Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How to Pick a Good Picture Book for Your Children

After reading story books for twenty years to my four children, I have created some picture book guidelines that are important to me.

I do not believe that every book meets all of these standards.  I think it is far more important to know what makes your child tick, and choose accordingly.  My one son's main focus was to hear a good story.  The pictures were extra and I am sure he wouldn't have sat still without them, but he was mainly interested in hearing the tale.  My youngest, on the other hand, is very intrigued by rhyme, cadence and illustrations, all other factors were secondary.  And then their was the oldest daughter, who was into the illustrations but she was convinced that they all needed enhancing.  So library books were never an option for her creative mind and wickedly fast coloring hand.

Elements of a Good Picture Book:

*Good Illustrations - There should be plenty to observe and discuss.  This is especially true for the child who likes to examine the images.

*Age Appropriate - Find books that are not only relevant to their current age, but it should challenge them, too.

*Text Per Page - The tale should not be so briefly stated that you race through the book flipping pages rapidly.  At the same time, pages should not be so wordy that the child becomes bored and loses interest.

*For and About Children - The book should be quite relevant to the child but easily enjoyed by the adult.  If you are bored and disinterested with a whimsical tale, they won't find pleasure in it, either.  Please note:  I am not expecting to be mentally challenged by a child's book, but it should make me smile.

*About Growing Up - Children are growing and what better time than to teach them what is right and wrong, than when they are resting in your lap reading a good book?  Look for themes such as - courage, struggle, growth, loss, love and compassion.

How about you?  What makes a picture book a winner to you?
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