There are many wonderful children’s book with beautiful illustrations, but some books go above and beyond by capturing the imagination and drawing the reader in with an interactive experience.
These are books that my children and I have found to be extra special. My thirteen year old daughter who is “too old for picture books” couldn’t resist taking a peek, and they are sure to inspire interest in even a reluctant reader. They will make excellent gifts because they’ll be favorites to be enjoyed over and over.
Journey by Aaron Becker
A story told through pictures of a girl with a red crayon and a wonderful imagination.
Imagine a Day by Sarah L. Thomson, Paintings by Rob Gonsalves
Amazing illustrations with optical illusions similar to those of M. C. Escher to challenge your imagination. My favorite is the tall bridge that morphs into huge sailing ships on the title page.
Imagine a Night and Imagine a Place, by the same author and illustrator, are filled with creative illustrations as well, but my kids and I agreed that our favorite is Imagine a Day.
Flotsam By David Wiesner
Beautifully detailed illustrations make it easy to understand why this book is a Caldecott Medal winner. Yet, the illustrations also tell a fascinating story without any text. A boy finds an old-fashioned camera washed up on the beach. When he has the film developed, the photos show a magically imaginative world under the ocean, as well as images of the other children who have discovered the camera on beaches around the world.
Chalk by Bill Thompson
With illustrations that look amazingly like photographs, Thompson tells the story of three kids who find a bag of chalk which magically makes what they draw come to life. Things get really exciting when they draw a dinosaur! The illustrations look so real you’ll be looking closer to see if they might be photos or computer generated, but the copyright page states, “Bill Thompson embraced traditional painting techniques and meticulously painted each illustration by hand, using acrylic paint and colored pencils.”
Can You See What I See?: Once Upon a Time by Walter Wick
Each illustration includes a list of everyday objects hidden in a fairy tale themed photo.
We also really like
Can You See What I See?: The Night Before Christmas
Press Here by Henre Tullet
Such a simple book illustrated with primary colors. Yet it harnesses the power of the imagination to create an interactive experience in which the reader feels as though they are causing the pictures to change from one page to the next.
Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg
“Mistakes can create opportunities for creativity” is the wonderful message of this book. This message is expressed through pages with flaps and windows that change tears and drips of paint into creative pictures.
Where’s Waldo?: Deluxe Edition by Martin Handford
One of several Waldo books by Hanford, Where’s Waldo? asks the reader to look for Waldo in each detailed illustration for a fun, interactive adventure.