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Friday, 24 June 2016

366 Books in 366 Days: So why are picture books important?

I am sure there are many, many reasons why picture books are important to a child's development, however, my personal answer to this question is simple...

For me there's nothing quite like sitting down to share a story with my children, and especially a story with beautiful illustrations.

Reading picture books together creates a lovely opportunity to communicate in a truly unique way, an interactive way. The illustrations and the text of a book are, in my opinion, of equal importance. However, it is the pictures that offer us the natural pauses in our storytelling, they give us time. By looking at each page, we have the time to really think about the story. The time for discussion. The time to ask questions like: What has happened in the story? What do we think is going to happen? How does the story make us feel? Of course, now my children are a little bit older, they have their own questions too. Plenty of questions in fact!

So it really saddens me that many people view picture books inferior to chapter books for children. Picture books should not be underestimated, they can make for a truly magical storytelling experience. Or simply an interesting conversation between a mum and her three kids!

In celebration of beautiful picture books, I've selected six that we have already reviewed as part of our 366 books in 366 days reading challenge. These six books were totally new to us at the start of our challenge. They are brimming with amazing illustrations that make us smile. I hope they make you smile too!

Abigail - Catherine Rayner

A book about friendship and counting! Beautifully illustrated by Catherine Rayner, complete with a fold out night sky image. We've slightly fallen in love with Abigail and her friends. Certainly one to read over and over again.

Little Red - Bethan Woollvin

We thoroughly enjoyed this twisted telling of the traditional Little Red Riding Hood tale. In this version Little Red is not a girl who is easily scared. She is also not fooled by the wolf's bad grandmother disguise. Little Red plays along with the wolf until he reveals he is planning to eat her. Although we are not told what becomes of the "unlucky" wolf, the pictures really say it all! The bold illustrations and dark humour create a superb and highly memorable story. It had us all chuckling.

Tidy - Emily Gravett

Tidy is yet another beautifully illustrated and amusing tale from Emily Gravett. In this story Pete, the badger, gets carried away tidying up the forest leaving it virtually unrecognisable. He soon realises that he may have made a mistake. Will Pete and his friends be able to return the forest to how it once was? This is a great story to read aloud and the lovely pictures provide lots to talk about. Izzie (4) said she liked the story because the badger was funny. Her favourite bit was when he couldn't get into his house!

Rabbityness - Jo Empson

A gorgeous book that makes my heart sing! A very special rabbit who enjoys rabbity things and some un-rabbity things disappears. His rabbit friends are very sad. However, he has left them some gifts, which help them discover their own un-rabbity talents and they happily remember rabbit. My children were delighted by Jo Empson's fabulous illustrations and it has been the perfect book to introduce them to dealing with loss.

What a Wonderful World - Illustrations by Tim Hopgood

This delightful book has been illustrated by Tim Hopgood, the creator of one of our favourite picture books "Wow Said The Owl". The colourful pictures perfectly capture the sentiment of the song, which was originally made famous by Louis Armstrong. In the book we follow a young boy on his journey through our wonderful world, which is full of blue skies, swimming fish, galloping horses, beautiful mountains and much, much more. Stunning!

Tiger In A Tutu - Fabi Santiago

Twirling through Paris is a Tiger with a dream. But his audience keeps running away and with no shoes or tutu will he ever be able to perform? A fantastic book with beautiful illustrations, it will certainly have all little dancers twirling by the end.

Disclaimer: We were fortunate enough to win a copy of "Tiger in a Tutu" from a giveaway on Instagram. Copies of "Tidy" and "Little Red" were received from The Guardian Children's Book website for review purposes. A copy of "What A Wonderful World" was obtained from the library. All other books were purchased by myself. All opinions expressed above are my own, unless stated otherwise.

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  1. Have you still got all of these Kate or are they library books and have been returned?

  2. I have all of them but What a Wonderful World is a library book. We'll get a "Grandma's reading pile" ready for next week!

  3. I adore picture books, allows your imagination to really run wild with what the story may hold!! Thanks for linking up with #ReadWithMe

    1. Totally agree! I think there's a secret picture book lover in all of us really. Do you have a favourite?

  4. Love these recommendations, I've just ordered What a Wonderful World for my baby's first birthday :)

    1. So pleased you love them. When does your baby turn one? It's such a special time and What a Wonderful World will make a great gift :) #readwithme

  5. Fab post, we haven't read any of those and are always looking for inspiration! Thanks :) #BrillBlogPosts

  6. Thank you Sarah. Hope you enjoy your reading! :) #BrillBlogPosts