5. Picturebooks

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When selecting books for children age zero to two a natural tendency is to choose naming and/or categorizing books. Other default selections for the very young include nursery rhymes, books based on songs, or counting, color, and alphabet books, as it is easy to evaluate the suitability of such texts for very young children. It can be more difficult, however, for caregivers to evaluate which narrative texts are most suitable for the youngest children, given the range of offerings available in picturebook format. In order to aid caregivers and early childhood teachers in the selection of stories for the very young, this paper will propose three easily implementable criteria for picturebook selection and then analyze eight picturebook classics in order to evaluate to what degree they match these criteria. Given the range of evidence that reading aloud to infants is a precursor toward literacy success, the guidelines provided will allow caregivers to confidently select narrative texts to enjoy with babies and toddlers.


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