Whether you’re reading your child a bedtime story or they’re learning to read by themselves, children’s picture books are sure to inspire their vibrant, young minds. Full of beautiful and creative illustrations alongside fun and imaginative stories, there’s a children’s picture book out there for every child to fall in love with.
What is Considered a Children’s Picture Book?
A children’s picture book is a genre aimed at younger children who are not yet reading or are beginning to read by themselves. The distinguishing factor of a picture book is that the book combines both visual and verbal narratives in the story. As a result, the illustrations are as important, if not more so, than the words in the story. Unlike comic books, children’s picture books primarily tell the story alongside the illustrations through text instead of sequential images. The text is usually presented in a prose or poetry style and can be placed separate from the illustrations or distributed in and around the images to make them more visually engaging. A typical children’s picture book is 32 pages in length.
What Makes a Good Children’s Picture Book?
- Compelling Story: Good picture books have a captivating story that engages the child. Great stories also teach a simple lesson or important value such as animal names or the importance of acceptance.
- Engaging illustrations: The illustrations should be vibrant, varied and add character to the story. The best children’s books have artwork that tells the story just as well as the written narrative that goes alongside.
- Lovable characters: The characters should be identifiable and relatable to a young audience. Most importantly they should evoke strong emotions in the child such as joy, wonder, humour or even a little sadness. Children want stories with characters who they can care about.
- Re-readability: A sign of a good children’s book is when children ask to read them over and over again. Using rhyme, humour and wordplay are ways to make the story more fun and memorable for the child. The visual elements also play a large role in re-readability. Make the illustrations detailed by adding fun characters, interactions and visual cues that exist around the main story and in the background for the child to notice.
- Humour, Rhyme and Repetition: Children don’t have the same attention span as we adults so it’s important to add additional elements into the story or text that hook the child’s attention. Adding humour to a children’s book makes the story more fun and memorable while incorporating rhyme, repetition or refrain into the text helps the story flow and is more satisfying to read.
The Best Children’s Picture Books
- The Wild Imagination of Willy Nilly by Chris Stead
- Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Green, Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
- Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
- Possum Magic by Mem Fox
- Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
- Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña
- Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett