One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job has to be cataloguing the new picture books for the Curriculum Resources collection. But, as we know, these are not just collections of pretty pictures but important resources with roles, at all levels of education, in literacy, verbal expression and intellectual, emotional and aesthetic development. As such, we treat picture books seriously, cataloguing and indexing them in some depth.
I was very pleased to see a new book about picture books being added to the main education collection recently. It is Children’s picturebooks : the art of visual storytelling, by Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles. The book covers the key stages of conceiving a narrative, creating a visual language, developing storyboards and the design of a picture book. It includes interviews with leading children’s picture book illustrators, as well as case studies of their work. A notable feature of the book is its international perspective and, for me, the chapter entitled Suitable for children? is particularly interesting since it examines the treatment by picture books of topics such as violence, love and sex, death and sadness, and man’s inhumanity to man. We have many picture books in our collection which address these and other, similarly serious, topics.
To read more about how we treat picture books and other materials in the Curriculum Resources collection see our new LibGuide.
Just by way of comparison with today’s artwork here’s an image from an earlier age, taken from Cat and Dog; or Memoirs of Puss and the Captain which was published in 1856, and is a book from the Baines Collection.
The Baines collection of children’s books (around 200 items) originally belonged to the Baines family, and includes story books, and books of general knowledge, prepared for children’s recreation and instruction in the 18th and 19th centuries. Which statement also has a suitably period feel!