How to Navigate the World of Picture Book Genres


Read to Child genres 8 12 2014

“Oh, the things you can find if you don’t stay behind!” ― Dr. Seuss

So what exactly is a genre? I am sure you heard this word used many times in the music world at galleries and in libraries. Let’s start out and take a look at the Merriam Webster definition …

GenreA category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content

For this writing, I want to focus specifically on the genres of picture books. Picture book genres can be broken down into two categories. These include prose (nonfiction and fiction) and poetry. An interesting picture book example for poetry is, Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word by Bob Raczka. For very young children, a nice example of picture book nursery rhymes includes, The House that Jack Built by Simms Taback. An example of a picture book based on songs presented in a rhythmic cadence includes, Barn Dance by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault.

When looking at nonfiction prose, this category includes concept books, information books and biography. Concept books focus on letters, colors, shapes, and numbers. Some nice concept book examples include; Eric Carle’s ABC (The World of Eric Carle), and the Zebra-Striped Whale Alphabet Book by Shari Faden Donahue. Information picture books are where children can turn to for knowledge focusing on a specific subject. An example of this book type is, About Penguins: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill. Also how-to books fall under this category. A nice example of this type of book would be, How to Make Bubbles (Hands-On Science Fun) by Erika L Shores.

When looking at fictional prose, these books will not focus on facts, but rather the writer’s imagination. The majority of picture books for young children fall within this category. Here you will find story characters that are usually animals acting and behaving just like people. Some great book examples here would be; Llama, Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean, and Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner.

So as you can see, navigating the world of picture book genres, whether the category is prose or poetry can be fun, entertaining and enjoyable for both you and the child!

Related Posts

Harness the Power of Picture Books (July 22, 2014)

Reading to Preschool Children – One of the Most Important Steps Parents Can Do (July 1, 2014)

How Children Benefit from Informational Picture Books (July 25, 2014)

~ Robert Scott Thayer