Thursday, March 03, 2011

Too Old For Picture Books?

So I have a book confession to make.  As I acquire more and more books on my bookshelf I find myself also collecting more and more picture books.  Nicer copies of books I loved as a kid, books I've been asked to review and loved, random books I come across while shopping at thrift stores, etc. 

So at which point do you become too old for picture books?  I keep telling myself that I'm saving them for when I have kids of my own.  Although right now at (almost) 24 kids are a while off still I think.  Planning for the future?  Maybe.  But as my collection grows I wonder if a have a picture book obsession. 

I'll admit it, I'm an illustration junkie.  I think it's the same reason why I gush about book covers so much. I will acquire/keep a book based purely on illustrations alone.  My mom was the same way when she was buying us books growing up.  If she liked the illustrations, she bought the book, completely ignoring what the book was about.  Although now that i think back to it, my mom and I must have different tastes in art, because although I enjoyed the stories of most of the books she brought back, some of the illustrations were, in my opinion, weird. 

My last semester of college I took a children's lit class.  It wasn't required for credit, but I had taken a young adult course the previous semester and really enjoyed it and I was curious what a class focused on younger readers might have to offer.   There was a novel assigned to each unit, but one class period in each unit was spent exploring picture books our teacher would bring in for us to look at.  Those were by far my favorite days, reading and swapping picture books with other students. 

The next class period we were always assigned to bring in our own books about the unit's topic.  As a senior college student (I had 18 credits that semester) I usually brought a picture book to class since I didn't have a lot of extra time to be reading lots of extra books.  Pawing through the (limited) collection of books my university library had looking for the perfect title for each unit was so much fun.  I literally spent hours in that section of the library, reading and flipping through countless books.  Of course, that earning me a lot of funny looks from the college kids were passing through, but I didn't worry about it really.  I was having too much fun. 

So maybe I'm weird, or maybe not.  But judging by the growing pile of picture books on my bookshelf, I think I need to find a Picture Books for Young Adults Anonymous group. 


Anonymous said...

You're NEVER too old! Back before I had kids, I bought them, too. When I die, they will have to tear my picture books out of my cold, dead hands!
Seriously, 'though, doesn't it give you a thrill to read them? I don't think I'll ever tire of reading books with that perfect pairing of words and pictures.

Anonymous said...

I too am a illustration junkie. I say celebrate your addiction! What will happen to our beloved picture books in the age of ebooks. A picture on a computer screen doesn't have the same magic that a beautifully printed page has. Some of my favorite illustrators are Scott Gustafson, Mark Teague,and William Joyce. There are so many other illustrators that grace my closet shelf corners waiting to be re-discovered by grandchildren in the future.

Ashley @ Book Labyrinth said...

I don't think you can be too old for picture books... some are so precious and others are absolutely hilarious, even things that kids might miss.

I'm actually not the biggest illustration fan, but sometimes they work so, so well with a story.

I love the Scaredy Squirrel books by Melanie Watt... and the Pigeon books by Moe Willems.

Laina said...

I read approximately 450, 500 picture books last year. I work at my library, but I LOVE reading picture books. :) And I'm 18!