How to: Create A Bespoke Picture Book

bookLittle Mister and I have been basically homebound this past week with an incredibly lingering case of the sniffles. As a result we haven’t been able to get to our local library for fear of spreading the infection so a lot of our own books have been getting high rotation at the moment. During this I’ve discovered that Little Mister (14 months) could recognise and point out a bunch of words in a cartoon picture book, however when presented with a real life picture of the same thing he didn’t quite connect the two. Hmm, if only we had a book with real pictures I thought.

Aha! Why don’t I make one?!

With that in mind when we began to feel a bit better I headed to our local shopping centre and tracked down as many magazines, brochures and catalogues as possible. We asked the travel agencies for old out of date brochures which they supplied us with more than I expected! We grabbed clothes, grocery and department store catalogues and then selected a wide variety of pictures to cut out. If you have an older child, you could also ask them to help with some of the cutting to help develop their dexterity skills.

I then cut an A4 piece of paper in half and arranged the pictures to my liking before gluing them to the page and then laminating the pages. I then used a hole punch to create holes to bind the pages together with string, although I’m thinking I may try to find a shower curtain loop to allow the pages to turn easily but still be able to add pages as we create them. Really there is no right or wrong way to do this. I did it this way because this is what I had on hand. In the past I’ve simply glued pictures to card (reverse side of cereal boxes) but they got ripped off by Little Mister so I decided laminating them would help the longevity and also give it some of the desired stiffness. One thing to keep in mind if you want to keep a bit of continuity to the book keep in mind what you are putting on the back of each page. So for example at the moment I have the 1st page is clothes, 2nd and 3rd is animals, 4th is fruit. This allows me to add an extra double sided page of animals between page 2 and 3 and keep a nice continuity, rather than beginning with a double sided page of animals.

The brilliance with this idea is just how many variants you can make of it. You could create 1-2 pages of family members, or you could create an entire book for family members, allowing room to detail some facts or features about them (such as ‘This is daddy, he has short blonde hair’ etc) allowing the  books to be created tailoring to the child’s developmental level and also interest. A few other suggestions are

  • Animals (grouped by location, noise, similarity, etc)
  • Clothes
  • Routines (bedtime routines, cleaning routines etc)
  • Weather and Seasons
  • Anatomy
  • Transport
  • Colours
  • To familiarise possibly scary or anxiety-laden things (Dentists, School, Hospitals etc)
  • Cultural experiences
  • Locations (underwater, Desert, Rainforest, City, etc)
  • Art pieces (famous or even those created by your own master artist)
  • You could get creative and create a story featuring your little one with photographs and some creativity. Your little one may even help create the storyline.

You could find images from catalogues, brochures, leaflets, newspapers, photographs, or if you have access to one you could also print pictures from online.

Because I already had all the required implements for creating this it literally cost me nothing but time to make. Little Mister has taken quite the shining to it and we’ve had fun beginning to associate real life pictures with the cartoon ones.

Have you created a book like this in the past?

What was the theme? How did your little one react?


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