Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Picture Books!

Amie Grosshans

This week in class we’ve been examining picture books.  I still have vivid memories of the picture books I read as a child, so it’s been very interesting to learn about how they are written and illustrated.  Picture books are much more complex than I ever realized.  The words and pictures have to work together to provide information that isn’t expressed in words.  Though they might look simple, the pictures provide a lot of information through color and style.  It’s a complex relationship that we don’t notice as children but that we do notice as an adult.  

We had to read six different picture books for our homework and needed to pay particular attention to all of these little details.  I took my time with the books, examining each page and looking at how the words and the pictures worked together.  Sometimes this was in a literal sense, because a few books had text that was not aligned to the left.  It’s easy to miss all these details in reading picture books, because they have so few words, but stopping to notice all the details was really valuable.  It was also exciting!  I’ve always loved art and seeing all the different ways the pictures complimented the stories was magical and inspiring.  And this was only from a handful of books!  We’ll learn more and read more this week and I’m looking forward to it. 

One of the books we had to read was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.  I never liked that book when I was little, and I still don’t like it!  But I never thought about why I didn’t like it, and I realize now that it’s mainly because of the pictures.  I don’t like the style.  All the crosshatching and fine lines are way too sharp and fine.  I don’t like the muted colors, either.  They are bland and washed out and create an ominous atmosphere.  I never wanted to be a part of that world, even though the story was fine, and that is mainly due to the pictures.  I realize now that the picture books that I loved as a child had pictures that I liked and connected with.  That’s why it’s great that there is such a wide variety of picture books out there.  If one doesn’t connect with you or your child, then another will.  There are so many to choose from.