Tag Archives: picture book month

picture book gift guide for grownups

By now you probably know I’m a believer that many of the best picture books are for all ages, every age, 4 and 12 and 20 and 47 and 82. With that in mind, I give you picture book gift suggestions (holiday or otherwise!) for the grownups in your life.

Quick definition of a picture book in this case: a book with pictures, whether originally aimed at children or adults (or both).


So here you go! 25 picture books to gift adults!



I saw peacock_LRspread3

I SAW A PEACOCK WITH A FIERY TAIL, illustrated by Ramsingh Urveti (Tara Books 2012).





THE THREE ASTRONAUTS by Umberto Eco, illustrated by Eugenio Carmi, translated by William Weaver (1989).





ALOHA TO ZEN: The Art of Living and Surfing on Earth by Fern Levack.





THIS IS PARIS by M. Sasek (1959;2004).





PEOPLE by Blexbolex (Enchanted Lion Books, 2011).




THE MEMORY OF AN ELEPHANT by Sophie Strady, illustrated by Jean-Francois Martin (Chronicle Books, 2014).

p.s. I blogged it here.





THE WHERE, THE WHY, AND THE HOW (Chronicle Books, 2012).




THE SOUND OF THINGS by William Wondriska (1955).





THE LITTLE WORLD OF LIZ CLIMO (Running Press, 2014).






AMAZING BABES by Eliza Sarlos, drawings by Grace Lee (Scribe Publications, 2013).

p.s. I blogged it here.





CREATURE by Andrew Zuckerman (Chronicle Books, 2007).





SHOES, SHOES, SHOES: The Autobiography of Alice B. Shoe by Andy Warhol (1997).





THE MIGHTY LALOUCHE  by Matthew Olshan and Sophie Blackall (Random House, 2013).




13 WORDS by Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman (Harper Collins, 2010).





JOSEPHINE by Patricia Hruby Powell, pictures by Christian Robinson (Chronicle Books, 2014).

p.s. I blogged it here.




THE TREE HOUSE  by Marije Tolman & Ronald Tolman (Lemniscaat 2010).

p.s. I blogged it here.





WHATEVER YOU ARE, BE A GOOD ONE, hand lettered quotes by Lisa Congdon (Chronicle Books, 2014).






SHACKLETON’S JOURNEY by William Grill (Flying Eye Books, 2014).

p.s. I blogged it here.





HOUSE HELD UP BY TREES by Ted Kooser, illustrated by Jon Klassen (Candlewick, 2012).

p.s. It’s one of my favorite picture book covers.





EERIE DEARIES by Rebecca Chaperon (Simply Read Books, 2014).

p.s. I blogged it here.




Silencio Anne Herbauts 009

PRINCE SILENCIO by Anne Herbauts (Enchanted Lion Books, 2006).



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THE HEART AND THE BOTTLE by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel, 2010).





BIG WOLF & LITTLE WOLF by Nadine Brun-Cosme and Olivier Tallec (Enchanted Lion Books, 2009).




LOST IN TRANSLATION: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World by Ella Frances Sanders (Random House, 2014).





HUMANDS by Mario Mariotti (1982.)

p.s. I blogged it here.


Let me know in the comments if you have any more suggestions or have picked one of these to give!



lucky by david mackintosh + pineapples (+ screenprint giveaway!)

by David Mackintosh (2014).


Thanksgiving is around the corner and we’re thinking about two things for the holiday: food and feeling thankful to have what we already have. Perhaps rephrased as feeling lucky about what’s in our lives. Now. This picture book has something to do with that.


Lucky promises to answer the question posed at the beginning. What is Mom going to surprise these two brothers with at dinnertime? What could it be? (Do note that pineapple in the bowl of fruit on the very first page as it comes into play.)




The narrator and his little brother, Leo, come up with plenty of possibilities during their day at school, each more exciting (implausible?) than the last.




Their final hypothesis is the best of all, gently gleaned from a magazine they’re reading in the Nurse’s office. I love the way the power of suggestion works in this book. And the magnitude of jumping to conclusions.


