Criteria for Choosing Baby and Toddler Picture Books

Picture books are the first thing children use to connect to the world.

When you go to the book store, the neat arrangement and collection of titles divided by recommended age make buy picture books look easier than picking out toys.

However, picture books will have a greater impact on forming your child's values and beliefs more than toys ever will. So, it is always wise to exercise some discretion when making a selection.

Let's take some time to become acquainted with the essentials of picking out picture books and how to read them.

First Steps towards the World

1) Stimulating Senses, Honing Language Skills

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Unlike television and film, picture books tell many stories with simple words across several picture-filled pages. The images in a picture book ought to suit your child's discriminatory abilities. Reason is so that they can follow the story being told. The pictures should be fleshed-out and be high in detail.

The best photo books don't need to be read. Looking at the pictures alone will be an exciting experience for your child. Looking at nice, pretty pictures is an excellent form of sensual stimulation.

In addition, as your child looks at the pictures and listens to his/her mother reading, they will not just become more familiar with speech and text. They will also gain a deeper understanding of the hidden meanings of both spoken and written words. Their learning abilities benefit from this process.

When reading a picture book out loud, your job isn't just to transmit information. You also have to let your child take on a role and become a part of the story. Experiencing the story through the perspective of the main character will calm your child. Aside from that, you will nourish his/her imagination and emotional sensitivity.

2) Don't Just Look – Read Aloud

Many mothers will read their child's picture books to him/her. However, as soon as the child is more familiar with the written word, they will stop and let their child read on their own. Reading a picture book and looking at a picture book are two very different things. Photo books play a critical role in bringing parents and child together on an emotional level.

Even if your child can sit on their own and read photo books, they will not be able to fully understand most of what they come across. Adding movements to vividly and graphically depict what you are reading to your child will bring your child close to his/her mother as they sense your love and care. You should read picture books to your child to maximize their value as tools for fostering emotional growth. Even if your child can already recognize words on a page.

All that being said, it isn't good if photo books get in the way of your child's imagination or interfere with independent thought. If you read to your child with certain expectations in mind, he/she will feel burdened by the task immediately and could end up disliking photo books altogether.

3) Start with what Your Child Cares about

​If your child has a undisciplined character, you will have much trouble calming your child down enough to read to them. Same is true if they are not accustomed to looking at picture books or if the books they have been reading are too difficult for them.

To make your child more interested in photo books, you should make books a part of their life when they are from 1 to 10 months old baby. It doesn't hurt to introduce your child to books that match their interests.

Make a show of it when you read out loud. Attract your child's curiosity by showing them the book cover again and again. Eventually, your child will start to like reading time.

You could even make cutouts of the characters from the books you read and perform lively, retelling all the stories. Turning reading into a game with many different parts in one good way to get your child interested in reading.

Picking Out the Right Picture Books

1) Pay Attention to what Books are Saying

Even photo books contain views about the world. What is beautiful, what is ugly, what is good, what is bad? Picture books are not silent on these topics. When picking out picture books, look closely as whether or not multiple views are represented. Whether or not it depicts stereotypes. Whether or not it's imaginative, and so on.

Children growing up in cities can read photo books about rural life to learn new things about the natural world. Picture books that talk about other countries expand your child's horizons and open the doors to different cultures.

Pay special attention to books that include two genders. Try to pick out books that are not limited to depicting just no gender and which include stories with active and which involve female characters.

Books that don't have these qualities could contain a hidden message about the world. Good picture books should teach children what is generally accepted and what is not. Also includes about what is right and wrong, and why they need to always do the right thing.

2) Look for Pictures that Help Tell the Story

The images found in a picture book don't just complement the written words. They are in fact one means of honing your child's storytelling ability. They allow children who still can't read to have their own rich and enjoyable reading experience. This is why the best photo books are ones that can tell their story pictures alone.

Picture books are not the same as the cartoon characters you find on consumer goods. They don't necessarily need to be cute or colored with primary colors. The images in a picture book must be a richer way of expressing the content of stories. The lines in a picture book are more important than the colors. The delicate, fine and solid lines that have been caringly drawn are best of all.

