Picture books are amazing. Yet so underrated- because surely a picture book is just for a child? Nope- if a picture book is done well, then they can e read to a child while laughed at by a parents, while people of all ages can fall in love with the artwork inside.
So here are a few of my favourite picture books, from my own childhood and from more recent discoveries.
How the Library (and not the Prince) Saved Rapunzel
Rapunzel sits on the sixteenth floor of an inner city block, bored, dreaming and looking out at the rain. No one can rouse her from her apathy, not the milkman or the postman or the baker or her aunt or even the prince. But when at last a letter is delivered, it contains news that has Rapunzel on her feet again. She has a new job at the library! And suddenly her life is busy, sparkling, exciting and stimulating. For despite her long hair and her ravishing looks, she loved nothing better than reading good books!?
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find… nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all.
(The Pictures make this book perfect)
Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar
Some rabbits dream about lettuces and carrots, others dream of flowering meadows and juicy dandelions, but Ralfy dreams only of books. In fact, he doesn’t just dream about them, he wants to read them ALL THE TIME. Soon his obsession sends him spiralling into a life of crime!
(The book titles in this book are so clever like you have to look at every page closely)
Can’t you Sleep, Little Bear
It’s bedtime, and Little Bear can’t get to sleep. He’s frightened of the dark, the dark all around, which not even Big Bear’s largest lantern can light up. Big Bear finds a way to show Little Bear that there is no need to be afraid.
(THIS WAS MY FAVOURITE BOOK AS A CHILD OH GOD ITS SO CUTE)
Mog the Forgetful Cat
Mog always seems to be in trouble because she is such a very forgetful cat. She forgets that she has a cat flap and she forgets when she has already eaten her supper. But one night, when an uninvited visitor turns up at the house, Mog’s forgetfulness comes in very handy!
(The entire series is adorable)
Hairy Maclary is looking for some peace and quiet for his afternoon doze. But everywhere he goes he’s followed by an irrepressible yellow duckling, Zachary Quack, who wants to footle and frolic and play. Hairy Maclary keeps trying to skedaddle away only to be followed by the pittery pattery duck.
Richard hears something in his room before bedtime. Is it a monster? He doesn’t wait to find out and sets off running through the streets, over the hills, through the forest, and into the fields until he finds himself in a magical jungle. With the help of his stuffed lion Lionheart, Richard finds the courage he needs to face his fears.
(This book is so beautiful, it came out the a few weeks ago and I think my heart melted when I saw it)
The Dawn Chorus
Peep awakes one morning to the sound of a beautiful song – but where is it coming from?
It’s the Dawn Chorus! And Peep is desperate to sing with them. But no matter how hard he tries, he just can’t make it happen. Little does Peep know, he’s just about to meet someone very special who will show him just how enchanting nightingales like him can be …
At the bottom of Syd’s garden, through the gate and past the tree, is Grandad’s house. Syd can let himself in any time he likes. But one day when Syd comes to call, Grandad isn’t in any of the usual places. He’s in the attic, where he ushers Syd through a door, and the two of them journey to a wild, beautiful island awash in color where Grandad decides he will remain. So Syd hugs Grandad one last time and sets sail for home. Visiting Grandad’s house at the bottom of the garden again, he finds it just the same as it’s always been — except that Grandad isn’t there anymore.
(Not only is this a beautiful book, its a simple and lovely way to teach children about loss and death.)
Not Pictured (but just as good!)
Marmaduke the Very Different Dragon
Marmaduke’s not like all the other dragons – his ears are too big and he never even tries to fly. He just doesn’t fit in, however much he wants to, and so he feels terribly lonely.
And Princess Meg? Well, she wears trainers and breaks into dance at the most inappropriate of times, which means that she sticks out like a sore thumb. She doesn’t really have any friends, but then she’s far too busy having fun to notice … Until one day when Marmaduke and Meg’s lives collide in the most exciting, brilliant and surprising way and they both realise just how much they need each other.
And, who knows, maybe a princess and a dragon will make the most perfect best friends
(I fell in love with this book the first time I picked it up, because it teaches the lesson that just because you are different, doesn’t mean you are bad or useless. Sometimes, being different is perfect)
The Fairytale Hairdresser (entire series)
The entire series is about a hairdresser of fairytale characters as she cuts their hair and goes off on adventures to help (and normally) save them.
The Colour Thief
Zot lives in a world without colour – no green grass, no blue sky, no yellow sun and no red flowers. From his lonely mountaintop, he gazes at Earth, sparkling with brilliant colour, and thinks it must be a very happy place. He sets off to steal some of that happiness for himself …
The Day the Crayons Quit
Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: We quit!
Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown. Blue needs a break from coloring all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other.
What is Duncan to do?