Welcome to the blog of the Tasmanian branch of the Children's Book Council of Australia!

Sunday 9 March 2014

Why picturebooks?

I recently purchased a new bookcase for my study and now, finally, I can fit in all the large picture books I have held in storage for many years.

Old Ridley : Gary Crew and Marc McBride
As I pulled them all out, I couldn’t help but read through a couple. And the two I picked were Old Ridley by Gary Crew and Marc McBride and The Violin Man by Colin Thompson. I enjoyed them both again of course, each very different from the other; the first is quite a melancholy tale and the second is mysterious, intriguing and a little offbeat.

The violin man : Colin Thompson
When I finished reading them I tried to remember under what circumstances I had purchased them in the first place. Both books have, I think, more of an adult focus, so I had obviously bought them for myself. But that wasn’t the main reason, was it. No, the truth is, I bought them because I loved the illustrations.

Both books are brilliantly illustrated using strikingly lifelike images and strong, vibrant colours. And the illustrations literally force the reader to look beyond the page to the story and sub-plots. My imagination soared as I leafed through the pages, again and again.

What a bargain! Not only did I get a great story but a visual feast as well.

I wonder though, when you buy or borrow picture books either for yourself or a child, do you look first for the story, or the illustrations… or both? Is one more important than the other or are they of equal value in your reading experience?

Penny Garnsworthy

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