The boys are CONVINCED they’ve won a two week all expenses paid trip to HAWAII, land of volcanoes and grass skirts and fruit. We should all be so LUCKY, no?




They’re wrong. Of course they’re wrong. And there’s disappointment pre-dinner table.




But not for long. Because, in the non-cheesiest way, Mackintosh shows us what the narrator has to be thankful for. He figures out for himself why he’s quite lucky. Already, without the trip to Hawaii.

He’s lucky in the little things and even in that little brother Leo of his.







Mackintosh’s illustrative style is so recognizable. There’s a retro quality. There are real photographs thrown in. And sometimes scribbles. Type that perfectly narrates the visual story in its white spaces. All with a whole lot of playfulness.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

David was kind enough to send me a limited edition screenprint to give away to one of you LUCKY readers! And it’s signed! Enter with the Rafflecopter above! (And see the printing process here.)
I’ll contact the randomly chosen winner by email for your mailing address.


(Open to N. America only—sorry about that far-flung international readers! Giveaway ends Monday, November 24. Good luck!)



Thanks to David Mackintosh for images! 


So, pineapples! For anyone dreaming of going to Hawaii for two weeks (expenses paid-hooray!), here are some pineapples instead. The shape, the color, there’s so much bright and happy about a pineapple. They look like they symbolize bounty, no?


Coco Cake Land’s cool-guy pineapple cake! (Stay tuned for a collaboration we’re doing together later this week!)




Studio DIY’s obsession with pineapple produced this pineapple piñata!




Now That’s Pretty made her pineapple lamp out of plastic spoons!




Oh, and It’s Mine Now Blog’s pineapple potato stamp too!




Free, printable black and white pineapple wrapping paper at Whimsey Box.




I love Peachy Vida’s idea of a pineapple flower vase. Out of the box Thanksgiving centerpiece anyone?





kamishibai man + microscope toy theater in L.A.

kamishibai_man_allen_sayKamishibai Man by Allen Say.


First, we need to know what kamishibai is. “Paper theater” in Japanese, it’s an ancient storytelling practice using storyboards/picture cards. One by one, the storyteller pulls a picture card away to reveal the next moment of the story. (Remind anyone else of reading a picture book at story time?)


Considered a precursor to manga and anime, in some form it dates back to the 12th century. It was most prevalent in the 20th century before the popularity of television.


In the foreword,  Allen Say remembers:


“Every afternoon, the kamishibai man came on a bicycle that had a big wooden box mounted on the back seat. The box had drawers full of candies and a stage at the top. We bought candies and listened to the man’s stories.”


Allen Say’s character, Kamishibai Man, is one of those.


Like most of Say’s work there’s a feeling of nostalgia in this book. A fond look back at the past along with a pang of sadness for what’s now gone. As always, Say teaches us history and culture along with how to be kind.




The book focuses on an old man who used to tell Kamishibai stories. One day, he decides to return to the city again after all this time, but it’s not how it used to be. There are no more trees and lots of shops and buildings.



Say seamlessly transitions from the present day to the past, the man growing young again and telling stories to children from his bicycle stage years ago.


kamishibai-man-4When we look up again from his tale, we’re back to today and there’s a crowd of people around Kamishibai Man, grownups who are the very same children who used to buy his wife’s candies and listen to his stories.



They’re thrilled to see him again!







I was fortunate enough to catch a kamishibai-style performance in Los Angeles over the weekend. And if you live in the area, there’s one more this weekend as well!

Microscope Toy Theater takes on this tradition of “paper theater” with Yulya Dukhovny performing “Star in a Glass Jar” at Automata (that’s one of my very favorite theaters in L.A. and known for experimental puppetry).

The show is a beauty to behold. Gentle, patient, gorgeous, and even funny. It’s a Christmas story of a girl—and her sweet, wise dog—who lives in the far North and who needs something for her holiday tree. She sends a letter: “to whom it may concern.”

