Evaluating Picture Books


  • Is the text effective and appropriate for the intended audience?SnowyDayKeats
  • Does is flow well when read aloud?
  • Are there pleasing sounds, rhythms, patterns?
  • If it rhymes, does it do so effectively?
  • Do the pages turn in the right places?
  • How does the story unfold? Are there elements that allow readers to predict what might happen?
  • Are there opportunities for dialogic reading?
  • Is there a balance between predictability and surprise?


  • What medium does the illustrator use?
  • How would you classify their technique: fair, good, distinguished, masterful?
  • How does the illustrator use visual elements? To what effect?
  • What colors are used and to what effect?
  • What visual element(s) are most dominant: color, line, shape?
  • Do the illustrations support the text? Do they expand it?
  • Does the illustrator make creative use of the physical object to tell the story? For example, the use of endpapers, gutters, or orientation.

Text & Illustration Together

This is the real secret sauce of picture books and something that every reviewer should consider.

  • How are the text and pictures working together?
  • Do the illustrations extend the story, the characterization, the setting? Do they provide details not present in the text alone?
  • Does the placement of text on the page and/or the physical attributes of the text (such as typeface or size) contribute to the pacing or revelation of story?
  • Is there a natural progression of both art and words from one page to the next?