kimberlybooksun.gifPicture Books

by Barbara Pletenycky

Picture books have the ability to make us feel differently about the same story. It's all about the style and how the book is illustrated, not what is illustrated. Picture books demonstrate an interesting interaction that occurs from reading a short text and discovering how pictures and words work together. When a child starts reading and looking at books, learning how to read the series of pictures that accompany the words is a complex task that involves the need for close attention, the search for clues and putting together pieces of information for remembering, projecting and predicting.

Picture books are the end result of author and illustrator collaboration where they create something better than could be accomplished alone. The genre of picture books is both simple and complex, a combination of story and art fused together that must be carefully woven from beginning to the end.

A picture book must contain a very simple but carefully composed story. Small moments of surprise, suspense and wonder are hallmarks. A picture book will engage the reader and listener in a series of repeated words and images.

Picture book authors realize that simple words only provide a skeleton of a story. The pictures contribue the significant action in setting the stage. The timing and pace of the actions are subtle but tremendously important. A really great picture book sets the mood and helps the reader further interpret the pictures they see. Picture books are a special expression of emotion and depth, creating a feeling that lingers long after the story has been read.

Ask adults about a picture book from their childhood and without any hesitation they will be able to tell you the title, where it was read, how they loved that story and all their feelings connected to that moment. So please read to your child every day and start off your time with that one story that was your moment as a child. Make some time for a discussion and sharing your feelings. A child's exposure to picture books allows an opportunity to develop a point of view, recognize a style, pick out characters, theme and tone. These experiences of sharing picture books will help to create a unique and personal vision for the rest of their lives.

So grab a great story to share and create your own moments with your children...

Happy Summer Reading!