That letter ends up in a fishing village in Japan, in the hands of a little boy.

The performance was mesmerizing as each new paper that slid from the theater frame revealed another one, just as captivating as the last.




For tickets and info about performances November 15h and 16th, click here.



moonday + the moon in your room

moondayMoonday by Adam Rex.


A STORY story. A luminous tale. It’s daytime, but there’s a moon. It’s Moonday.



One evening, the moon lowers itself into a family’s backyard. The sun doesn’t rise the next day and the whole town is in darkness. And sleepy.



It’s a perfect scenario for a child who likes to wonder, what would happen if…?



moonday_moon(Click image(s) to enlarge.)

My favorite spreads are the ones with that bright, glowing, realistic Adam Rex moon.

When it arrives, the little girl immediately wants to crawl around on the moon. Of course she does!


“It was chalky and cold.”



I love how there’s a punk band who can only manage lullabies in the darkness of Moonday.



And I love the parents in this book. They don’t panic. They’re not afraid. (Though the mother “could do without the dogs”—the ones barking at the bright orb in her backyard).

The mother and father listen to their child. They let her climb around that moon. And they listen when she suggests taking that moon for a drive. The drive that gets the moon back to where it’s supposed to go. And stay. And be. While we go to sleep to wake up to the sun.


Thanks to Adam Rex for images!






Moons! In your room! We recently added a giant full moon sticker above our bed. And it’s marvelous. (Muffin the cat likes it too.)

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 7.40.57 PMYou can find that sticker at i3 museum if you scroll down on the page. But they have many more moon goodies too, including the same sticker that glows in the dark! Check out all the moon decor.


glowinthedarkmoonGlow in the dark Clare de Lune wall sticker.


bluemoonwaltzrugBlue Moon Waltz rug.


mooncushionNocturn by Moonlight pillow.




And if you want less of a moon commitment, there’s always this nightlight that’s under ten dollars and smaller than five inches.


To the moon!





here come the girl scouts + merry merit badges




Here Come the Girl Scouts by Shana Corey, illustrated by Hadley Hooper.  I’ve confessed my admiration for Shana Corey’s historical women power books before. (Remember how I dressed up like Amelia Bloomer?) This more recent one from 2012 is truly golden too.


It’s the story of Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Law. When she was a girl she had gumption. Like Amelia Bloomer, she wasn’t proper at all. She was adventurous! One of her later adventures was forming the Girl Scouts (modeled after the Boy Scouts in England). She held the first meeting in  Savannah, Georgia in 1912.




The Girl Scouts bridged social class divides. They followed the ten Girl Scouts laws. They camped. They sang. They planted trees. They learned skills. They earned badges. (See what current badges look like here.)



“Every time you show your courage it grows.”




They made a difference. They grew up. They still do. While I was sadly never a Girl Scout myself, this book made me proud anyway. Proud of Daisy Gordon Law. And proud of Girl Scouts.

“You will not have any luck unless you try hard.”







I’m thinking my holiday gifts this year will be merit badges. Heartfelt, funny, honoring, and easily accessorized. Also, they’re merit badges!


I’ve been eyeing the array of merit patches at Disorderly Goods for some time. I mean, “recognition for grow-up feats”? Can I get a whoop?





Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 3.21.33 PM1.) dopamine patch: for believing in love; 2.) surrealist patch: for thinking outside the suit; 3.) big dipper patch: for dreaming big.


Then there are the four honor badges at Best Made Company, awarded for one of four virtues: courage, compassion, grace, and fortitude.






Buy Olympia has a selection of patches too and they’re a hoot. Perfect to celebrate someone’s special quirks.



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And this one from Be Proud on etsy feels near and dear to me. “You’ve earned this merit badge in honour of your special knack for getting back on the horse.” That’s one of my special knacks! Maybe there’s one in the mix of merit badges there that feels near and dear to you or someone you know too.




Finally, if you’re feeling crafty,  Julie Schneider on the etsy blog gives these embroidery directions for making your own custom merit badges. So good!