I’m going to attempt a new feature here at LiterariTea: the Picture Book of the Week (PBOW). Megan and I’ve had many discussions over the years about the intricacies of our favorite picture books as well as how best to teach folks how to read a picture book. Then, I took my second graduate level picture book class this past summer with none other than Seven Imp’s Julie Danielson for my professor. Needless to say, I got inspired all over again to spread the picture book dream. 

In the PBOW posts, I’ll try to walk you through the elements that make a particular picture book stand out to me or that possibly helped it rise to award status. Now, I’m no expert. I’ve never served on an official picture book committee (such as the Caldecott), I’m not an illustrator, and I sometimes just love a book because, well, it’s so darn cute. But I do pay attention to things like endpapers, gutters, palette, composition, and the like. Do you? If those words are foreign to you, then hopefully you’ll learn something.

If you can get your hands on a given book, the post will make that much more sense. For brand new releases, your local bookstore is the best bet. For older books, libraries are a good option. If you have children in your life (your own, your students, your patrons, etc.), then I encourage you to walk through a picture book in depth with them the way I will be doing in these posts. I do this with my own children, and they are becoming astute readers and observers!

Finally, I recommend this excellent “How to Read a Picture Book” post by Robin Smith over at Calling Caldecott.  

In case you want to be ready, the first book I’m discussing is One Cool Friend by Tony Buzzeo and illustrated by David Small.

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