Created By: LordGro on June 14, 2012 Last Edited By: LordGro on February 9, 2013
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Picture Books

Books with pervasive illustrations that are a vital, non-interchangeable part of the whole.

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Books which combine pictures and text into a work that wouldn't be complete with either of these parts missing.

Often, but not necessarily, the illustrator is also the author of the text. Picture Books are often aimed at young children, because they are supposed to help children learn words and reading. Not all picture books are intended for children, though.

As a genre of Children's Literature, picture books established themselves in the 19th century.

Picture books overlap with Sequential Art. The origin of Comics can be traced to Picture Books. Books where pictures are essential but not pervasive (e.g. author-illustrated books) are covered in Canon Illustrations.

Notable creators of picture books on the wiki:

Picture books on the wiki:


Community Feedback Replies: 42
  • June 14, 2012
    Sheora
    Perhaps you should include a listing of well known authors of the genre? Such as Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak?
  • June 14, 2012
    lexicon
  • June 14, 2012
    LordGro
    ^^ Added a section for picture book authors (only those who already have a page).
  • June 14, 2012
    Sheora
    The original publications of Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass are famous for their accompanying illustrations.
  • June 14, 2012
    LordGro
    ^ I'm not sure if that should count. The illustrations are not a "non-interchangeable" part (as I phrased it) of the book. There have been a whole series of illustrators other than John Tenniel ([1]).
  • June 14, 2012
    DaibhidC
  • June 14, 2012
    LordGro
    ^ I'm not sure if Eric should count. Wikipedia says there are editions with and without illustrations, so the illustrations are not a vital part, it seems. -- Added the other two, though.
  • June 14, 2012
    Sheora
    Well, I suppose that all depends on how narrow you want to keep the definition. Tenniel's illustrations are so iconic, it's hard to see the book as a complete work without them accompanying the text.
  • June 14, 2012
    SingingRain
  • June 14, 2012
    LordGro
    ^ My current definition ("the illustrations are a vital, non-interchangeable part") indeed excludes Alice, as Wikipedia lists ten other artists who provided sets of illustrations (eleven if you count Carroll's own illustrations). The only condition on which it might fit under it would be if the other illustrations are really dependent on the Tenniel illustrations (remakes, so to say).

    The same definition also excludes Eric, albeit for a different reason.

    It does, I think, include the Walter Moers books, which are young adult novels coming with extensive illustrations by the author; still they aren't what you would normally call "picture books".

    Certainly we can change the definition, but this leads to the question: which one? I suppose ultimately every definition is going to produce borderline cases. I tried to formulate a definition which is clear and concise; but if I'd have to change it, I personally would tend to make it more narrow instead of wider (so that it excludes the Moers books, for example). Alice and Eric are more what I would call "illustrated books" and it feels a bit like overstretching the term "picture book" to include them.
  • June 14, 2012
    Sheora
    I think your definition is fine, just needed the clarity on what you were considering within it's parameters.
  • June 15, 2012
    LordGro
    There's nothing wrong with talking about the definition -- it's not set in stone.
  • June 15, 2012
    NateSpidgewood
  • June 15, 2012
    randomsurfer
  • June 16, 2012
    Arivne
  • June 16, 2012
    elwoz
  • June 16, 2012
    LordGro
    ^ Seems we don't have a page on that one yet.
  • June 16, 2012
    twsgarrison
    I would narrow the definition to cases where the illustrations are pervasive. In Saint-Exuperey's The Little Prince, for example, the illustrations of the elephant eaten by the snake are vital, but they are pretty much the only such illustrations. Likewise, a Locked Room Mystery might have a diagram of the murder scene that is vital to understanding the case. Neither are really Picture Books.
  • June 16, 2012
    LordGro
    I consciously made the definition somewhat wider than the strict meaning of "picture book". I would, in fact, count The Little Prince: It came out originally with illustrations, the illustrations are the author's own, and the book is always printed with these very same illustrations (neither without illustrations, nor with alternative illustrations). It's not a picture book with pervasive illustrations, like in "picture book for children", but it's ... something for which I wanted to create an index and which I, for lack of a better word, have called Picture Book.

    If we make this index for picture books in the narrow sense (= with pervasive illustrations), we again have a bunch of books like The Little Prince (I think the various Walter Moers books are in the same class) for which we must either invent another index, or have no specific index at all. -- I suggested "Illustrated Books" above, but that's too vague (any book can be illustrated). "Author-Illustrated Book" isn't quite it either, as, for example, The Last Hero is not author-illustrated and, it seems, at about the same level of text-picture-relationship as The Little Prince.

    Btw, I wouldn't list a book on this index only because it has diagrams; the images should make up a substantial part of the book.
  • June 17, 2012
    randomsurfer
    There was a series called "Mobey Books Illustrated Classics Edition" which were abridged classic books; they had a full-page illustration on one out of every two to four pages. The one I've read in both the original and abridged, The Hound of the Baskervilles, was pretty well done. Dunno if that might count.
  • June 17, 2012
    LordGro
    (disregard)
  • June 20, 2012
    LordGro
    (disregard, contents moved down)
  • June 27, 2012
    LordGro
    (disregard)
  • June 27, 2012
    BOFH
    Richard Scarry is another notable creator.
  • June 28, 2012
    Arivne
  • June 28, 2012
    LordGro
    I think there are five categories of books that possible could be listed on this index -- roughly going from the most narrow definition of "picture book" to more looser ones:

    1. "Picture books" in their most literal definition, i.e. books with 'pervasive' pictures (= pictures on every page), and which don't make a whole lot of sense when read without pictures. The pictures take up more space than the text. Examples: The Dr Seuss books, Struwwelpeter, Where The Wild Things Are, Wheres Wally?

