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Michelle

Illustrations in children's books

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Beth is 10, and she's finally starting to appreciate longer books - she's already read many of the Roald Dahl books, and when she tried David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress, she recognised that the illustrations were by the same person. That book was a review one, so I had a chat to her to find out what it was she liked or disliked, and she mentioned that she really liked the drawings, as they helped her picture what was happening.

 

Recently I encouraged her to try The Hobbit, and we were looking on amazon, to find her a new copy (the pages were falling out of mine! lol) and she said she'd prefer one with some drawings in.

 

I'm now watching a documentary that was on BBC Four last night, about illustrations in children's books, and they are discussing books for older children, such as The Hobbit.

 

Do you think that illustrations are important in books for children.. does it help them, or would they be better using their imagination? Do you have memories of books that you loved with illustrations?

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I think illustrations are incredibly important to a young reader. It helps with one's understanding of the narrative and enhances the reading experience.

 

My son struggled with reading for many years, but got an enormous amount of confidence in his reading from the illustrations in books such as the many Dr. Seuss stories, and another firm favourite of The Monster Bed.

 

In later years he went more for the macho manual and catalogues (lots of pictures again), and now in his twenties he is an avid reader (Hurray!).

 

For myself, the illustrations in the CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia helped to bring the books to life and taught me that we all have an internal picture of what we read. Sometimes the illustrator has captured my visual impression of a story, and at other times I've felt that they saw something completely different from me.

 

My first Chritmas present from my OH was a limited edition collectors' box of The Hobbit, with a hardcover copy, a booklet, a map (by J.Howe) and 8 postcards by Tolkein, plus a cd recording of Tolkein reading Bilbo's meeting with Gollum - How could I NOT have married this man! :)

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I agree, illustrations can be really good when reading. Usually not everything is illustrated so the kids get to fill in the gaps with their imagination.

 

I still remember lots of books with great illustrations. The Jaquiline Wilson books with all the illustrations by Nick Sharet, The Shirley Hughes books. And books with illustrations by Quinten Blake (and sometimes written by him too)

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I think illustrations give more reality to a book for a child. It gives them a starting point, particularly in a detailed book like the Hobbit, and they can develop the world in their mind from there. I never really cared whether a book had illustrations once I got past about 7 or 8, but I did study the front cover and preferred a book featuring the main characters or setting on the front cover so I had a starting point in my mind.

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I think illustrations give more reality to a book for a child. It gives them a starting point, particularly in a detailed book like the Hobbit, and they can develop the world in their mind from there.

I agree. Also (and this is due to the fact that my mom works in a day care with 3-year-old children, and I've spent time in the classroom helping out now and again), children tend to want to know (by seeing) what is happening. They like that sense of direction and the ability to point out and even have the image explained to them (even if it's being written about it in the passage one might've read to them).

 

My cousin's son, when I read to him (he's 2-years-old), loves to sit in my lap, with the book in his lap, pointing to the images as I go along and then he'll ask me a question or two about it along the way. He learns about the things around him in a day-to-day basis, a lot of times, due to illustrations in books that teach him about those very same things.

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I still loove illustrions now - two of my 10/10 books of the past year or two have been The Plucker and The Devil's Rose (both by Brom) - they're both illustrated novels and absolutely beautiful. The artwork is amazing and really enhances the atmosphere of the novels.

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I remember being about 3 or 4 and my cousin (who's 12 years older than me) was reading a book and I scoffed and asked her how she could possibly read a book without any pictures, and I couldn't really ever imagine doing that and wasn't it really boring? She laughed and said I would one day, but I distinctly remember not really believing her because reading books without pictures was obviously silly.

 

I can't really recall books that weren't picture books having a massive effect on me with their illustrations. The Blake illustrations in Roald Dahl books were always great, and The Phantom Tollbooth's original illustrations were always something I loved. And Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, I think. I did want to be an illustrator for a while when I was much younger, maybe I should have pursued that. But it's hard and all. I have a friend doing a degree in "book arts" which is essentially that, and it sounds great!

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Yes like everyone else i defnitly think illustrations are an important staple of childrens books..The Blake illustrations from Roald Dahl books defnitly stick out in my mind..i think it helps to develop kids imaginations.

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I love books with illustrations, I think they give books an extra something, give something else to your imagination :D

 

I recently read 'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman and the illustrations were great to look at, there was not many but they were there. :tong:

 

Happy reading Michelle and Beth:)

Edited by Michelle
please don't bold whole posts

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I recently read 'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman and the illustrations were great to look at, there was not many but they were there. :)

If you liked those illustrations, you should try The Edge Chronicles as Chris Riddell illustrates those too, and Paul Stewart's writing is every but as good as Gaiman's. :D

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Thanks Kell :)

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When choosing books for any of our kids or neice or nephews looking at the illustrations always swung it for me (and the story of course). If they are good illustrations I think it helps leave a lasting impression with the child if they have enjoyed the story.

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I think illustrations are important for a kid, it can encourage them to read and help them finish a book as well. Even as an adult page after page of solid writing can be a bit daunting.

As a kid I enjoyed the illustrations in Jacqueline Wilson books by Nick Sharratt and the illustrations in the original version of The necklace of raindrops by Joan Aiken - Illustrator is Jan Pienkowski who also did meg and mog. Road Dahl illustrations were always good too as well as the illustrators of both horrible histories and horrible science. I fondly remember the illustrations of The Adventures of Pip by Enid Blyton. Pictures can encourage imagination; seeing things from a different perspective is always helpful. Even now I enjoy books with a few illustrations dotted throughout.

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Hi, I find all of Rold Dahls books have great illustrations. They would need to be to meet the standard of his amazingly compeling words. I know as a child the pictures were of great interest to me to i agree they too are important!!

 

 

Kayley

Edited by Michelle

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Do you think that illustrations are important in books for children.. does it help them, or would they be better using their imagination? Do you have memories of books that you loved with illustrations?

I think they're important because they provide a frame of reference when visualising the story. Pictures themselves can be a form of storytelling and I always appreciate the extra effort that's been taken when producing illustrated books. I can think of one book in particular that wouldn't be the same if there weren't illustrations and that would be The Little Prince, which I consider a book every child should read.

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I think illustrations can make a book more enjoyable (less scary for beginning readers).

I had a lot of trouble reading at the start and pictures helped me get through long books and figure out what was being said if there was a new word.

The Spiderwick series, Tashi and A Series of Unfortunate books have nice illustrations.

For longer books, I read The Iron Trial by Holly Black which has little illustrations at the beginning of each chapter.

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