With some help from his dog, Ernie, Barton outlines the process of making an informational picture book.
First there is the idea and then lots of research: Even though Barton knows Ernie really well, he also knows that he doesn’t know everything—a valuable lesson for his young readers. Then, at a level of detail many readers may find astonishing, he describes the roles of the agent, the editor, the art director, the illustrator (and their agent); the myriad people at the publisher who are part of the team that makes the book a reality get mentions too: trafficker, typesetter, proofreader, marketing, etc. Horne illustrates it all with cheery cartoons that depict main characters as White but include people of color among the publisher’s staff. Lots of arrows help readers track the progress of the manuscript across the busy pages, display type highlighting some of the many, many questions that need to be asked and answered along the way. Through it all, Ernie helps to keep both author and readers grounded with requests for play or walks. Though Barton explicitly frames his hypothetical book as nonfiction, aside from minor details, the process he describes applies to works of fiction as well. Readers who’ve never thought very hard about what goes into making a book will come away slightly dizzy and appreciative of the complexity of the process.
A master class in how to make a picture book.(tips for readers, timeline) (Informational picture book. 7-12)