You all know that I love a picture book. I have a whole blog you can scroll through for evidence! But some picture books I have read recen...

Picture Books for Grown Ups

Monday, November 20, 2017 BookBairn 12 Comments

You all know that I love a picture book. I have a whole blog you can scroll through for evidence! But some picture books I have read recently really appeal to me as an adult. Not just a parent reading to a child. But there's a little something extra in them that makes them appeal to me. They are still a great read for children but there's added parent-appeal so I thought I'd collate a special blog post on picture books for grown ups. (I wrote a similar guest post in the past which you can find here.)

Franklin's Flying Bookshop - Jen Campbell & Katie Hartnett

What would you do if you came across a dragon in the street? I reckon I'd be a bit frightened and probably run off like many of the characters in the book. But not firey-haired Luna. She befriends Franklin, the dragon, only to learn that he is an avid-reader. Just like her. And together they set off on an adventure to create a 'flying bookshop' between Franklin's wings. And together they conquer the fears of the many and prove that you can't judge a book by it's cover, and neither a dragon by it's ability to breathe fire. This is a magical story that both grown ups and children will adore. With fairytale quality and lyrical text, you can't help but get swept up in this story. Luna and Franklin are characters that will enter your hearts! And the illustrations are equally beautiful. This, quite frankly, is the perfect book for me. It's enchanting story, magical illustrations and it's about friendship and books.
(Also if you hunt carefully in bookshops, primarily independent bookshops, and you find Franklin, you get a free goody bag. Check out the hashtag #findfranklin on Twitter to find out more. Needless to say I took BookBairn on a hunt and we were delighted with our goodies!)

Mary Poppins Up, Up and Away - Helene Druvert

This is a beautifully crafted homage to the much-loved character of Mary Poppins that will enchant and mystify as much as the lady herself. Each page is designed to capture on the significant moments from the series of books with delightful drawings accompanied by intricate and captivating lasercuts. Mary Poppins drops into Cherry Tree Lane of visit Jane and Michael Banks to share yet more adventures and explore London's great sites. It is as much an homage to the city as it is to the stories of Mary Poppins and the Banks children. Entirely in black, white and grey, with short snippets of rhyming couplets to enhance the storytelling, this book will delight fans of the series! 
Also, to Santa: Helene Druvert has a second book - 'Paris Up, Up and Away' if you would like to pop one in my stocking it would be wonderful!

The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse - Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen

When I first read this book I couldn't quite believe that this dark and macabre and hilarious tale was a picture book! I decided not to buy it for BookBairn because I felt she was too little to get the subtleties of the story of a mouse and a duck who are swallowed by a wolf. And how they make themselves a happy little home within the stomach of the wolf. And they host dinner parties and dancing. But then a hunter appears to threaten them all. And I won't spoil the ending but it's absolutely perfect. And not what you would expect from a children's book. This story made me laugh and laugh. So I went back to buy it for myself. The illustrations are typical of Jon Klassen - beautiful, detailed, dark and hilarious - and bring to life the text which is quite simply delicious reading. I adore this tale. Another book with fairy-tale qualities that made it irresistible to me. But I won't be reading it to BookBairn until she is a little older.

The Fir Tree (Hans Christian Andersen), The Nutcracker (ETE Hoffmann), The Snow Queen (Hans Christian Andersen) - Sanna Annukka

Now this series of books really do make great Christmas gifts. Last year, Daddy BookBairn gave me two and I kindly picked up the latest one (The Nutcracker) for him to give me this year. These really are designed with adults in mind, and are far more text-heavy than your typical picture book but they are also beautifully illustrated. They all retell the traditional stories that you may be familiar with and are accompanied by the spectacular graphic designs of Sanna Annukka. They really bring to life the magic of the original stories. 

Under the Love Umbrella - Davina Bell & Allison Colpoys

This book is quite simply a celebration of the joy and comfort that love can bring. And of course that's not simple feat to achieve in a short picture book. And yet this book does all that and more. It captures the everlasting, all-reaching, breadth and depth of love. For children knowing that they are loved no matter where they are, what they do helps them to grow and learn to be independent. And for parents that's one of the most important things that you want for your child: for them to know that you will always love them. Always and everywhere. Not only does this book help parents share this message and children believe it, it is a beautiful book. Each word chosen so carefully. And each brushstroke, colour choice has been given equal consideration. Of the books I've included here this is definitely one that I can share with BookBairn but I share it with her as much for myself. Because this is a picture book for grown ups too!

I hope you enjoyed reading about these books that might appeal to you more than your usual picture book bedtime stories. If you are looking for a book that you won't mind reading over and over again, that will appeal to you, as the reader, then I hope you have found something here to make repeat reading more interesting. And if you know a grown-up picture book fan I hope you might have found a book for their stocking.

Happy reading,
Mummy - self-confessed picture book fanatic and proud of it. 
After all picture books are for grown ups too! x

Disclaimer: I requested some of the books from the publisher for review and were kindly sent copies. The rest I bought myself because I couldn't resist them.


  1. Great blog, MummyBookBairn. I look forward to thumbing through these fab picture books and reading them to BookBairn and the Wee Pageturner.

  2. I loved Franklin's Flying Bookshop when I found it on the favourites shelf last weekend. My own favourite would be The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

    1. I would love to borrow that to read again if you don't mind?

  3. I think I NEED the Mary Poppins one, such a gorgeous selection of books. Thank you for sharing with #readwithme

  4. Gorgeous!! I think I may have to buy a few of these! #readwithme

  5. Wow these are stunning! I especially love the Mary Poppins book, such artistry! (And your disclaimer made me chuckle!)

    1. Thanks! I just want to be clear that these books are awesome!!

  6. Gorgeous selection, the Mary Poppins one looks amazing. My favourite picture books as an adult have to be Tim Hopgood's books to we'll known songs, hoping to get a copy of Singing in the Rain soon. #readwithme