CITATION: “© [lordn] / Adobe Stock”
When we’re young, we may not necessarily remember books based on their words. However, we’re certain to remember them for their illustrations. We recognize five of the most beautifully illustrated children’s books available today.
A House That Once Was
Author: Julie Fogliano; Illustrator: Lane Smith
A New York Times Best Illustrated Book and a Boston Globe Best Children’s Book of 2018, A House That Once Was tells a playful story. A boy and a girl explore an abandoned house and, using clues, discover who might have lived there previously. Smith illustrates the book using a wide range of media, including ink and paint. This book is a must-read for curious, imaginative souls who love art, adventure, and language.
Author and Illustrator: Anna Walker
Inspired by Parisian greenery and streets, Florette offers a powerful message to young children—adapting to a new place takes time. When Mae’s family first moves from the countryside to the city, she feels sad knowing she has left her garden behind. However, after discovering a city park and a florist’s shop window, Mae soon realizes that there may be room for her garden after all.
The thoughtful watercolor illustrations effectively capture nature’s beauty. Children (and even adults) will enjoy the detailed birds and animals that appear throughout the story. Florette is a 2018 New York Times and New York Public Library Best Illustrated Picture Book. It’s also a 2018 Boston Globe Best Children’s Book of the Year.
The Rainbow Fish
Author and Illustrator: Marcus Pfister
Although this children’s book is over 20 years old, it’s an adored classic. The Rainbow Fish acknowledges individuality and teaches children to embrace their quirks. Additionally, the book conveys putting others before ourselves; the Rainbow Fish shared his special scales with the rest of the fish, feeling happier with each one that he would give away.
The cool-colored illustrations are soothing, and the fish’s iridescent foil scales keep kids’ attention. The Rainbow Fish is an international best-seller.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Author and Illustrator: Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar features, well, a very hungry caterpillar. The book teaches children about counting, the days of the week, and metamorphosis.
While originally published in the late 60s, Carle’s art is recognizable by people of all ages. Plus, not only is the book loved for its vivid pictures, but also for its interactive die cuts. It’s also easy for children to replicate the pages’ collage illustrations. Distributors have sold millions of copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar all over the world as it remains one of the most beautifully illustrated children’s books of our time.
Where the Wild Things Are
Author and Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
After disrupting his household, young Max’s parents send him to his room without supper. He’s suddenly transported to a jungle and decides to sail to an island occupied by large beasts. The “Wild Things” crown him as their king; however, after a while, Max becomes lonely. He agrees to return home, where a hot meal is waiting for him.
Although the book is over 50 years old, the colorful, detailed illustrations of Where the Wild Things Are makes it a childhood favorite.