One of the best ways to immerse oneself in the world of picture book writing is to read LOTS of picture books. It is also a very enjoyable part of the job. As per the advice of Deborah Underwood (http://www.deborahunderwoodbooks.com/), an instructor at the first writing conference I’ve ever attended, I go to the library once a week and read about ten current picture books. Periodically I will review a favorite from my reading sessions.
A recent favorite is Again! by Emily Gravett (2011 by Simon and Shuster). Picture books can be tricky because one is actually writing to two very different audiences, children and adults. Again! does this brilliantly speaking to both child and adult as it tells the story of a young dragon who wants his bedtime story read again and again. Parents and children will relate and get a laugh at the ending. Gravett is also the illustrator. Again! depicts beautifully the intricate dance between image and text that is so important in picture books. I find myself thinking about this book again and again! Check it out (http://www.emilygravett.com/).