rusq: Vol. 52 Issue 4: p. 346
Sources: Picturing the World: Informational Picture Books for Children
Jenny Foster Stenis

Coordinator, Children’s Services, Pioneer Library System, Norman, Oklahoma

Picturing the World: Informational Picture Books for Children presents a selective bibliography of informational picture books for children ages three through ten. The author defines an “informational picture book” as “a book both intended and experienced as one that conveys information through a marriage of text and pictures. The information is factual and up to date. It can be documented, and has been presented appropriately for child readers or listeners age 3 to 10” (p. 8).

Isaacs develops this definition in her first chapter, integrating examples of specific books for illustration and providing anecdotes to extend her points. She continues in chapter two with a discussion about how to select a good informational picture book. The criteria she uses are included in her annotations throughout the book: subject and child appeal, how the story is told, how the story is pictured, awards received, and the book’s presence on “best book” lists. The true substance of the book begins with chapter 3, “Ourselves and Our World at Home and School.” This chapter and the remaining six focus on exploring a child’s place in the world through the informational books Isaacs has selected. The annotations give complete bibliographic information. Clear and succinct summaries of the books are provided, including full descriptions of the illustrations, media, and page layout. Every theme discussed includes a selection of picture book biographies to round out each topic.

Isaacs has provided easy access to the material in this book with title, author, illustrator, and subject indexes. With the recent push for common core standards in education, this book’s publication is timely, and its emphasis on the use of information books in the classroom is valuable. It will be especially beneficial to elementary school teachers and school library media specialists. Pair this with Picture Books for Children: Fiction, Folktales and Poetry by Mary Northrup to provide a well-rounded resource for elementary school teachers and school and public librarians.

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