Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Reading For Research Month, Day 3

Thank goodness the ReFoReMo people take weekends off. Even with two spare days, I'm having trouble keeping up. This is yesterday's ReFoReMo material.

So yesterday we had Heidi E. Y. Stemple writing about back matter. (She explains what it is for you who aren't familiar with the term, but, in short, it's extra material, often explanatory, at the back of a book.) What is particularly interesting about today's information is that Stemple points out that back matter can be used with fiction picture books as well as nonfiction. Certainly I've seen back matter, and even written it, in middle grade novels and above. I've just never considered it in terms of, say, picture book poetry.

One of the benefits of back matter in these cases, in my humble opinion, is that it makes poetry and literary types of work more accessible to those child readers who just want the facts, ma'am. It gives the books something for everybody.

Monday's Picture Books

I read six out of twelve.  All these books include back matter.

I Took the Moon for a Walk by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay is a great combination of poetry, story, and art. And the back matter has the same elegant edge as the main text.

Best in Snow by April Pulley Sayre has just a few lovely words per 
spectacular snow photograph. The back matter provides factual information for some of those lovely words. 

Thunder Underground by Jane Yolen with illustrations by Josee Masse is like an earth
science book of poetry. In fact, that may be exactly what it is. Back matter is a little more technical.

More-igami by Dori Kleber with illustrations by G. Brian Karas is a full on, traditional story about a child learning origami. The back matter here is a little different. It's two pages of origami instruction.

Listen to Our World by Bill Martin Jr. & Michael Sampson with illustrations by Melissa Sweet starts out with a human mother asking her child, "Can you hear the sounds of our world?" Then what follows is a series of two-page spreads of animal worlds and those worlds' sounds. The back matter is a description of the animals in those worlds.

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Amazing Bear by Lindsay Mattick with illustrations by Sophie Blackall is categorized at fiction at the library where I found it. But it does say "true story," folks, right there in the title. It could be confusing for some people because it's set up as a mother telling her child a true story about a bear, so that frame may bring the fiction aspect in. Why, yes, I am nitpicking. Oh. Oh, the back matter. It's a photo album of WWI-era photographs of the man and bear who the book, particularly the first part, is about.

Can I add back matter in my picture book manuscript? Perhaps some kind of parody of back matter?

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