Just Right Endpapers

Endpapers are the first pages and the final pages of a picture book. They work much like the curtains at the open and close of a play. While many books’ endpapers are a solid color, others give the reader so much more.

For instance, endpapers can create a mood.

number one sam

Number One Sam, written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli, stars a racecar-driving dog who wins every race. Until he doesn’t.

The endpapers look like checkered flags. They give us the feel that we’re at the racetrack right alongside Sam.


Endpapers can offer bonus details for the reader to pore over.

tyrannosaurus wrecks

Tyrannosaurus Wrecks!, written by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and illustrated by Zachariah Ohora, stars an overenthusiastic dinosaur who wreaks havoc wherever he goes—much to the dismay of his classmates.

The endpapers not only showcase the various dinosaurs included in this book, but they tell us how to pronounce their names. Genius!


Endpapers can extend the storytelling.


Bawk & Roll, written by Tammi Sauer (me!) and illustrated by Dan Santat, stars two chickens, Marge and Lola, who get invited to go on tour with Elvis Poultry. All goes well…until the chickens chicken out. It isn’t until Marge and Lola realize how much they miss the support of their friends that they come up with just the right solution to deal with their stage fright.

The front endpapers show a shadowy image of Marge and Lola alone on the tour bus. The back endpapers are different. They show the chickens—along with their friends and in full-color glory!—on the same bus.

Front Endpapers:


Back Endpapers:


Grab a pile of picture books and take a moment to ooh and aah over their endpapers.  Do you have a favorite set of endpapers? If so, please share!



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Special thanks to everyone who left a comment.








Tammi Sauer

Tammi Sauer, a former teacher and library media specialist, is a full-time children's book author who presents at schools and conferences across the country. She has more than 30 published picture books and has many others on the way. Her books have received awards, earned starred reviews, made lists, been made into musicals, and been translated into many different languages. Most importantly, kids really like her books! To learn more about Tammi and her books, please visit tammisauer.com and follow her on Twitter at @SauerTammi.


  1. My all-time favorite endpapers are probably in Office Buckle and Gloria. Peggy Rathmann used them for Gloria’s hilarious “safety tips.” I also love how David Small uses endpapers to extend the story in both directions in all of his books. Great post!

  2. One of my recent favorites is LOCOMOTIVE by Brian Floca. While the story, itself, is about a trip on the Transcontinental Railroad, the endpapers are devoted to the history of the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad and steam power used by the trains – all surrounded by Brian Floca’s beautiful illustrations.

  3. I adore endpapers – great post!

  4. Love this post. I see Liz mentioned my favorite endpapers. LOCOMOTIVE is such a lyrical story. The endpapers just add to it.

  5. I agree with Linda Ashman–OFFICER BUCKLE AND GLORIA.

  6. I absolutely love endpapers too, and author/illustrator notes.

    Some of my recent endpaper favorites are:

    *The Right Word–Melissa Sweet outdid herself!
    *Aviary Wonders by Kate Samfworth-fantastic & thought-provoking
    *A Fine Dessert–loved Sophie Blackall’s blackberry juice stained pages and recipe as well as both the author & illustrator notes

    I’ll have to re-visit Office Buckle & Gloria.

  7. And Locomotive and Moonshot are both amazing!

  8. Yes! Endpapers are important! The ones in “Where the Wild Things Are’ are among my favorite.

  9. I love the endpapers in Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown, and Buddy and the Bunnies in: Don’t Play with Your Food! by Bob Shea.

  10. I have an endpaper fetish, I think! I always notice them and am delighted when they add something to the story. I was really hoping my book would have illustrated endpapers…and sure enough it does. And I LOVE them! They might be my current favorite endpapers. Is that conceited 🙂

  11. “Z is for Moose” by Kelly Bingham has adorable endpapers that introduce what is coming and give a sense that the characters hate to end the book!

  12. I enjoy looking at end papers, too. They are a great way to set the atmosphere for the book. Thanks for sharing, Tammi!

  13. I love end papers, especially ones that “start” the story.

  14. I LUV wacky endpapers! I think it’s just another way we can interact with the child we’re reading to.

  15. I love endpapers, too. I like the ones mentioned here but maps are my favorites. I’m working on a story that began with an idea for endpapers.

  16. I love endpapers, and still stroke the gorgeous ones in really old books, the ones that looked like marble paper, all before printing in color became much easier.

  17. Those endpapers you feature here are so delightful. They are part of the book, so might as well use them to extend the story a bit. Like you said, curtains. 🙂

  18. I’m a fan of endpapers too. The rabbit problem by Emily Gravett is a wonderfully funny story with adorable endpapers – the one at the back being a pop-up showing exactly what is meant by a rabbit problem.

  19. Another fan of endpapers here. Part of my library job is to put book barcode stickers on the first page of every book I catalog. On certain books I spend much time making sure the label doesn’t take away from endpaper illustrations–not always easy! (And sometimes I have to resort to page 3.)

  20. I will undoubtedly pay much more attention to endpapers now — happily!

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