Pamela Paul thinks that picture books are the real wizards of the literary world:
“With remarkable economy, they excel at the twin arts of visual and textual storytelling. Anyone who has ever read a picture book to a child has witnessed this magic firsthand. You’ll be reading along aloud and the child will laugh, not at anything you’ve read but at something she has read in the pictures. While you are reading one story, told in words, she is reading another, told through art. The illustrator doesn’t merely reflect the words on the page; she creates an entire narrative of her own, adding details, creating secondary story lines.”-Pamela Paul, Your Kids Aren’t Too Old for Picture Books, and Neither Are You
Mind you, I think the literary world can hold many different types of wizards and wizardry. Yet along with other genres, I have deliberately kept picture books of my past, just as deliberately bought others as an adult (or had them gifted to me), and I write them, myself. The allure is real!
In my own personal history, I don’t recall learning how to read. I don’t remember any transition from the world of picture books to the ones with casual illustrations, or any subsequent transition to books with images just on the chapter headers or none at all. Books were just there to consume.
But since I retained some of my own childhood books, I’d like to think that while there was some adroit guidance of my reading, it was also allowed to unfold on its own. (About the only thing I do remember is my dad steering me away from the Large Print books in the children’s section of the library, telling me, “You don’t need those.” Nowadays, I do, ha.)
What are your favorite picture books? Do the ones you loved as a child still resonate with you today? What new ones spark your interest?