The Important Books: Children's Picture Books as Art and Literature

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The Important Books takes a look at some of the most significant and talked about authors, illustrators, and titles in the genre, including Maurice Sendak, Margaret Wise Brown, William Joyce, and Chris Van Allsburg. While focusing on those books that are distinguished by some degree of originality in both word and image, the author points out that the importance of picture books is not primarily pedagogical-they are not intended to serve as dumbed down versions of young adult or adult novels-and the audience for these great books is not solely children. Because the children's picture book is designed to provide the context for an intimate transaction involving the imaginations of both parent and child, there is a social value to the form that lends a special poignancy to the pleasure it provides.