The picture book is one of the earliest influential forms of visual learning for children. It turns them into better learners and triggers their imagination. Pictorial learning and storytelling date back to the cave paintings. To simply explain it, a picture book is the artistic form of text which tells a unique story for the young readers.
Where the process of making pictorial representation was limited to paintings and drawings, it has been evolved into digital illustrations and more. This contributed significantly to producing creative illustrations and books in less time as it was before.
An iconic character such as Winnie the Pooh, Curious George, a very hungry caterpillar and more has cemented themselves in the minds of the little scholars and illustrations is what brought them to life. Parents and teachers alike use the illustrations as a primary tool to herald children’s imagination.
Today illustrators and writers sit together to produce something that can work up the imagination of the young minds and evoke the love for classic art and literature. There are many companies such as the Eden Bancroft Productions, Kindle direct publishing and more are making sure to work up various forms of books for the young readers so they can enjoy their childhood with the imaginative books.
To make sure your books are the best, described below are some features that make a picture book perfect to be placed at the top shelf.
1. Colourful illustrations, vivid and full of movement
A successful picture book is the one that can surprise the reader with the art presented on the page—whether it describes the humour through the images or use a different perspective to describe an action, or more. You need to make sure that your illustrator can deliver your message through the art on the page and engage the readers with the word on the page.
2. Identifiable characters in the story
Characters are the key feature that makes a story loveable. Kids engage with the storybook to see other kids or the characters of the book accomplish something impossible for a little kid to think. It may be because of the behaviour of the imaginative kid or something that can educate them. The picture book must be able to tell the children that they may be small but can accomplish big things if they need to.
Funny picture book gives a unique new look to something old. Take the example of Betsy Lewin’s “Duck for president” where the protagonist climbs up the ranks of the government—and the protagonist as described by the name of the story was a duck. It had a fun, perhaps impossible element in it, featuring an unlikely, but child-friendly character as a candidate suitable for the presidency.
4. Giving a universal appeal
A fantastic example of universal appeal can be taken of Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy, where she has taken a universal factor that most girls love to do and turned the book into something sparkly and fabulous. The illustrator has done a great job and has taken the reader up to the next level. The character, i.e. Nancy, wants to be fabulous externally, but on the other end, she just wants to be accepted as a fabulous person and wants to play dress-up with her family.
5. Delivering a strong concept
A picture book is the best way to visually appeal the young minds, shaping them to be better in their future. It needs to be layered with emotional and meaningful problems together so it can effectively and actively deliver the true purpose of the book. In other words, the art in the book is given an additional purpose to evoke emotions and not just as a showcase of rendering texts.
6. Repetition in the text
Some books are successful because of their refrained sentences, which enables young learners to use what they know about the spoken language to understand the written words. The rhythm of the repetitive sentences invites the children to participate in reading actively and make meaning as they can understand the text. It becomes a familiar sequence of the sentences which engages the readers and encourages them to make sense.
7. The rhyming text is a necessity
The natural flow of the rhyme makes the book or text interesting to be read. It advances the plot, captivating the mind of the readers to the concept. Some rhyming stories work better in poetic form than being written in prose. For example, if you have written a story about a musician playing jazz, you need to make sure that the rhyme imitates the rhythm of the music to the readers.
Interactive books make readers interact with the story. It may be pop-up books, gamebooks or colouring books, or simply involves the reader’s participation in reading the story. An example can be “there’s a monster at the end of the book” by Jon stone appeals the reader to not to turn the page.
Picture books are meant for children to read by their parents. Making it interesting and readable makes the children want to read the book over and over again. Being an illustrator and writer, you need to make sure that the book is visually interesting for the readers by making it refrain, rhythmic or play words which makes them at least three to four reading to understand what’s in the story. It doesn’t have to be difficult, just interesting enough to open the plot.