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Getting the Picture

One of my favorite things about children’s books is and has always been the wonderful art that accompanies the text and enriches the story. Now that my son is older, he is usually curled up in bed with a novel before lights out, rather than next to me as we read a picture book together. Our collection of these books was like having a mini-museum full of fine art sitting on a bookshelf right in our own home. We loved talking about the pictures as much as we loved the stories.

In fact, pictures help children build literacy. They provide clues to the text which can help early readers develop confidence and strategies to work out the written story on their own. Even children who are not reading yet can learn how to read the pictures for clues to the story. As you read a picture book together, point out actions and objects that are depicted in the illustrations. You can talk about colors, numbers, feelings, places and the order of events as they happen. Here's some ideas of how to begin:

  • In Goodnight Moon, point to each object named in the story. Ask your child if he can find the mouse.
  • Can you match the shapes to the pictures in My Very First Book of Shapes? Can you find more shapes?
  • Can your child find each fish that is described in Hooray for Fish?
  • In Dear Zoo, can your child name each animal as they appear in the story?
  • The family in Bee-Bim Bop! is making dinner. Talk to your child about what is happening on each page.
  • These simple conversations about the pictures create a rich reading experience that will help prepare your child for school in many ways.

    What picture books get you and your little one talking?

    In Our Collection


    American Babies by The Global Fund for Children
    Melissa T. Says: American babies / [The Global Fund for Children].
    Amazon Says: Seventeen adorable photographs of babies from across the United States showcase the diversity of our country and the universal joy of play and discovery. From the creators of more...
    Amazon Says: Seventeen adorable photographs of babies from across the United States showcase the diversity of our country and the universal joy of play and discovery. From the creators of GLOBAL BABIES. No matter where they live, babies are nurtured by love and raised in hope. less...
    Amazon


    Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park
    Melissa T. Says: Koreans -- Juvenile fiction.
    Amazon Says: Bee-bim bop (the name translates as “mix-mix rice”) is a traditional Korean dish of rice topped, and then mixed, with meat and vegetables. In bouncy rhyming text, a hungry more...
    Amazon Says: Bee-bim bop (the name translates as “mix-mix rice”) is a traditional Korean dish of rice topped, and then mixed, with meat and vegetables. In bouncy rhyming text, a hungry child tells about helping her mother make bee-bim bop: shopping, preparing ingredients, setting the table, and finally sitting down with her family to enjoy a favorite meal. The energy and enthusiasm of the young narrator are conveyed in the whimsical illustrations, which bring details from the artist’s childhood in Korea to his depiction of a modern Korean American family. Even young readers who aren’t familiar with the dish will recognize the pride that comes from helping Mama, the fun of mixing ingredients together in a bowl, and the pleasure of sharing delicious food. Includes author’s own recipe. less...
    Amazon


    Melissa T. Says: Pets -- Juvenile fiction.
    Amazon Says: Dear Zoo is twenty-five years old -- and still as popular as ever! And with an updated look, this classic children's storybook about a youngster loooking for a perfect pet is more...
    Amazon Says: Dear Zoo is twenty-five years old -- and still as popular as ever! And with an updated look, this classic children's storybook about a youngster loooking for a perfect pet is sure to delight a new generation of readers! less...
    Amazon


    Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
    Melissa T. Says: Bedtime -- Juvenile fiction
    Amazon Says: In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. "Goodnight room, goodnight moon." And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room -- to the picture of the more...
    Amazon Says: In a great green room, tucked away in bed, is a little bunny. "Goodnight room, goodnight moon." And to all the familiar things in the softly lit room -- to the picture of the three little bears sitting on chairs, to the clocks and his socks, to themittens and the kittens, toeverything one by one -- the little bunny says goodnight. In this classic of children's literature, beloved by generations of readers and listeners, the quiet poetry of the words and the gentle, lulling illustrations combine to make a perfect book for the end of the day. less...
    Amazon


    Hello Baby! by Mem Fox
    Melissa T. Says: Animals -- Infancy -- Juvenile fiction
    Amazon Says: After meeting a bevy of baby animals— including a clever monkey, a sleepy leopard, and a dusty lion cub—the baby in this story discovers the most precious creature of all more...
    Amazon Says: After meeting a bevy of baby animals— including a clever monkey, a sleepy leopard, and a dusty lion cub—the baby in this story discovers the most precious creature of all . . . itself, of course! With an exuberant rhyming text by bestselling author Mem Fox and adorable cut-paper illustrations by Caldecott Honor recipient Steve Jenkins, this book is an irresistible celebration of the joyful connection between parent and child. less...
    Amazon


    Hello, Lulu by Caroline Uff
    Melissa T. Says: Family -- Juvenile fiction.
    Amazon Says: This is Lulu's story-all about her family and her favorite things-her pets, the snacks she loves to eat, her best friend, even her brand new red shoes! Focusing on the daily d more...
    Amazon Says: This is Lulu's story-all about her family and her favorite things-her pets, the snacks she loves to eat, her best friend, even her brand new red shoes! Focusing on the daily details that toddlers and preschoolers are fascinated by, Caroline Uff offers a charming introduction to an adorable girl. Young readers will be glad to welcome the lovable Lulu into their circle of friends. less...
    Amazon


    Hooray for Fish! by Lucy Cousins
    Melissa T. Says: Fishes -- Juvenile fiction.
    Amazon Says: "A book that’s certain to make an impressive splash, whether read to one youngster or an entire storytime circle." —- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Paddle along with Little Fi more...
    Amazon Says: "A book that’s certain to make an impressive splash, whether read to one youngster or an entire storytime circle." —- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Paddle along with Little Fish on a mesmerizing tour of friends spotty and stripy, happy and gripy, hairy and scary, even curly-whirly and twisty-twirly. From the creator of Maisy comes an undersea riot of color and rhyme — an eye-popping read-aloud sure to have little ones joining the chorus: Hooray for fish! less...
    Amazon


    My Car by Byron Barton
    Melissa T. Says: Automobiles -- Juvenile fiction.
    Amazon Says: With prose as clean as Sam's the narrator's shiny engine, Byron Barton, the celebrated creator of numerous picture books for very young children, including Trucks, My Bus, and more...
    Amazon Says: With prose as clean as Sam's the narrator's shiny engine, Byron Barton, the celebrated creator of numerous picture books for very young children, including Trucks, My Bus, and Building a House, explores transportation, the parts of a car, signs and signals, night and day, community, and occupations. Bright, graphic artwork invites readers to count, name colors and shapes, and follow Sam and his car as they drive through a bustling world from Sam's home in the country to his job in the city. The surprise ending is a gem! "For young children intrigued by cars, this book is simply wonderful."—ALA BooklistSupports the Common Core Standards less...
    Amazon


    Melissa T. Says: Shapes -- Juvenile literature
    Amazon Says: Can you find what is round? What is square? In this timeless new split-pageboard book, children can find the bottom half of a page that matches the top half. Find the right pa more...
    Amazon Says: Can you find what is round? What is square? In this timeless new split-pageboard book, children can find the bottom half of a page that matches the top half. Find the right pairs, and you will learn to identify all kinds of shapes. From dome-shaped ladybugs to diamond- shaped kites, this clever board book makes learning fun. less...
    Amazon

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