1000 Picture Books – Part 4: Point of View

This is the paragraph to skip if you have already been following this series.  In 2016 I decided to learn more about current trends in picture book market by reading 1000 books. As I did, book by book, this monster of statistics, began to grow into what you see before you. In case you missed any of the previous parts, click here: Part 1 – Picture book makers; or Part 2 – Characters; or Part 3 – Genre.

Now, we continue with point of view and settings.


442 – Past

430 – Present

34 – Future

5 – Multiple

25 – Wordless

I’m surprised that past and present are nearly equal. I felt like I read so many more written in past tense.



583 – Third

174 – First

53 – Third

88 – Conversation

8 – Lists

5 – Letters

2 – Questions

6 – Multiple

25 – Wordless



820 – Not in rhyme

161 – Rhyming

10 – Some rhyme, some not

We’ve all heard it – don’t write in rhyme. I do all the time, I love it. Maybe, I’m a glutton for punishment, and as we can see here, not nearly as many rhymers are making it onto the page. I would be interested to see statistics from a publishing house on the percentage of rhyming picture book manuscripts they receive. Of the books I read, 16% were in rhyme. If the percentage of rhyming books being submitted is smaller than 16% then it would be an advantage to write in rhyme. I’m guessing the opposite is true.


Time Period:

852 – Contemporary

96 – Past

5 – Prehistoric

2 – Future

2 – Multiple


Weather/Time of day/Seasons:

824 – Weather was not important to the story.

74 – Night or Dark

43 – Winter or Snow

27 – Across the 4 seasons

14 – Rain

10 – Summer

6 – Wind

5 – Storm

4 – Spring

4 – Autumn



158 – Multiple locations

151 – Home

81 – No clear location

78 – Woods

61 – Traveling around town

56 – School

51 – City

43 – Specifically, not is the USA (most popular not-USA locations: 8-Africa; 7-France; 5-Middle East; 4-Mexico)

34 – Ocean

28 – Yard

27 – Farm

25 – Jungle

20 – Kingdom

15 – Space

14 – Zoo

13 – Park

10 – Library

7 – Stage

6 – Around the world

6 – Book

5 – Garden


And some other stuff:

51 – Books with back matter

1 – Board books

2 – Comic Book Style

15 – Books that could be manipulated (flaps, pop-ups, turning book, etc.)


Phew! That’s it for the stats. Well, that was quick and easy.

I’ll write one more blog post to wrap everything up. Part 5 is right here.

8 thoughts on “1000 Picture Books – Part 4: Point of View

  1. I have LOVED reading these posts. David. Thanks so much for sharing (yes, the past vs. present tense split is surprising!).

    1. Thanks, Lori. That stat feels wrong to me too, but those were the notes I took. I know this is just my sampling, so I would be curious to see what the actual percentages are.

  2. I am impressed, David! You compiled a list of seriously interesting facts. I would never have guessed that the number of past tense stories would nearly equal those written in present tense. (I suddenly feel compelled to play with some of my WIP manuscripts to see how they sound.) My surprise also goes to the number of first person stories. It would be interesting to read 1000 picture books written ten years ago, twenty years ago, etc… to see how the numbers change. Thanks for sharing your research. I’m going to keep notes on the picture books I read this year and see what numbers I discover.

    1. I am with you, Leslie, I bet there were less first person in the past. and I too, wish those stats were available. In ten years, someone will be able to compare theirs to these.

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