In this essay I intend to look at why so many childrens books are illustrated and what makes them so enjoyable and increasingly popular. Approxamatly 5,000 childrens books are published annually, having increased significantly over the past two decades. In this essay I want to find out what qualities make the most memorable childrens book. In modern illustrated childrens books illustrations range from brightly coloured child-like doodly drawings to beautiful water-colour paintings, so I will look at both of these. When discussing these illustrations I want to find how the artist works with the text to bring the story to life and what techniques they use to do this. I also want to examine what makes these particular books and illustrations appealing and memorable to children.
Before the 18th century there was no seperate catogory for childrens books in western Europe. The first printed books available to children where, The Bible, Stories of Saints and Martyrs, or books about exotic animals. The woodcut illustrations of these early books would be intreging even to those unable to read the text. In these books would be stories about punishment to bad boys and girls to force them to behave. All humour and imagination was band! The first european school book was by Johann Amos Comenius (1592-1670). It would be layed out so that the illustration would be at the top half of the page and the text would be beneath it. It would always be layed out in this simple format. Adults and children would learn from it, children using the illustratons and adults learning from the text.
Children where always drawn to illustrated books because of the usual thrilling and gory woodcuts of Martyrs and their tormentors, Such as in ,'Foxes book of Martyrs'(1563). Many older illustrations have influenced us today. 'The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe'(1719), The image of the lone horoe fighting to survive in a strange land can be seen as a fore-runner of todays science fiction adventures.