Why Picture Books Are Important
When I pick up a perfect picture book, I always think of Reese’s peanut butter cups: “two great tastes that taste great together.” (Can you tell I’m hoarding the leftover Halloween goodies? It’s true, but still, go with it.) You’ve got the words, concise, yet so potent they practically don’t need images. But then you’ve also got the pictures, and they are so good they could carry the whole book on their own, too. Books like Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and May I Bring a Friend? Perfection! Delicious, mouth-watering perfection.
And yet, picture books are not just the mash-up of “two great tastes.” Just as a peanut butter cup is exponentially more fantastic than the sum of its parts, so too does a picture book transcend either medium’s storytelling capabilities. The best picture books have the power to make you gasp (Bob Graham’s How to Heal a Broken Wing), or cry (Judith Viorst’s The Tenth Good Thing About Barney) or laugh out loud (Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny) in a way that no other type of literature that I’ve come across can. Which is exactly what I love about picture books.
I also love sharing picture books with kids.
Provided they keep their hands off my leftover peanut butter cups.
-Erica S. Perl
About Erica S. Perl
Erica S. Perl’s picture books include Dotty, Chicken Butt!, (now a doll too!), Chicken Butt’s Back!, Chicken Bedtime is Really Early, and Ninety-three In My Family. Her novels include When Life Gives You O.J. and Vintage Veronica. A crowd-pleasing presenter and literacy advocate – most recently featured in Parents Magazine and The Washington Post — Erica also works at First Book, the non-profit organization that has provided over 85 million new books to children in need.