rusq: Vol. 52 Issue 3: p. 257
Sources: Picture Books for Children: Fiction, Folktales and Poetry
Jenny Foster Stenis

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

In this revised edition of Picture Books for Children by Patricia J. Cianciolo, Picture Books for Children: Fiction, Folktales and Poetry author Mary Northrup updates previous editions by including the best children’s pictures books published in the last decade for older children (four to eight years). The first chapter, “Where Art and Words Come Together,” is a brief treatise on how picture books work. Northrup discusses trends in the field and explains how to evaluate books by examining each element of story. She also discusses the elements of art and their importance in portraying the elements of story. A sidebar analysis of illustration styles shows how each technique contributes to the whole of the picture book. Northrup discusses the growing use of technology and digital art as well as the currency of e-books and apps. The remaining chapters of the book reflect the social development of the child. Beginning with personal concerns and family relationships in the “My Family and Myself” chapter, the book continues with “In My Community” and “Out in the World.” Northrup ends with chapters on “The World of Imagination” and “Folktales and Fairy Tales.” Each chapter is an extensive listing of current picture books, with complete bibliographic information as well as intended audience.

Northrup’s prose is spare but elegant. Especially well written are her annotations of the books in the bibliographic chapters, which give thorough descriptions of the books and touch on the most important story and art elements. This book would be useful in supporting curricula for pre–K through first-grade classes.

The book includes a thorough index and several appendixes. The first, “Suggested Resources: For Further Research into Picture Books,” is a list for parents, teachers, and librarians who might want to consider delving a little deeper into the subject. Subsequent appendixes are “Picture Books about Art” and “Self Referential Picture Books,” the latter of which is a useful bibliography of what the author calls a “type of postmodern” picture book. These books defy the mold of a traditional picture book.

Who is the audience for this book? Anyone who reads picture books: parents, teachers, childcare providers, elementary teachers, and librarians. It is just as useful for supporting curriculum units in childcare centers and schools as it is simply for finding a book for the pleasure of sharing a good story.

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