In a picture book, the images are more important than the text.
By contrast, in an "illustrated book," the words primarily
carry the story or argument and the pictures merely support them.
A picture book can tell a coherent story with the images alone, though
it may not be as complete or specific as the story told with the images
and supplemental words together.
Some Questions for Evaluating Picture Books
- Do the illustrations tell the same story as the words? What has been
added or changed?
- Can the words tell the story without the pictures?
- Can the pictures tell the story without the words?
- What is the style of the art work? How is color used? What do the
style and color contribute to mood, description, or storytelling?
- What is the physical relationship between the pictures and the printed
text? Do they overlap or are they separate?
- Are there pages where there are no words? What is the effect? What
about pages with no pictures?
- What is the tone or mood of the pictures?
- Look at the variety of characters (defined by oppositions such as
good./bad, friendly/threatening, helpful/obstructive): do they differ
physically in size, shape, color, texture, or their relation to the
- Look at any character who changes (or whom we are supposed to feel
differently about a different points in the story): does that character
look different physically in size, shape, color, texture, or their relation
to our vantage point?
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