3) Stimulating the Imagination, Encouraging Distinctive Character

There are some photo books that are so life-like. Those that have been drawn in such exquisite detail that even grownups enjoy looking at them. There are also books that are darker, and that only use black and white pictures.

But pretty pictures and delicate lines are not what make a good book. If the pictures do not fit the tone of the story, they could get in the way of comprehension. So don't bother yourself over crudely drawn, dark, or completely colorless pictures if they fit the story's message. It is always better to be exposed to a diversity of storytelling methods.

Some mothers, due to a prejudice against black and white pictures, will only opt for books with colored images. In fact, mothers underestimate the impact that black and white pictures can have on the imagination.

Although such pictures may appear crude and monotonous to you, they are capable of more accurately conveying the author's message to children. It makes an effective tool for stimulating the imagination. Thus, when picking out books based on their pictures, you should be willing to expose your child to a variety of styles and storytelling methods.

4) Imaginativeness

A good book opens up the limitless space of your child's imagination, even if it is unrealistic. These kinds of books show children that they have a vast imagination that can escape the fixed concepts of everyday life.

With imagination, when your child encounters a new thing, they won't think about it with a close mind. They will instead come to it with an attitude that is both positive and open. Even if they cannot fully grasp the situation, they will at least be able to accept it without complaint.

5) Suiting Your Moods

There are a plethora of foreign picture books worth reading to your child. However, there are also many that cannot meet your child's psychological needs or match their interests. Just like how, when learning language, children will begin with the words for what they are most interested in.

The more a picture book relates to your child's experiences and psychology, the more effective the books will be as instructive tools. In addition, in order to better encourage independence and self-control, pick books that depict the inherent spirit of Chinese people, or that use a distinctive Chinese style for its images.

Learning to Read Them

1) Making Your Voice More Expressive

Just as you use a heartfelt voice to sing lullabies, you should read stories in a low volume. Your voice can have a big impact on your child's mood. It can calm your child down and also encourage language learning. In addition, your child can sense the vibrations in the air produced by your voice, which is a kind of light massage on the skin.

2) Onomatopoeia and Sound Symbolism

Whether reading out loud or explaining the things in the pictures, you should mix in some onomatopoeias and sound symbolism to increase your child's comprehension. It would also stimulate their imagination and expand their capacity for abstract thought.

Using rhythmic language like this to stimulate your child will allow them to have fun with words. It would also provide them with more means of expressing themselves, making them better at conveying their own ideas.

3) Pay Attention to Your Child's Eyes at Reading Time

You and your child should occasionally make eye contact while reading so that you can see each other's expression and get a direct sense of the other's emotional state. For a 3 months old baby, you can tell them a story while looking into their eyes. In general, the age when most children should be able to finish a book is after their third birthday. For children who have not yet turned one, it is particularly hard for them to focus their attention for even one minute's time.

When your child loses focus, give them a piece of paper with an interesting picture on it. Have them look at the picture as you read out loud to them. The pictures that your child look at should be rich in meaning, capable of evoking all kinds of ideas and naturally growing their imagination.

A Little Block of Knowledge: Choosing Books by Appearance


For handbook-style picture books, because they use cardstock, you should pick ones with thicker paper. Most photo books will still be OK with thinner paper. There is no need to pick only picture books with thick paper and sturdy materials because you're worried about your child chewing the pages. Children can learn about books even through chewing and tearing them. If they lose a book because they have destroyed it, they will appreciate books more later on. Thus, don't worry too much about this.

Shape and Size

Pick books with rounded edges to prevent injuries caused by angled corners. Try to buy books in a variety of sizes. Smalls books will fit in your child's hands and allow them to hold on better. Large books can be laid out on the floor for reading.


Binding should be sturdy, properly glued, sewn tightly and be secured to a durable cover. If not, pages will start falling out immediately, and the entire book will soon be scattered everywhere.

Additional Merchandise

Some picture books come with special baby toys or accessories intended to attract children's curiosity. Moms need to filter through these toys to make sure they're age-appropriate and whether or not they will aid sensory and physical development.

And those are the information regarding picture books for your baby.


Editor in Babiology, mother of two, highly passionate about sharing the pregnancy care and post delivery care learning with the readers.

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