Yes, indeedy, there is a special day just for counting your buttons. As a part-time seamstress, I have many-o-buttons to count, but I think I’d rather read a picture book involving a button, wouldn’t you? Of course you would! I happen to have a book suggestion just for this occasion. I present to you:
A pirate boy sees that his friend’s ship is in disrepair, so he encourages him to trade a button for two teacups, which are then traded for rope, and so on and so on, until the bartering leads to a happy pirate and a happy ending. Steve Light’s minimal text is matched with his signature intricate pen-and-ink illustrations to give the reader oh, so much to take in. The illustrations are mostly black & white with punches of bright blue, but splashes of other colors accentuate the items swapped. Even more to love: adorable map end papers (be sure to look at both the front and back) and a surprise hidden under the dust jacket. I highly recommend you read SWAP!
Read this review on Goodreads or Amazon.
If you’re interested in writing for children (or anyone), I highly recommend you join a critique group. I’ve already addressed the WHYs, the HOWs, and the WHO/WHERE/WHENs of Critique Groups. Today I’ll address WHAT things to consider when attending, or leading your own, critique group.
What Rules You Might Want to Consider When Leading/Forming a Group
Each group is different. Some groups set up strict rules, some have relaxed guidelines, others fall somewhere in between. “Rules about what?” you might ask. Rules can be about:
What to Do When Giving a Critique
The purpose of a critique group is to give and receive useful feedback so that all members can learn and support each other. So, when you give comments and suggestions on someone’s art or manuscripts, remember to frame them in a positive manner. Avoid sharing superficial comments (“I like this”). Instead, provide specific feedback about various aspects of the work in an honest, respectful and supportive way. A good rule of thumb is to use the “sandwich” technique:
What to Do When Receiving a Critique
It’s difficult to put your work out there for others to judge, but remember that your critique partners are there to help you become a better writer/illustrator. There are some things you can do to make the most out of the critiques you receive.
I hope I’ve now covered a lot of the Why, How, Where, When, Why, and What questions you may have had about Critique Groups, and I hope you plan to join one if you’re not in one already. Happy writing!
Heather is a busy wife and mom of five rambunctious children and one lovable pup They all provide lots of distractions, but oodles of inspiration. Sometimes the pictures and ideas in her head turn into her own children's stories, but she always makes time to read other people's books. Sometimes she reviews them here.