative? Or do they enhance and add? Are they up to date? Clear? Accurate?
Design clarifies the sequence of ideas and shows how the parts are related.
Is the appropriate size type used? Are different styles and sizes used? Why? For what purpose? How are the illustrations placed?
• WRITING STYLE
Style brings the subject to life. Is there precision? Clarity? Was the approach creative or original? How are the underlying principles presented? What is the tone? Is it appropriate for the subject matter?
Is there a bibliography of sources (indicating primary or secondary) ? Are the sources up-to-date? Are popular or scholarly sources used? Are there lists of further reading?
Reviewing Picture Books
The combination of illustration and text tell the story.
Most picture books are 32 pages in length. What is the story? How is it told?
• PATTERNED LANGUAGE
Look at rhythm and sound. Rhyme advances the predictability of the story.
Are there questions as part of the story (to directly involve the child in the story)? Patterned language should not overwhelm the story.
There’s the “drama of turning the page.”
Do the pages seem to turn in the right place? Does the text flow naturally?
How does it sound?
Line – Shape – Texture – Color. How are these composed together? With the use of line and shape, how do the illustrations relate to the story? Do they clarify? What media was chosen? Drawing – Painting – Prints – Collage – Photographs. What style was chosen? Realistic or abstract?