How Many Pages in a Picture Book? Which Page is Page One?

While most picture books have 32 pages, that is not an absolute rule. In this post, I’ll show you several picture books, and I’l show you that page one of a picture book really isn’t page one. I’ll begin with my own picture book The Donkey’s Song.

The Donkey's Song by Jacki Kellum

The Donkey’s Song
Jacki Kellum
Illustrated by Sydney Hanson
32 Pages
Published by Doubleday for Young Readers
October 18, 2023

To break picture book structure into simple slices, every picture book that I have read [in book form] is meant to be viewed as two pages at a time. The two pages meet in the middle in an invisible but obvious gutter.

An endpaper normally faces the back of the front cover. Some of those endpapers are designed, and some are plain. Many endpapers are plain but colored.

The endpapers of The Donkey’s Song are illustrated beautifully, and the illustration there foreshadows what will unfold in the book. It is on the end paper that the illustrator Sydney Hanson begins telling her own version of the story. That is where she introduces the mouse. I didn’t write anything about a mouse in my manuscript. In a brilliant move by Sydney Hanson, the mouse is the second-most important character in “our” book.

Dan  Santat’s After the Fall has 36 pages, but his story also begins on page 5. Look at that book here:

After the Fall by Dan Santat – Picture Book Daily