Can a picture have a purpose?

Some picture books are for adults, some are for children, and some are for both to share. Some picture books are serious, some are just fun, and some tell a story with a message, making them both. Some picture books are black and white; others are vividly bright. Some take their pictures from photographs; others try to seem real; and still others make no pretense, adding cartoon imagination to every scene. I kind of suspect picture books should be faster to read, but it's not always true, since thinking takes time (as does laughing or crying). But pictures and picture books can certainly have purpose. I think mine do (, and I think some of these do too.

Where did my friend go by Azmaira H Maker PhD is a bright colored picture book with photographs nicely edited to evoke the story's mood. The text is deceptively simple with just a few sentences per page. And it's a powerful conversation starter for any child afraid of death and dying, just afraid, or particularly afraid after seeing a traumatic death. Read this one with some well-balanced, full-flavored three-star coffee. It's not too dark, but it's very real.

Another book by the same author is Family Changes. This time the images are more old-fashioned, more appropriate to a story of anthropomorphic rabbits. It's a sweet tale of a young rabbit who's heard that her parents are now separated, possibly divorced, and wants to know what the words will mean for her. Meanwhile there's a magical party going on at school with fun for all--life goes on. The story takes the child through an up-and-down day, balancing sorrow with joy very naturally and presenting the possibility of fun after divorce. Serious questions are tackled well, and it's an enjoyable read. Pour a cup of well-balanced three-star coffee while you open the pages.

Other picture books are less serious of course, and these next two were Christmas gifts to my mum (who loves cats). Breaking Cat News by Georgia Dunn hides some intriguing news behind its convincingly feline point of view, and is really rather fun as well as rather odd. Enjoy with some lively easy-drinking two-star coffee and read all about it, feline-style.

Texts from Mittens by Angie Bailey shows why cats should never be let loose on Facebook and Pinterest. The Furizon phone used by Mitty displays text message threads between cat and human, including various bathroom comments on dog. Some pages are laugh out loud funny. Some are just odd. All are feline. Enjoy an easy read with some more two-star coffee and have fun.


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