Why Picture Books Are Important by Aaron Reynolds

by Dianne on November 25, 2014

Aaron Reynolds cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Aaron Reynolds
I could list hundreds of reasons (both serious and silly) why I think picture books rock.

But that would take a really long time, and, let’s be honest, there’s a reason I don’t write novels.

Plus, this is a blog post, and let’s be honest about your own attention span. You want to be inspired, but not that inspired. You’ve got things to do, like drive to the store while texting your grocery list to yourself. Am I right? It’s okay to say so.

So here’s a list of eight. Not even ten! Eight reasons. You’re welcome.

8. There’s a reason why babies don’t read novels. I tried giving my two-year-old Sense and Sensibility once and it was just a hot mess. Plus, two-year-olds don’t have the attention span for a 250 page Victorian romance. I know this now from experience. Only picture books come in that fit-just-right-in-a-baby’s-grubby-little-fist-while-simultaneously-being-slobber-proof board book size.

‘Cause toddlers? Can be dee-sgusting.

7. You know how the projectors in school can never project a LEVEL image? It’s always just a little-teeny-tiny bit lopsided. What’s up with that? There’s only one thing that can fix it. Slide a picture book or two under there, and you’ve got projection perfection.

6. A picture book has the uncanny ability to transport and inspire both kids AND adults. My favorite kind of book to read (with or without my kids) is a picture book, and my wife informs me that I’ve been an adult for some time now.

5. Some of the most talented artists alive today aren’t found in galleries or musuems. Know why? Because they’re making picture books.

4. Kids can read long before they can read. If you doubt it, ask any pre-K kid to pick up his favorite book and read it to you and he will read you that thing six ways to Saturday. Confidently. Assuredly. And he’ll probably even get the story, like, 65% right.

Picture books made that happen.

3. People complain about how expensive a picture book is, but for cheaper than a hard-back novel, you get a story that’s told with both words AND pictures.

Count ’em. That’s two kinds of art.

2. If a picture book and an i-pad got into a fight, a picture book would totally kick an i-pad’s butt. It’s just physics. An i-pad is smaller and way more breakable than a picture book. Plus, i-pads are spineless. They can’t fight worth beans. It’s all kicking and hair-pulling with them.

1. A picture book is pure magic. Nothing less.

Aaron Reynolds

Aaron Reynolds

About Aaron Reynolds
Aaron Reynolds is a New York Times Bestselling Author and has written many highly acclaimed books for kids, including Here Comes Destructosaurus!, Carnivores, the Joey Fly – Private Eye graphic novel series, and the Caldecott Honor Winning Creepy Carrots! He has a passion for kids’ books and seeing kids reading them. He regularly makes time to visit schools where his hilarious hands-on presentations keep kids spellbound. Aaron lives in Chicago with his wife, 2 kids, 4 cats, and anywhere between zero and ten goldfish, depending on the day.

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Dinosaurs

Curriculum Connections

Looking for a way to make book reports fun? Well, just like Aaron Reynolds, your students can create Top Five lists.

Start with a picture book, like Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Dan Santat. Spend time reading the story carefully. Look closely at the illustrations. Study the book. Where do you laugh out loud? Where do you quickly turn the page to find out what would happen next?

Students can share their opinions about the book by writing down their Top Five Reasons Carnivores is a Great Picture Book. In addition to each reason, students should clarify with a few sentence description.

The same can work for the Top Five Reasons this was NOT a Great Picture Book or the Top Five Things I Would Change About this Book. But of course you would not use any Aaron Reynolds’ books. Not one. They are all great.

Correlates to the Common Core Writing standards: W.K.1, W.1.1, W.2.1, W.3.1, W.4.1, W.5.1

LIBRARIANS and TEACHERS OF YOUNGER GRADES: As a group, create your own Top Five salute to picture books! Write the Top Five on a piece of poster board that the children can help decorate and hang prominently in the library for all to see.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Norah Colvin November 25, 2014 at 4:32 am

Great reasons. Love them all. It’s almost impossible to choose a favourite, but number 6 is pretty good and made me smile. Thanks. 🙂


Kelly Ramsdell Fineman November 25, 2014 at 10:42 am

“…ask any pre-K kid to pick up his favorite book and read it to you and he will read you that thing six ways to Saturday. Confidently. Assuredly. And he’ll probably even get the story, like, 65% right.”

This? More than reason enough to write picture books. Thanks for a great post!


C.L. Murphy November 25, 2014 at 12:06 pm

We LOVE Aaron’s silliness and we think his books are magic! Thanks for the short, sweet and stupendous post!


Lauri Fortino November 25, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Oddly, I agree with you on every point, especially number one. Hilarious post!


Creations By Mit November 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm

LOVE this! Thanks for the smile!


:Donna November 25, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Aaron, THANK you for this! lol I LITERALLY laughed out loud at #6. Considering this wasn’t novel-length post, these picture book-length list is incredibly poignant, regardless of how hilarious. Seriously—you totally hit the nail on the head with this one. Wonderful! I’m totally saving this! 🙂


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