Picture Books: Reading For All Ages

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On occasion, IPS will publish an additional blog post during the week on special topics.  MacKerrow Talcott, the librarian at The International Preschools, is our guest blogger this week.

As the librarian for The International Preschools,  I am often asked questions about my favorite books.  Recently, I was asked what was my favorite holiday-themed book.   In honor of November being Picture Book Month, I wanted to share with you why this book is so dear to me.  

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The Present by Bob Gill is a book that represents the generosity and kindness that is intended to be shared throughout all holidays and in the hearts of children.   In the story, a boy named Arthur spots a present tucked in the back of his dad’s closet.  Arthur is certain that it must be his birthday present.  Arthur tries to guess the contents of the package throughout the pages of the book.  As a result, we as readers learn about Arthur’s likes and wishes, connecting with the character through his own eyes.  Bob Gill skillfully encourages this affinity by never illustrating Arthur.  

The ending scene is especially powerful because what transpires is also left un-illustrated.  The reader returns to the opening picture of the dad’s closet with the addition of a chair for Arthur to climb onto and reach the present.   The text continues and must be fully imagined by the reader; it is the reader’s own perception and affinity with Arthur that makes the scene so powerful.

“That’s when the front doorbell rang.  His mother answered the door.  He heard her talking to a woman who said she was collecting toys for poor children.  Arthur climbed on the chair, got down the present, and ran over to where his mother and the woman were talking…and he gave the woman the present.”

This is why picture books are for people of all ages….

To share your (or your child’s) favorite picture book, please add a comment to this blog post!

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