There are reasons adults can enjoy children’s literature: compelling stories, great narrative and action, exercises in dialogue–all the reasons an adult can enjoy an adult novel. I don’t, however, read too many picture books. I may take a look at one in a bookstore, but for the most part, I don’t read them. This article shows us to, as my blog theme suggests, put away the fear of reading picture books; there are ways an adult can enjoy them too.
The most compelling argument made in the article is the artwork. I’ve posted about my experience at the Gotham Writers Workshop children’s book writing class and part of what we discussed was picture books and the way they are made. The publishers hire writers but their bigger focus is on the illustrators–much like Hollywood hires and pays writers, but the bigger credit goes to actors and/or directors for bringing it to life. The illustrator works really hard in presenting the idea for a children’s book and it has to look different from the other books it might sit near on the shelf. It’s really fascinating and, I imagine, hard work.
Some picture books have museum worthy (or at least classic art inspired) pages. Swirling action and cute characters and realistic animal characters, you name it, it’s in a picture book, and it’s really under appreciated.
So let’s look at some picture books and ignore the toddler giving you side eye about it in Barnes and Noble (or keep it a secret and download them to your tablet…)