“Picture Books” is a poem by poet Edgar Albert ‘Eddie’ Guest published in 1931, describing how picture books enable children to explore the world within their own imagination and make connections to characters that are depicted, the book becomes real to them. They also help young readers to visualize the story, if they don’t understand the words the pictures can help them figure out the meaning.
Books are meant to be exciting and engaging and reading and looking at picture books should be a time a child looks forward to, every day. Picture books develop a deeper appreciation for art in kids who can look at a beautifully illustrated picture book and instantly recognize the different colors, art styles, and visual interpretations of the narrative.
So, open up a picture book for your child, and they instantly glow with enthusiasm. They look at the pictures almost as they would watch a movie. They analyze a scene and without knowing how to read, tell you how the story plays out. And when you read the text, they associate the words with the illustrations. The pictures allow them to follow the story and give meaning to what you are reading.
“Picture Books” Poem Lyrics
I HOLD the finest picture-books
Are woods an’ fields an’ runnin’ brooks;
An’ when the month o’ May has done
Her paintin’, an’ the mornin’ sun
Is lightin’ just exactly right
Each gorgeous scene for mortal sight,
I steal a day from toil an’ go
To see the springtime’s picture show.
It’s everywhere I choose to tread—
Perhaps I’ll find a violet bed
Half hidden by the larger scenes,
Or group of ferns, or living greens,
So graceful an’ so fine, I swear
That angels must have placed them there
To beautify the lonely spot
That mortal man would have forgot.
What hand can paint a picture book
So marvelous as a runnin’ brook?
It matters not what time o’ day
You visit it, the sunbeams play
Upon it just exactly right,
The mysteries of God to light.
No human brush could ever trace
A droopin’ willow with such grace!
Page after page, new beauties rise
To thrill with gladness an’ surprise
The soul of him who drops his care
And seeks the woods to wander there.
Birds, with the angel gift o’ song,
Make music for him all day long;
An’ nothin’ that is base or mean
Disturbs the grandeur of the scene.
There is no hint of hate or strife;
The woods display the joy of life,
An’ answer with a silence fine
The scoffer’s jeer at power divine.
When doubt is high an’ faith is low,
Back to the woods an’ fields I go,
An’ say to violet and tree:
‘No mortal hand has fashioned thee.’