Long Live the Classic Picture Book Forever in the Hearts and Minds of Young Children Everywhere!
As 2019 draws to a close, I would like to thank all of the readers and viewers of “Liz’s Book Snuggery” who have taken the time to view my blog posts, both here and on YouTube, and have made the effort to leave their thoughts and comments.
It is much appreciated.
Ten years ago when I started this endeavor, I felt it was important to show to children what a classic picture book looked and sounded like, to remind parents of vintage favorites from their own childhoods that may have fallen off their radar.
I hoped that they might then, in turn, be disposed to share those books with their children and grandchildren.
It has been an enormous pleasure to hear the comments from you when you either discover a classic picture book for the first time, or rediscover one of your favorites. And most especially when I hear the delight of your young readers when you do so, I am heartened.
Reading picture books to and with your children and grandchildren, or to any young one, for that matter, is a wonderful gift of time that will pay big dividends, both in the present and in the future.
Reading builds sustained attention span. And in our device-driven society, where I’m sure many of you see children glued to THEM instead of a book, it becomes ever more important to teach the importance of reading.
A child who is a reader for life will be a more informed and educated adult. In a world where our culture seems to be splintered in so many directions, reading provides a “snuggery” of sorts; and that is a cozy and quiet place to be in the company of a book that can allow their imaginations to grow and soar, either in quiet reflection or excitement!
The reason, as I mentioned before, that The Snuggery emerged came from an observation that became apparent to me as I perused the list of Caldecott winners and Honor books designated by the American Library Association as best picture books from 1939 to the present.
Ten years ago, as I looked over the list, something struck me. Long around the 1980’s, in my own humble opinion, something in many of those books had CHANGED.
The art became less painterly, and maybe even leaning just a bit to the cartoonish, the narrative was, in some ways, less “text dense,” as the lingo goes, and the vocabulary less challenging.
I thought to myself, there is a change going on as to what determines a classic picture book….at least as far as I was concerned.
And, indeed, there are wonderful authors that I feel are “classic” that never made the cut as far as a Caldecott Award or Honor Book goes…but deserved it.
And so, Liz’s Book Snuggery was hatched as a gentle reminder to young parents of what a classic picture book looked and sounded like, in the hope that they might show the next generation of young readers what they had to offer.
Does every picture book your young reader love and want to read have to be a “classic?’
No! Of course not. They have their own favorites born of their own taste and personality…. and that’s great.
But, in the mix of what they love and long to read, I truly believe it’s important for young readers to know what a classic picture book’s art and narrative looks and sounds like.
For many of them have stood the test of time, which is the true separator of what is magnificent from what is mediocre.
For me, the classic picture book fills that slot time and again.
If you look over the Archive of The Snuggery for the last ten years, you will see the classics of William Steig, Richard Peck, Tomie de Paola, Robert McCloskey, Robert Lawson, Louis Weisgard, Barbara Cooney, Katherine Milhous, Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire, Virginia Burton, Tomi Ungerer and a host of other classic picture book authors who have filled the minds and imaginations of young readers.
My hope is that they will continue to do so.
And, my sincere wish for 2020 young readers is the exact same one as the title of the 1945 Caldecott winner, illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones, with text by poet, Rachel Field.
It’s titled “Prayer for a Child.”
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