When you ask a child what he or she likes best about the picture book you just read the answer will be, “The word choice”, or “The organization,” or perhaps, “The sentence fluency”. No, we all know what the answer will be, “The pictures.” Without pictures, a children’s book is a skeleton with a few bones for a plot, a few bones for a description of the characters, and a few bones for the setting. With illustrations it becomes a totally fleshed out entity with the pictures answering all the questions in the reader’s mind.
See what I mean: “So life went on, until one morning Puppy was watching TV with Lucy. It was a news interview with Barracuda, a dog on a Navy Seal team. Puppy was transfixed. When the interview was over, Puppy was inspired.”
By now the child is trying to turn the page to see what’s next. But with the picture next to the text, you keep his interest.
The best thing about my book, “Puppy, the Navy Seal Dachshund” is the illustrations. They make my animal characters appealing and entertaining as they make the text understandable to the reader.
The illustrator contributes the most and gets the least credit. He draws for the benefit of others more often than his own. He’s the hero of the picture book world. With this I salute the illustrator, Sonny Heston..