What do you look for in a Children’s Book?

Classic Kid's book - The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Classic Kid’s book – The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I’m looking to start reviewing children’s picture books, partly for fun and partly for market research. I’d like to know what kind of things people go for in picture books so I can talk about them in my reviews.

For my own books, I wanted to create something that was exciting and lively. Too many times I’ve read picture books that bored me. Where’s the surprise? The danger? Just because you’re writing for children doesn’t mean it has to be boring!

I love a book with little extra bits that add value to the experience. For me, I didn’t set out to design my book to be educational. I wanted to create realistic images, using real plants and animals native to my locale. Only then did the idea occur to me to have an index in the back of the book with the names of the plants and creatures that I used so children could look through the book and try to spot them, and in turn, learn a little bit about wildlife. It gives the purchaser a little extra value for money.

I wanted to create a children’s book that:

  • Adults would enjoy reading to their children.
  • Provided an exciting experience for children.
  • Had some kind of positive message.
  • Was a little bit educational.
  • Had inspiring pictures.
  • But most of all – a great story that’s fun to read!

What I would like to know is, when you buy a children’s book what do you look for?

Do you go for:

  • What’s popular.
  • What looks nice.
  • What is recommended.
  • What you already know.
  • Famous brands (like Disney.)
  • If it’s educational.
  • What your child is interested in.
  • Value for money.
  • Or anything else!

I’d love to know your thoughts and opinions on children’s literature. What do you find your children respond to best, and what kind of books do you want your children reading?

Thanks for reading and any comments you might have.