Five Great Questions to Ask When Getting–or Giving!–a Lyrical Picture Book Critique

I recently attended a great webinar by the wonderful children’s book author Pat Zietlow Miller, titled “Lovely, Lyrical Language: Writing the Perfect Plotless Picture Book.”

All the thinking about lyrical picture books got me thinking about how hard it can sometimes feel to get (or give!) a great critique of a ‘plotless’ picture book. How to judge something so evocative? So…inherently subjective? (Well, all critiques are subjective…but especially so in these cases.)

So, during the Q&A, I asked Pat something to the effect of, “HELP!!! What are some good critique questions for lyrical picture books?”–only, you know, my original question was far more longwinded and poorly-worded.

Of course, she delivered! Here’s what she suggested–use them for your next lyrical picture book critique to make sure you are crafting the lyrical love!

  • Did you get bored anywhere?
  • Did you find anything too repetitive?
  • Is there enough balance between the universal (the broad strokes) and the specific (the details)?
  • Are there any lines you think could be more creative?
  • Can you read this aloud to me? <–I especially love this one! Couldn’t hurt and I never think to do that!

A huge thank you to Pat for giving me permission to share her super handy questions with you. She’s the best! You should follow her on Twitter, and Instagram, and check out all her wonderful books.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some questions to ask myself as I re-read my latest lyrical picture book manuscript!