Author: Peter Brown
Illustrator: Peter Brown Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Word Count: 373
Story Element #4 DIALOGUE Dialogue is a conversation between characters. Authors often use dialogue to help the reader get into the character’s head without a lot of description. This is perfect for hearing the character’s voice in a story. It is especially effective in picture books where words are at a premium. Through sparse text boxes, dialogue, and facial illustrations Peter Brown is able to tell his story succinctly and humorously. Dialogue is used as especially valuable as a tool to show tension between characters. Peter Brown masterfully synthesizes the relationship between the bear cub, Lucy and her mother on the issue of keeping a boy as a pet. He has a two page spread which brings the reader directly into the ‘Can I keep him?’ conversation. (Sorry, I couldn’t get a copy of that spread for you.) Peter Brown is a dialogue wizard. Not only are the characters’ voices authentic, he presents them in conversation bubbles which move the story along naturally without the tiresome ‘he said, she said’ tag lines thereby sounding like a real conversation. Children Make Terrible Pets was followed the next year by You Will Be My Friend. Another story about Lucy and her over zealous ways of finding a new friend.
For more examples of his genius, check out two more of Peter Brown’s work.