Some recent treasures of picture books that I found in a local second hand shop got me thinking about the idea of the ‘classic’ picture book – what makes a book a ‘classic’? I would propose that answer to be: enduring popularity. Both in terms of across time, with generations of children enjoying the books, and on an individual basis as a ‘classic’ story would be one that you would not tire of going back to again and again. This popularity endures through the quality of both illustration and story, with ‘classics’ being appreciated by adults as well as children.
There are a few titles I’d like to share with you, these are some classic picture books that I’ve shared with Babybear this week and she has thoroughly enjoyed. Hopefully this gives you some inspiration to start your own exploration of classic picture books. For more ideas of books to share Junior Magazine’s ‘Top 100 Children’s Books‘ is stacked with classics that you and your wee one will love.
Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (first published 1963)
This book is just beautiful -a celebration of imagination with illustration that is so wonderfully captivating and dreamlike. It is a simple story of a boy escaping into his imagination to a land where the wild things are; with snarling, growling creatures that make him king of the wild things but with him ultimately wishing to be home, where he is loved. I read this to Babybear, 14 months old, and she was enchanted throughout- I’ve noticed a growing preference from her for more ‘arty’ style drawings as opposed to more modern, bright, bold and busy images.
Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill (first published 1980)
I bought this for Babybear after I remembered it from my own childhood and she loves it just as much as I did. Spot the dog disappears at dinner time and a hide and seek adventure to find him ensues. The flaps to lift to try and find Spot delight Babybear on every page. This extra interaction with the lift-the-flaps easily allows for conversation with your wee one beyond the words on the page.
Peepo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (first published 1981)
This is a delightful book that journeys through a baby’s day, showing the everyday scenes of 1940s life, with holes in the pages to peek through -Peepo! The verse of the story has a flowing rhythm when read aloud and despite the decade that the illustrations depict there is still a freshness to them. Babybear loves pointing to details in the pictures for me to tell her what it is: ‘pram’, ‘bus’, ‘teddy’, ‘baby’…!
-Find these classic picture book titles and a whole lot more in your local library or independent bookshop – if you can’t find what you’re looking for, just ask, they may be able to order it in for you.