Picture books are deceptively simple. They’re so short, it seems like you could jot one down in between flipping pancakes and feeding the cat. But writing a well-crafted, marketable, picture book that captivates, enlightens, and entertains adults and young readers alike is tougher than it looks. Although the text is short, they’re amazingly complex. Each story element fits together like pieces of a grand puzzle.


If you’ve got a manuscript that needs some spit and polish, or a critical infusion of ideas and creativity, allow me to lend a hand. I offer professional online critiques for fiction and nonfiction picture book manuscripts up to 1,500 words. 

What You'll Receive


  • Kind, but honest feedback about your work.

  • A detailed letter that not only celebrates your story's strength's, but pinpoints and discusses important story elements that could be improved such as, the title, opening hook, character, conflict, story arc, kid-friendly underlying themes, satisfying endings, voice, rhyme, and picture book structure. 

  • Your edited manuscript where I'll make specific comments and suggestions about what to reconsider and revise to take your manuscript to the next level and make it shine. 

Why Me?

  • I’ve published over 100 books and 500 stories and articles for children that include picture books with major children's book publishers, such as HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin, Henry Holt, and Bloomsbury.

  • My books have received numerous awards, including one of Amazon's Best Picture Book of 2013, NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book for K-12, IWLA Book of the Year Award Recipient, a Charlotte Award Nomination, and Rhyme Revolution's Best Rhyming Picture Book of 2016.

  • As a writing instructor for the Institute of Children's Literature for the past 14 years, I’ve reviewed countless manuscripts for hundreds of students.  

  • I’ve taught picture book workshops and critiqued manuscripts for The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) at regional conferences.

Mousequerade Ball, illustrated by Betsy Lewin

What writers say

"There is absolutely no better feeling in the world than getting that first email saying, 'We have accepted your story.' . . . [Thanks for being] such an incredibly dynamic, positive instructor."—Elizabeth

"Never before have I had such insightful and inspiring feedback!"—Micki


"I must say Lori Mortensen 's critique was genius! I love learning from writers. The ideas and revisions are flowing. Thank you!"Joanna

"There's no amount of words to convey our gratitude for all the help you've provided. Each critique was an amazing writing class in and of itself. I wish you could have seen our faces and heard our "omg!" as we read your suggestions. You have challenged us and we have loved it! It's like sitting at the feet of a master."—Jan 

"Thank you so much, Lori. You were spot on for your critique and you provided so much more info than my two critique groups were able to give."—Diana Lynn 

"Thanks for your priceless critiques."—Kristy

What Does it Cost?


$150 for a picture book manuscript of 1,000 words or less.

$200 for a picture book manuscript up to 1,500 words.

The Next Step

First, send me an email to check availability.

Then, click the appropriate PayPal button below. Once payment is sent, send your manuscript to me as an email attachment following the guidelines below:


Manuscript Guidelines:

Manuscript should be a doc or docx Word document.

Put contact information in the upper left corner, single spaced.

Include word count with contact information.

Use 1-inch margins.

Include a title in all CAPS five inches down from the top.

Double space your text. 

Use a common 12 pt. font.

Allow one week to receive your critique, although I can often return them within a few days.

Picture Book Critique up to 1,000 Words            


Picture Book Critique up to 1,500 Words   





If Wendell Had a Walrus, 'Illustrated by Matt Phelan

Copyright @ 2020 Lori Mortensen - All rights reserved. 

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