Over the past year, as my interest in Children’s literature has been growing, I’ve been reading a lot of children’s books. Like a lot a lot. The more picture books I read, I start to notice the ones that catch my interest the most, and the ones I end up re-reading several times in a row, are the ones that feel the most poetic. By that I mean that even though the language may appear to be “simple” the language is actually rich in complex diction, syntax, and imagery–not to mention attention to rhythm, sounds, and pacing. Sound familiar? Like a poem maybe? Let’s take a look at my latest obsession: Once Upon an Alphabet, by Oliver Jeffers.
Here’s of my favorite letters in the book (although I have several favorites, let’s be honest). The story is titled “C: Cup in the Cupboard.”
As I was reading the book I couldn’t help but look at each story as a little poem because of the way the stories are framed as stanzas. I’m not sure if Jeffers would call them stanzas, but it’s not a stretch to consider them as such. While I typically try to get the most milage out of line breaks by pushing the line to its most dramatic potential (without being too dramatic) if you read this story/poem it’s pretty clear the lines are broken where it sounds natural, because the nature of of picture books are usually to be read aloud to children. This really isn’t too far from poetry at all.
I could go on and on about why I consider picture books a super close relative to poetry, but I’d love to see what other people think about this! Has anyone else thought these genres as being related? Is there anything else about this mini story that captures your attention poetically/artistically? I’d love to hear your comments!