Picture Books 101, Part 2: Different Types of Picture Books

Posted by Rita Lorraine

Hi Everybody,

Last time in our Picture Book Series, we defined just what a picture book is, and talked about its make up. Wasn’t that fun???

Now we’re ready for Picture Books 101, Part 2: Different Types of Picture Books. Here we go!

Picture books, Baby books, Rita Writes History


Baby Books

For infants and young toddlers, these books are generally lullabies, nursery rhymes, fingerplays, or wordless books.

Toddler books

Very simple stories for ages 1-3 (under 300 words) familiar to a child’s everyday life, or concept books (teaching colors, numbers, shapes, etc.) Books are short (12 pages is average) and the format can be board books (sturdy paper-over board construction), pop-ups, lift-the flaps or novelty books (books that make sounds, have different textures, etc.) See the “Max” series of board books by Rosemary Wells (Dial).

Early Picture Books

These books are geared toward the lower end of the 4-8 age range; the stories are simple and contain under 1000 words. Many early picture books have been reprinted in the board book format, thus widening the audience.

Easy Readers

The name for this type of book speaks for itself. These books are for children just starting to read on their own (age 6-8), and have illustrations on every page like a picture book.

The length varies greatly by publisher; the books can be 32-64 pages long, with 200-1500 words of text, occasionally going up to 2000 words. The stories are told mainly through action and dialogue, in grammatically simple sentences (one idea per sentence). Books average 2-5 sentences per page.

Transition Books

These books are specifically designed for ages 6-9, and are sometimes called “early chapter books.” They bridge the gap between easy readers and chapter books. They are written like easy readers in style, but they are longer (manuscripts are about 30 pages long, broken into 2-3 page chapters), and have a smaller trim size with black-and-white illustrations every few pages.

Well everybody, that’s all for this time. Tune in next time for Picture Books 101, Part 3: Chapter Books, Middle Grades, Young Adults, etc., which will post on November 25.

Best wishes and Happy Picture Book Writing!

Rita Lorraine

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