Brunhilda’s Backwards Blog Tour


Please welcome the talented Shawna Tenney, author and illustrator of Brunhilda’s Backwards Day, which is out just in time for Halloween! You’re not going to want to miss her fantastic tips for writing delightful picture book page turns.

Four Ways to Write Delightful Picture Book Page Turns

By Shawna Tenney


What do picture books have that no short story can ever have? Page turns!

I had so much fun with the page turns in Brunhilda’s Backwards Day. Whenever Brunhilda cast a spell, the result was hidden behind the page turn. And the outcome was always a surprise!

There are two parts to a page turn. The first part is the pause before the page turn, where tension is built and we feel an anticipation for what comes next. And the second part is the surprise after the page turn, or the punch line.

A great page turn can be accomplished in many different ways. Here are four ideas for creating a fun page turn. Remember, the keys are anticipation and surprise.



  1. Cause and effect– Show what happens first, and when you turn the page, show what happened because of that. I used this kind of page turn a lot in Brunhilda’s Backwards Day to show the cause and effect of Brunhilda’s spells.


  1. Stopping and starting a sentence– Stop in the middle of a sentence and finish it on the next page. You can even use transition words like: then, but, and, when, and finally.


  1. A continuation of an image– Start an image on one page and finish it on the next page. Or only show a small part of what is going on, and zoom out to show the whole picture after the page turn.


  1. Use a question– Ask a question on one page, and answer it after you turn the page.



Great page turns can be like a guessing game. The parent who is reading the book can sense a surprise is coming just around the page turn, and can ask the child, “what do you think will happen?” Children love to guess, and they are often right! Page turns give the parent and child great chances to interact.

One thing that could make a page turn even more exciting, if your story allows for it, is to show what happens in the surprise instead of telling. Let the pictures tell most or all of what happens in the surprise. This will make the action even more fun! Kids will have a great time describing what is going on.

What elements can you incorporate into your manuscript to make great surprises for your page turns? I can’t wait to see what’s waiting behind your next page turn!

shawna-tenney-author-photo-small-2 Shawna J.C. Tenney is an author and illustrator with a passion for picture books. Her work can be found in many children’s books, magazines and games. Brunhilda’s Backwards Day, Shawna’s first book as both author and illustrator, was published by Sky Pony Press. Shawna is also the host of the Stories Unbound Podcast, where she loves helping other authors and illustrators. Shawna lives in the beautiful state of Utah with her husband and two kids. Visit her online at or on Twitter at @shawnajctenney. Find more fun with Brunhilda and The Cat at



Visit the other awesome stops on Shawna Tenney’s blog tour!

Blog Tour Announcement

Monday, October 3

Guest post by Shawna

My Word Playground  


Tuesday, October 4

Guest post by Shawna

Frog on a Blog  


Wednesday, October 5

Book Review

Good Reads with Ronna


Thursday, October 6

Guest post by Shawna with giveaway

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)


Friday, October 7

Book Review and giveaway

The Late Bloomers Blog


 Sunday, October 9

Podcast book review

The Best Book Ever This Week 


Monday, October 10

Book review

A Simple Life, Really?!


Tuesday, October 11

Illustrator Interview and giveaway

J.E. Morris Illustration


Wednesday, October 12

Book Review and giveaway

My Word Playground 


Thursday, October 13

Blog tour wrap up and giveaway

Shawna J.C. Tenney