Today is Picture Book Wednesday and we’ll be talking about circular/circle back endings and “book ends” – beginnings and endings that compliment each other. This technique is very common in a lot of books, not just picture books, but it’s a lot of fun to explore in picture books,
I love a circle back ending like the one in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond. It makes the reader say, “Uh oh. Here we go again!” That book opens with giving the mouse a cookie and the mouse wanting a glass of milk and ending with the mouse getting thirsty and having a class of milk and the boy realizing he probably will want a cookie to go with it.
In Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, the line is basically repeated. The book opens with the question: “Did you know dragons love tacos?” and ends with “After all, dragons love tacos.” Because of everything that’s happened in the story, this repetition of the first line has more resonance (and more humor in this particular book).
Other times you’ll see what’s often referred to as “bookends.” To me this means the beginning and end are similar in some way and may or may not have a near or exact repeat of an opening line. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illlustrated by Tom Lichetenheld is a great example of this. It opens with two “wide shot” spreads where we see all the vehicles working. But now that the sun is setting, it’s time for them to go to bed. The book ends with two “wide shot” spreads again, recapping similar concepts about hard work and that it’s time to sleep.
As you read picture books, see if they have some kind of circular/circle-back/bookend type ending. How effective is it? Does the ending seem different from the beginning, even if it repeats the beginning? If so, why?