Picture books play an important role
Stories don't always need words to be told
Stories don't always need to be told with words
llustrations in books play an important role in several regards. For children who can't read and are, therefore, being read aloud to, illustrations help draw the child into the book with visually stimulating representations of what is happening in the story. Further, such illustrations can also provide additional information to the story that might not appear in text.
Emerging independent readers often need "clues" found in accompanying illustrations to prompt them to understand some of the words. Additionally, illustrations provide a positive link to what they have known previously in picture books that were read aloud to them.
Lastly, some books, such as the wordless picture book "The Arrival" (reviewed below), can be a visual, intellectual and highly charged imaginative experience for proficient and reluctant readers alike.
Go, picture books! Read on to discover some awesome suggestions in this realm.
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"The Arrival" by Shaun Tan, Arthur A. Levine, 2007, 130 pages
Read yourself: age 7 — adult
An extraordinary wordless picture book, "The Arrival" tells the tale of a man who must journey from his war-torn town to a distant land to find work and save enough money to send for his wife and child.
The place he goes to is foreign and mystical, and those he meets along the way share similar stories of hardship and sacrifice to find this strange and safe place to live.
Although wordless, this picture book demands careful attention to each successive illustration that "tells" the story and ignites the imagination. An excellent choice for anyone, this offering is equally suited to reluctant or struggling readers, regardless of age.
A feast for the eye and the mind, "The Arrival" is an exceptional work.
Library: Sutter Branch Library, 2147 California St., Sutter
Library Director: Karen Crocker
Choices this week: "The Diary of a Spider" by Doreen Cronin; "The Great Corgiville Kidnapping" by Tasha Tudor; "Mucky Moose" by Jonathan Allen
Books to Buy
The following books are available at your favorite bookstores.
"When Blue Met Egg" written and illustrated by Lindsay Ward, Dial, 2012, 36 pages, $16.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 3 — 4 and older
Read yourself: age 7 — 8
One winter morning, Blue awoke to find something wonderful flying through the air, landing in her nest. Blue thought the white ball was an egg (when it really was a snowball). Blue was concerned for Egg and for the mother bird that Blue thought had lost it. Determined to find Egg's mother, Blue gently put Egg in her bucket and the two set off through New York City.
After searching high and low with no results, Blue concluded that she would care for Egg, and the two spent much time together having fun. At night, Blue tenderly cared for Egg. As the weeks turned into months, the weather became warmer.
Then one morning, Blue woke up to find Egg gone. Terrified that Egg must have rolled out of the nest, the frightened Blue looked down from her nest. What she found delighted Blue beyond measure.
A wonderful story of friendship and caring, "When Blue Met Egg" is charged with imagination, embellished with delightful illustrations and is, quite simply, perfect.
"Soup for One" written and illustrated by Ethan Long, Running Press Kids, 2012, 36 pages, $14.95 hardcover
Read aloud: age 2 and older
Read yourself: age 5 — 6
"Tee hee hee! Some soup for me!" The delighted little fly lands in a bowl of yummy soup, but before the fly can begin to feast, another bug flies through the window and lands in the soup.
Fly doesn't want to share with the other bug, but before Fly knows what's happening, another bug dips in, and then another and another. Before Fly knows it, there are a total of 10 bugs in the soup!
But wait — here comes the chef with a fly-swatter. Yikes! The bugs fly away, the chef drinks his soup, then pursues the bugs for his desert, which is exactly what the spider is waiting for.
Loaded with great fun, this imaginative counting book is terrific in every way.
Kendal A. Rautzhan writes and lectures about children's literature. She can be reached at her website: greatestbooksforkids.com.