    2. Books extensively illustrated by the author him/herself and are almost invariably published with the original illustrations, but the pictures don't take up more space than the text, and it's not a "picture book" in the most literal sense. Examples: The Little Prince, the Walter Moers books (The Thirteen And A Half Lives Of Captain Bluebear etc)

    3. Books first published extensively illustrated by someone different than the author (not a "picture book" in the most literal sense). The illustrations are, however, not a necessary part of the book and there are, or could be editions without illustrations. Examples: Eric, The Last Hero.

    4. 'Classic' books getting an extensively "illustrated edition". Example: The Mobey Books Illustrated Classics".

    5. Books that are almost always published with illustrations, or associated with really iconic illustrations, but still can be read without illustrations without losing much of the book, and/or are available with different sets of illustrations. Examples: Alice In Wonderland ("classic" illustrations by John Tenniel), Winnie The Pooh ("classic" illustrations by E. Shephard).

    Could I have opinions on which categories should go into this index and which shouldn't? We might also consider soft-splitting the works list into categories.

    If you're content with the draft as-is, maybe you can give a hat. Or otherwise tell me what should be improved.
  • July 1, 2012
    Telcontar
    • Shaun Tan uses pictures as a key part of his books.
      • Tales From Outer Suburbia uses illustrations to give more setting and a surreal feel, but most of the time the story is just written. However, at times (e.g. the end of "Eric") the artwork is a key plot point that just can't be expressed in words.
      • The Arrival contains no words except Roman numerals for chapters. The full-page pictures tell the complete story by themselves.
  • July 1, 2012
    LordGro
    Added Shaun Tan and those of his works that have pages. I am not sure about The Arrival, though -- it's in the Comic Book/ namespace and classified as a Graphic Novel. That's really a rather rare type of work -- I guess you could technically classify it as a picture book, but presently all the other works on this index are Literature/ namespace material, which The Arrival definitely isn't. Hm.
  • July 1, 2012
    Omeganian
    The Adventure of the Dancing Men?
  • July 12, 2012
    lexicon
    Don't you mean, "part of he whole," not oft? It's the only error I can find and other than that it looks ready for a hat.
  • July 12, 2012
    Xtifr

    The former is illustrated by the author and fits your category 2; the latter was illustrated by Gahan Wilson, and is more like category 5; it's never been published without the illustrations, and is unlikely to ever be published without, since the illustrator is slightly more famous than the author.
  • July 13, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    Not sure if this counts, since they aren't really "books", but the Transformers Timelines short prose stories all have illustrations in them. Sometimes they're done by the authors themselves, and other times they're done by various "guest artists" (though with final approval from the actual authors).
  • July 13, 2012
    moriwen
    Does Blake's poetry count? It's extensively illustrated, and by the author himself, but it's also often printed without the illustrations.
  • July 16, 2012
    Xtifr
    How about A) calling it Illustrated Books, B) basically cover anything in literature (no graphic novels) which has been published with illustrations--but exclude graphic adaptations and works that only have a frontispiece, and C) possibly soft-split according to some reasonable grouping (like your categories 1-5).

    eta: oh, and lest I forget:

    • Stardust, which has been published both as an extensively illustrated book (enough that it falls under the ordinary definition of picture book) and as an imageless novel.
  • July 17, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^Where would books with one illustration per chapter fall? For example, IIRC Harry Potter has an illustration on the first page of each chapter, but few to none other than that.
  • July 17, 2012
    Xtifr
    ^ Hmm, good question. I would tend to say "several illustrations" or something like that, so under that criterion, HP would fit, but I'd also say that little doodles as chapter headings (like in Tom Holt's Falling Sideways, which has the chapter numbers represented as stacks of frogs) wouldn't count, and under that criterion, HP would be borderline. But checking my copy, I'd say those go beyond the doodle level, so they'd count. But that's just my opinion.
  • August 5, 2012
    LordGro
    @Xtifr: I doubt whether the category "Illustrated Books" is really useful. I'd expect the number of books that have been illustrated at least once to be just too large.

    Thinking this over, I realized that categories #2, #3 and #5 are covered in Canon Illustrations. Author-Illustrated Books (#2) could maybe become a separate index, but in any case these should be considered a special variant of Canon Illustrations.

    So my suggestion is: Confine this index to "picture books" in the more literal sense (my category #1), and make sure the rest is listed on Canon Illustrations. I don't think category #4 "Illustrated Edition" - which would include any book which was ever illustrated - needs an index (as I said above).

    Author-Illustrated Book (not counting actual Picture Books) could be spun off from Canon Illustrations, or just get a separate section on Canon Illustrations.

    Edit: Tried to separate Canon Illustrations / Illustrated Books from more literal Picture Books.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    Bump; I can't actually tell if this is done or not.
  • January 31, 2013
    LordGro
    I suggest we go with the "pervasive illustrations that form an essential part of the whole" definition. I'll move everything that doesn't fit this definition to Canon Illustrations.
  • January 31, 2013
    MetaFour
  • February 1, 2013
    LordGro
    Added. Please give hats if you think the page is good to go.
  • February 9, 2013
    LordGro
    Is everone okay with the draft as-is? Or is there anything to improve? If you think it's good, please throw a hat ...
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