Last week, I discovered an article stating that picture books are a dying breed. Whether it's true or not...and hopefully, it's not...I decided to spend some time promoting and representing children's picture books. Every Tuesday this month, in fact.
I did a tiny bit of research for this post, which is sort of unusual. It was by accident--I was looking for picture books online, trying to decide on the first one to feature. What I discovered was one of the first picture books: Orbis Pictus. Orbis Pictus is by Johann Comenius. Wikipedia tells me he published it in 1865. It was a textbook, published in Latin and German.
Go ahead--click on the link.
OK. I assume you've come back, or I'm typing into the vast unknown of the internet. Now, I know that you probably aren't fluent in Latin. I'll translate it for you. Luckily for you all, I am a Latin geek.
Chapter I. Invitation: The photo is of a teacher (magister) and a boy (puer).
The conversation follows:
T: Come boy! Speak wisely.
B: What is it, oh, wise one?
Okay--I'm not going to translate it all. But basically, the teacher is getting ready to teach the boy. And look at the woodcarving photo! Isn't it lovely?
I never thought of the history of picture books before. It always seems like they just morphed out one day, and we all reaped the benefits. Art and text, in one sweet package. Or, sometimes, just art. On pages. Have you ever read art?
I promise, I'm really going to set you up with a good picture book for today. Since I'm starting with, well, starting points, and since Maria from the Sound of Music said that it's the very first place to start, we had better begin with a picture book about the alphabet.
Chica Chica Boom Boom is a classic, and it shares the alphabet in a very unique way. I have to admit--I can't read this book out loud (or even quietly) without jamming out a bit to the beat of the words. I can't help but remember that the letters, as they scramble up the tree, will fall down...and that after they begin to untangle, the letter P will show with a black eye. This is an alphabet book that I can read over and over again. Highly recommended from this blogger--check it out. By Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Lois Ehlert.
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