Reading to children is one of life’s absolute pleasures. Seeing a child discover a book or idea for the first time is amazing, and the benefits for their emotional and academic development are well documented. But sometimes kids develop a fascination with a particular book, and having to read the same book a hundred times a day can make it lose its appeal somewhat.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with a list of some of our favourite picture books that are just as entertaining for adults as for children, and can stand up to all those repetitions.
Take all Oliver Jeffers’ books – they’re clever and imaginative, and The Day the Crayons Quit is no exception. Duncan wants to colour in, but his crayons have left letters saying they’ve all quit. Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown, Blue needs a break from colouring in all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Absolutely brilliant.
The Lost Thing is a treat for kids and adults alike. When a boy finds a lost ‘thing’ on the beach and tries to find it’s home, but nobody else seems to notice. As always with Shaun Tan, it is not only about the words, but also the pictures – much of the humour comes from the images defying expectation.
First published in 1992, Window remains a classic. A mother and baby look through the window at the wilderness and watch it change over the years. The book is actually made of intricately created collages by Jeannie Baker, and each page is a work of art.
Funny and clever, This is a Ball turns the traditional notion of storytelling on its head. Everything you read in this book will be wrong, and kids will have an absolute ball (see what we did there?) correcting you. Definitely encourages kids to think outside the box!
The Adventures of Beekle is the story of an imaginary friend that waits to be chosen. However, when he keeps getting overlooked, he decides to set off on a journey to the city to find his perfect match. An absolutely gorgeous book.
Pig the Pug is the greediest pug in the world, and isn’t that friendly either. When he’s asked to share his toys, he is not overly impressed… this is a hilariously illustrated book, and also teaches children about sharing as well. This version of the book also comes with a pig the pug toy.
Farmer Brown has a problem in Click, Clack, Moo – his cows like to type, and all he hears all day is click, clack, moo. But the problem really begins when they start leaving notes about what they want (electric blankets mostly), and then they go on strike. Superb.
Originally published in 1963, Where the Wild Things Are has been delighting children (and adults) for years. When Max is sent to bed for behaving like a Wild Thing, his bedroom turns into the Land Where the Wild Things are and he becomes the king. Let the wild rumpus begin!
Jon Klassen first book I Want My Hat Back is a quirky take on a classic tale. A bear has lost his hat and patiently asks all the other animals where he can find it. Kids of all ages will be thrilled to be in on the joke that is cleverly played out with visual humour.
A personal favourite, Animalia will keep kids and adults entertained for hours. Each page is devoted to a letter of the alphabet – alliterative statements, a boy to find and all the illustrations on the page begin with the same letter, this is a masterpiece of a book.