General Characteristics of Children´s Literature. happily ever after….
General Characteristics of Children´s Literature
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All stories should have a happy ending. Even when there is a culprit who gets in trouble at the end, it should generally be nature, not man punishing him/her (as recommended by psychologists, with exception of the police being the punishers such as in the case of the comic story books).
“After a brief battle, the heroes save the day” (Batman).
a picture is worthmorethan 10000000000 words….
Illustration is very important, especially on the front cover. It should have something which will entice the parent and the child.
the hero and the villan…
There should be a limit to the number of characters. Usually, you should try to have about four or less characters, but this is not a strict rule one must follow.
Bizzibee, Sam Squirrel, Will Woodpecker, Brian Bever and Mary Mouse are all Simon´s friends in “Who´s Making that Noise”.
and the cowjumped over the moon…
Animals and objects in the story can be personified. This means that they become alive with the story. An example of this can be the moon carrying a smile when talking to his fellow star friends.
Butourfishsaid, ”Oh, no! Make that cat go away. Tell that Cat in the Hat you do not want to play.(The Cat in the Hat)
dawn of the dynamic duo
Language should be more simple, but even this is not mandatory as there are many children´s books designed for increasing vocabulary. Always keep the age group you are targeting in mind when you are writing. Playing with words such as rhyming or using alliterations (when all the words start with the same letter) is also encouraged.
And here's a new trick, Mr. Knox.... Socks on chicks and chicks on fox. Fox on clocks on bricks and blocks. Bricks and blocks on Knox on box. (Fox in Socks)
and the moral of the story is…
A great story has some type of moral or learning objective which the child will learn from the characters in the story. Whether it is a message of how to be a good citizen or friend, or whether it is another way to learn the alphabet, some type of learning objective should be a goal.
“And never bite your dentist when he works inside your head. Your dentist is your teeth´s best friend, bite carrot sticks instead!” (The Tooth Book).
Beautiful, detailed descriptions? Not so much…
The pace of the book has to be somewhat fast; otherwise the child will lose interest. Therefore, keep the plot moving! Start the adventure early and don´t waste too many pages on descriptions or other things which steer away from the plot.
”If you give a pig a party, she´sgoing to ask you for someballoons. When you giveher the balloons, she´llwant to decorate the house…”(If You Give a Pig a Party).
Some technical things…
Use quotation marks when characters are speaking.
For example: ”Wow, you scared me!” shrieks Charlie Chicken. (Ragamuffin)
Use a new paragraph when switching between different speaking characters.
For example, ”What can we play?” Ed asked him.
”Let´s play RED,” answered Tim.
”What is RED?” asked Ed. (Open Your Eyes)
You can substitute the word ”said” for words such as exclaimed, shouted, bellowed, boomed, whispered, etc. to make the story more descriptive.
For example, ”Mommy, Mommy, ” he cried. ”Come and help me!” (The Little Rabbit who Wanted Red Wings).