Turning the Page

Children’s Picture Books Face a Decline

What would Dr. Seuss say? Bookstores and publishers all over are noticing the sad decline of the children’s picture book, its bright colors and cheerful covers pushed aside to make room for the ever-burgeoning young-adult section, brimming over with dark-hued Twilight books. The reason? In an effort to help their young children advance, parents are pushing them toward (relatively) weightier texts like Stuart Little, say publishers, though their logic may not always be sound. “To some degree, picture books force an analog way of thinking” that’s not there in other types of books, said Karen Lotz of Massachusetts’ Candlewick Press. “From picture to picture, as the reader interacts with the book, their imagination is filling in the missing themes.” In addition, picture books tend to be pricier both to produce and purchase, further inhibiting sales.