Have you taken a look at the picture books in your library or local book store? Which attract you most?
First, the illustrations have to be beautiful! Illustrations play a very important role in picture books. It’s all about the pictures and the words join together to present the story, each must go together to tell the story. Take Blue Whale Blues as an example of a simple picture book. Sometimes the illustrations can be more complex. Now imagine the joy of the children when they discover how funny the whales bike is.
Second, the illustrations must match the words. Being a book lady has given me a chance to analyze many different books and compare them to the company I represent. And, matching the words to the illustrations is very vital. I have seen picture books with gorgeous illustrations and poorly written. The pictures and words need to strike a perfect balance.
The above book is a perfect example of a well balanced picture book. A Tale of Two Beasts tells the story from two different perspectives and the pictures share what the words tell. It is very important that the illustrations and the words on the page match. And how important it is to the understanding and enrichment of the story.
Third, great picture books consider the size of the illustration. Some authors prefer full-size illustrations. While others prefer more white pages with spot illustrations. And, still some prefer a little of both like Cordelia, for example.
I personally love how Michelle uses full-size illustrations and mixes in white pages with spot illustrations because it enriches the story in so many ways.
Fourth, Cordelia is an excellent example of a picture book that shows the action going from left to right. This should always be the case since we read from left to right, it makes sense that we also read the pictures from left to right… Don’t you think? This helps guide the reader to the right-hand page. The actions and the words should make lead the reader to turn to the next page and pique their interest to what is coming next. Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster is another of Michelle’s work that draws kids into the story.
Fifth, good picture books make good choices on illustrations. You can choose a spread or an individual illustration. Every picture book has a pattern or structure it follows. This Usborne Phonics Reader is a good example of how an illustrator uses a spread to create resonance.
Sixth, all good picture books plan their words carefully. And, a good writer and illustrator will make the reader feel comfortable reading the words wherever the words are placed. Eric Ode is a brilliant author! He and his illustrator of contrasting the words and the pictures. His books have a nice rhythm and rhyme that flow through. There is amble contrast between the words and the pictures.
Remember the gutters! Great picture books design their art to not have important illustration elements fall into the gutter. Great pictures can help the reader understand the story and also enrich it. This collection of classic stories Usborne has illustrated for children is brilliant! Although the stories have been retold, the adaptations are truer to the classic. This is one book that should be in everyone’s shelf!
Here is another Usborne Book that should be on everyone’s shelf.
Check out the titles:
- Robin Hood
- Around the World in Eighty Days
- Robinson Crusoe
- The Canterville Ghost
and wait for it…
- Gulliver’s Travels
Taken all together, great picture books tell the reader things that the words don’t. For example, a simple street scene like the one in Eric Ode’s book above, is made very exciting by adding people and pets looking out the windows, children on bikes, Roller skates on sidewalks, a school bus, postman, and garbage truck riding by a neighborhood. Discoveries such as these are always exciting to children.
And if you look at Michelle’s picture books, the main charater appears on all the pages. There is continuity of elements in all the Usborne Books & More publications. The authors sprinkle a few items repeated throughout the book. The props become items of interest as they appear in different places in the book. The shopping cart in the Whale book above appears on every page and Jonathan James and his What-if monster appear in various poses throughout the book. Our authors are creative and think about the interesting items that can be placed on each page to entertain and keep children’s interest in the book.
Our picture books are produced using different media for illustrations and each media whether water color or digital or ink and pen or cut-paper designs are the highest quality work ever made.
Now go forth and READ these great works! And let your kids explore the wonders of reading with Usborne Books & More.