Why Picture Books Are Important by Kathleen Krull

by Dianne on November 23, 2014

Kathleen Krull cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Kathleen Krull
The first book I can ever remember reading was, of course, a picture book. After all–”What is the use of a book,” asked Alice, “without pictures?” Around our house we had lots of Little Golden Books and inexpensive editions of classics.(How many of us were inspired to do what we do because of Little Golden Books, those picture books we could afford to have right in our homes?)

The book I fell into was Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, with illustrations by Alice and Martin Provensen. I studied those illustrations for hours, riveted by what the Provensens could do with elegant, quirky lines, colors, and shapes. They’re still among my all-time favorite artists. And Stevenson’s poems were so full of marvels (and still marvelous 130 years after they were written).

I went on faraway journeys, learned new things, felt new emotions, found comfort, reveled in the wordplay–all the things picture books can do for us. As Stevenson wrote:

The world is so full of a number of things,
I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

How lucky for us that we–and young readers–live in an age of so many glorious picture books.

Kathleen Krull

Kathleen Krull

About Kathleen Krull
Kathleen Krull’s 60+ books have garnered starred reviews and awards. Music is a theme that runs throughout her career, from Lives of the Musicians to The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny). The Children’s Book Guild of Washington, DC, honored her with its Nonfiction Award for her body of work that “has contributed significantly to the quality of nonfiction for children.” In October 2014, School Library Journal featured her as An Author to Study. She lives in San Diego with her husband and sometime writing partner, Paul Brewer, and can be visited at www.kathleenkrull.com and friended at http://facebook.com/kathleen.krull

Picture Book Month Daily Theme: Music

Curriculum Connections

Music and inspiration can be found everywhere.

As a group, create the sounds of the city. The first spread of The Beatles Were Fab (And They Were Funny) by Kathleen Krull can be used for inspiration. For example: Some children may smack their heels on the floor, flap like birds, make traffic noises, sing, play instruments, and so on.

Demonstrate how conductors use hand motions to set the tempo and noise level of an orchestra. Conduct the class in a musical symphony of city sounds.

What other soundscapes can be created for different illustrations in The Beatles Were Fab (And They Were Funny)? Try adding more sound as the book is read aloud to enhance the audio experience.

For continued exploration, students can create “soundscapes” for illustrations of their favorite picture books. Look closely. What sounds can be found in the country, the zoo, a barnyard, the beach, etc? Soundscapes may be recorded and played back while the story is being read aloud.

Correlates to the Common Core Speaking and Listening standards: SL.2.2,5;SL.3.5; SL.4.5; SL.5.5

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

:Donna November 23, 2014 at 10:34 pm

Kathleen, I’m so glad you reminded us of Stevenson’s quote. How true! And certainly for the world of picture books as much as the world itself! 🙂


Joanne Roberts November 24, 2014 at 4:09 pm

You are absolutely right. Some people may be too snooty for Little Golden Books, but my fondest memories include Trina Schart, Mary Blair, Garth Williams, and the Provensens, of course!


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