Early reading comprehension starts with a well made book. Prior to taking the course, Children’s Literature, I really was not aware of the difference between good and bad quality books. Once I learned the differences, I could not unsee good and bad qualities in children’s books. The first things I look at in a book are the illustrations.
Illustrations should be paintings or drawings, not computer generated cartoons.
The illustrations should also flow with the written words. With this being said, the characters and theme of the story should be illustrated based off of how the words feel and describe characters.
It is important that the illustrations tell a part of the story that is not written, this helps students make inferences on their own by looking at the pictures. They should also be able to skim through the pages and to an extent, understand what the story is about.
The children’s book Sophie by Mem Fox beautifully uses warm, vibrant paints to illustrate the story of family love and the cycle of life. The progression of illustrations perfectly reflect the written words.
Another greatly written and illustrated children’s book is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This book has been popular for a long time because of a few simple things. The storyline is grabbing because of the imaginatory element of going to an unknown island and playing with monsters. The illustrations brilliantly expand as the pages go on and we are led from Max’s small, plain room to overflowing pages of a jungle looking island. Some pages have no words at all, only busy illustrations to keep the reader’s imagination flowing.
These are only two examples of fantastically written and illustrated children’s books. Having accurate illustrations is not only important for understanding the storyline, but also to give a look into how different places and cultures look.