Picture Book

No keyword in children’s literature could be quite as fluid in its application as the one word “picturebook” or the two-word “picture book.” The cultural medium to which this locution refers is itself quite malleable and can be stretched to include: nonprint pictorial media for children or adults on the internet; picture-book “format” or, following the German cognate, Bilderbuch, “a type of visual encyclopedia”; humorous simulacra for adults such as the recent Goodnight Bush (Origen and Golan 2008); or the once risqué Home Sweet Zoo (Barnes 1950). Or it can simply be a book with pictures in it; Henry James in 1900 called his illustrated travel book A Little Tour in France a “picture-book,” a hyphenated form recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), and defined as “a book consisting wholly or partly of pictures, esp. for children.”

Linking the words “picture” and “book,” after Bilderbuch, …

This essay may be found on page 169 of the printed volume.

Works Cited
Permanent Link to this Essay