Why Picture Books Are Important by Molly Idle

by Dianne on November 11, 2015

Molly Idle book cover

Why Picture Books Are Important by Molly Idle
I work in front of a mirror.

Sitting at my desk, I make faces and strike poses. Trying to reflect what the characters in my drawings are feeling. Trying to see how they feel, by looking at a reflection of myself.

What does happiness look like?

What about loneliness?




You know it when you see it.

You can recognize it.

Like you recognize your own reflection in a mirror.

Picture books are a mirror.
A magic mirror.

For picture books can show us, not only reflections of ourselves, but reflections of other people and places too. They can show us reflections of the past, the present and the future. Reflections of the possible and the impossible. The real, and the imagined…

And in all of those reflections, we see ourselves.

Molly Idle headshot

About Molly Idle
Molly Idle was awarded a Caldecott Honor for Flora and the Flamingo. She is the creator of Flora and the Penguin, Flora and the Peacocks (May 2016), and the Rex series- which includes Tea Rex, Camp Rex and Sea Rex. She is also the illustrator of Rodeo Red, and the Zombelina series. Molly lives in Tempe, Arizona with her fabulous family. And when she’s not watching old Technicolor musicals, Molly can be found in her workshop with a cup of espresso in one hand, and a pencil in the other, scribbling away, working on her next picture book. Visit Molly at IdleIllustration.com.

Literacy Activity
Nov 11 ~ Circus

“Picture book illustrations serve as wonderful models of how shapes are used to create pictures.” (from the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Book Belong in Our Classrooms by Marcie Colleen, 2013).

From the triangular big top tent to the circular ball balancing on a seal’s nose, the circus is filled with all kinds of delightful shapes. How many shapes can you find in the illustrations throughout a circus book? Go on a geometrical hunt and then use these shapes as inspiration to create your own circus illustration.

Suggested reading:

Circus Fantastico by Lynn Gordon, illustrated by Molly Idle
If I Ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss
The Circus Ship by Chris Van Dusen
Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer
Harold’s Circus by Crockett Johnson

Be sure to download the Picture Book Month Teacher’s Guide: Why Picture Books Belong in Our Classroom for more engaging ideas and activities to bring picture books into the ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

:Donna November 11, 2015 at 11:44 am

Such a perfect metaphor, Molly. SO true! 😀


Molly Idle November 13, 2015 at 7:37 am

Thanks Donna!


C.L. Murphy November 11, 2015 at 5:46 pm

Magic mirror on the wall, who’s one of the fairest KidlLit author/illustrators of all? Molly Idle! 😀


Molly Idle November 13, 2015 at 7:38 am

Aw…. *blushes*


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