Don't forget children's picture books when you are looking for a special book for an adult. Here are a variety of children's picture books that I would recommend. Check out the children's picture book section of your local bookstore and find a special children's picture book to give as a gift to an adult.
In 1999, a new edition of this Caldecott Honor Book, which was illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, was published by Holiday House, Inc. Pulitzer Prize winning writer John Updike is the author of this children's picture book of poetry, which follows the calendar year. "A Child's Calendar" celebrates every day family activities. For adults whose children are grown, it's a nice reminder of past years, and for those with very young children, it's a nice preview of what's to come.
This version of Charles Perrault's "Cinderella" takes on a whole new tone because of Roberto Innocenti's amazing illustrations. Set in 1920s London, the illustrations are filled with period details and set a mood of ennui and cynicism. This children's picture book actually seems more suited to an adult than a child. Adults will particularly appreciate how words can take on new meaning because of exceptional illustrations. Innocenti's "Cinderella" was published in 2000 by Creative Editions.
The artistry in Ed Young's "Beyond the Great Mountains: A Visual Poem About China" is evident throughout the book. The book's unusual vertical design, with pages of varying lengths, allows the reader to move through the words and striking paper-collage artwork in an unforgettable manner. Each page also features related Chinese characters. At the end of this children's book is an author's note and a page about Chinese characters past and present. (Chronicle Books, 2005. ISBN: 0811843432)
This special collection, edited by Peter Glassman, features 30 well known children's artists and illustrators and their interpretations or memories of the Oz books. Maurice Sendak, Leo and Diane Dillon, Madeline L'Engle, and Lloyd Alexander are among those included. The children's picture book was published in honor of the 100th anniversary of the publication of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." It includes cover art and a list of titles of all of the OZ books in The Books of Wonder series.
David Wiesner's take on the traditional tale of the three little pigs is a riot. It is also great for motivating employees to look at things from a different perspective, to go outside for help if needed, and to get creative within the parameters of a project. I am not saying that Wiesner is making those points. I am saying that you can use "The Three Pigs" to make those points and have a heck of a good time in the process. (Houghton Mifflin, 2001. ISBN: 0618007016)
This oversized children's picture book is beautiful. Helen Ward has illustrated twelve of Aesop's fables with exquisite watercolor and ink paintings. Each fable is introduced with an illustration on two facing pages that prepares the reader for the story to come. The tales themselves, a combination of little and well-known fables, the artwork, the size of the book, and the quality of the paper all add to its appeal. (Chronicle Books, 2004. ISBN: 0811844501)
D.B. Johnson uses a quotation from Henry David Thoreau as the basis for the plot. The lively artwork and seeing Thoreau and his friend portrayed as bears, who dress and behave as if they were human, adds to the enjoyment. Thoreau stressed the importance of simplicity rather than material goods. The story centers on a trip to Fitchburg. This children's picture book would make a good gift for someone that you want to gently remind to slow down and "stop and smell the roses."
Adults will appreciate this new children's picture book of poet Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales." It features vibrant torn-paper illustrations by Caldecott Honor artist Chris Raschka. Through his artwork, Raschka responds to the rhythm and grace of Thomas' words in a way that illuminates the text for readers. This prose piece by poet Dylan Thomas remains beloved by families. For many families, reading Dylan's piece is a Christmas tradition. (Candlewick Press, 2004. ISBN: 0763621617)