Very simple picture books still have a narrative arc, even though the word count is extremely small. Here’s a look at a narrative arc in 80 words (with the help of some illustrations), as it appears in My Friend, Rabbit, by Eric Rohmann, winner of the 2003 Caldecott Award for Best Illustrations in a children’s book for the year.
Narrative Arc in 32 pages, 80 words
Here’s a great example of a narrative arc in only 80 words.
rabbit1st person POV from Mouse’s POV, talking about his friend
p 1. Title page
2–3 Introduce Mouse and Rabbit
4-5 Problem establish: Rabbit always gets into trouble
6-7 Rabbit has confidence he can get out of trouble (Characterization_
8-9 Rabbit’s idea begins to unfold (pulling a large beast onto page)
10-11 Elephant is in place
12-13 Rhino pushed forward
14-15 We now see Rhino on Top of Elephant, while Rabbit brings in Hippo.
(start to understand that he’s stacking animals to reach the plane stuck in a tree)
16-17 More animals to stack up, each smaller than the previous
18-19 The stack has failed. But Rabbit is still confident and has a final idea
20-21 Rabbit gets Mouse involved in the idea.
It succeeds – mouse reaches the plane! But there’s also disaster . . .
22-23 . . . and the disaster is going to be bad because everyone is running out of the way. . .
24-25 . . . as animals –big and small–fall everywhere.
26-27 Animals are all mad at Rabbit
28-29 Mouse swoops in with the plane to rescue Rabbit (Rabbit’s friendship–because he means well–endears him to Mouse.)
30-31 Rabbit accidently covers Mouse’s eyes, so he can’t see to fly. . .
32 And they are stuck in the tree again, but this time, they are in the plane and Rabbit confidently says, I have an idea.
Now read the analysis.