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Well-designed children’s books are my secret love. Which is surprising as it took having kids to drag me into the children’s book section. Before I snobbishly stayed amongst the literary fiction and sociology shelves. My husband trained as a school teacher and our dates often involved a meander through a bookstore where, inevitably, he was drawn to the children’s section. I was…concerned. What does this mean?, my over thinking it mind whirred. Does this mean he isn’t intelligent? Does this mean he is a kid trapped in an adults body? Is he the type that would unironically wear a Disney Goofy shirt and say things like “scrumdidliumptious”? (The answers are no, yes, and no)
ANYWAYS, when I did finally make it to the children’s section with my own kids, I was absolutely delighted. Kids’ books done well are fanciful and thoughtful and intelligent. Down with my former snobbery! Bring on the Roald Dahl! The Oliver Jeffers! The C.S. Lewis! The Margaret Wise Brown!
I’ve put together a list of books that have beautiful pictures that serve to enhance the great stories.
I’ve already talked about this book, but a list of well-designed children’s books couldn’t not include it, so I’ll list it first and get it over with…
This is officially my baby gift staple. When I stumbled across this gem, I was as excited as when you discover a dress you’ve been considering has pockets (read that- GIDDY). I was so excited, I decided to stock in in the shop for all of you. I know. You. Are. Welcome.
A Sailor Went to Sea Sea Sea: Favourite Rhymes from an Irish Childhood
I justified this purchase as I am American and I need to learn all the Irish nursery rhymes to teach my kids so they aren’t the odd man out when they go to school. Really I bought it as artwork for my newborn’s nursery.
I wrecked a library display to get at this book because the cover design was so great. I’m happy to report the inside is just as eye pleasing. Also, the librarians didn’t mind my nicking it from the display- they agreed it was gorgeous as well, so my library card was not revoked when I left a huge gap in their display. I treated it as a crash course on my new island home and the kids loved reading through it as well.
This is a Curry household favourite. I especially love to bust it out during Lent. Actually, now I think about it, this book is a bit about design itself. Laferton explains the symbolism behind the design of the curtain in the Jewish temple, why it was important, and why when the curtain was torn it meant everything had changed.
This is one of those books where the illustrations do a great job of driving in the point the author is trying to make. It is a series of bite-sized devotionals perfect for 6-9 year olds. I hope Sally-Lloyd Jones and Jago team up for another book as they always knock it out of the park.