Top Ten (ish) Picture Books to Give to Adults – instead of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” again.

by |December 28, 2013

I have received three copies of Oh, The Places You’ll Go in the past two years. It’s read at graduations. It’s the perfect promotion gift. It’s so good that it’s used time and time again. So good that other great picture books sometimes get overlooked.H15671-e1356011194559-780x422

So here at Booktopia we have decide to take a stand. We have compiled a list of books which make the perfect gift for all of your adult friends. Want to celebrate an achievement? Make someone chuckle? Send a not-so-subtle message? There’s something here for everyone…

There’s even a little Dr. Seuss.

*This list originally began as a Top Ten, but there were so many great ones that we had to be a little lenient!

kay-thompson-s-eloise-For the DivaEloise

by Kay Thompson & Hilary Knight

Eloise is a little girl who lives at The Plaza Hotel in New York. She is not yet pretty but she is already a Person.

Henry James would want to study her. Queen Victoria would recognize her as an Equal. The New York Jets would want to have her on “their” side. Lewis Carroll would love her (once he got over the initial shock).

She knows “everything” about The Plaza. She is interested in people when they are not “boring.” She has Inner Resources.

If you take her home with you, you will always be glad you did.

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For the Chronic Dieter – Feathers for Phoebefeathers-for-phoebe

by Rod Clement

Phoebe is small, grey, and ordinary – very ordinary. ‘I want to get noticed!’ she declares.

Zelda is glamorous, talented and famous – and she runs the most popular beauty salon in the forest. And she’s only too happy to help Phoebe become the bird she’s always wanted to be. First a little feather headdress, then wing extensions – until Phoebe is transformed into a Diva.

She looks gorgeous – but when she tries to take off, surprises are in store for them both!

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the-rabbitsFor the Teacher The Rabbits

by John Marsden & Shaun Tan

“The rabbits came many grandparents ago.
They built houses, made roads, had children.
They cut down trees.
A whole continent of rabbits…”

The Rabbits offers a rich and immensely valuable perspective on the effect of man on his environment. Visually loaded and told with a passion for truth and understanding, The Rabbits aims to promote cultural awareness and a sense of caring for the natural world.

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For the Twitter Addict – It’s a Bookit-s-a-book

by Lane Smith


No matter how many electronic devices are available these days, you can’t deny the simple appeal of a good book. Monkey is reading a book, but his friend wants to know what the book can do.

Does it have a mouse like his computer? Can you make the characters fight? And does it make loud noises? No, it’s a book.

Monkey’s friend discovers that a good book doesn’t need fancy electronic accessories.

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the-pink-refrigeratorFor the Couch Potato – The Pink Refrigerator

by Tim Egan

“Try to do as little as possible.” This was Dodsworth’s motto. One morning, on his daily trip to the junkyard, he discovers a pink refrigerator.

There’s not much to say about a pink refrigerator, except this one had a note on it. The note said, “Paint pictures.” And so Dodsworth did.

The next day, a new note appeared on the pink refrigerator. And the day after that, and the day after that.

Dodsworth liked doing as little as possible. But the pink refrigerator had big plans for him . . .

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For the Perfectionist – Ishish

by Peter H. Reynolds

Ramon loved to draw. Anytime. Anything. Anywhere.

Drawing is what Ramon does. Its what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother, Leon, turns Ramon’s carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.”

Combining the spareness of fable with the potency of parable, Peter Reynolds shines a bright beam of light on the need to kindle and tend our creative flames with care.

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george-and-marthaFor the Best Friend – George and Martha

by James Marshall

Great friends aren’t hard to find–they’re right here.

Marshall’s themes are all resonant with a reading-age child–navigating the waters of first friendships, honesty versus kindness, curiosity versus privacy. These are the kind of deeply humorous, deeply true stories that inspire a love of reading.

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For the Friend About to Go Overseas – Where the Wild Things Arewhere-the-wild-things-are

by Maurice Sendak

Max, a wild and naughty boy, is sent to bed without his supper by his exhausted mother. In his room, he imagines sailing far away to a land of Wild Things.

Instead of eating him, the Wild Things make Max their king.

Soon Max tires of this and sails home, only to find his supper, still hot, waiting for him.

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madeline-70th-anniversary-editionFor the Nostalgic- Madeline

Ludwig Bemelman

“In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…”

Something is not right with little Madeline. Her friends are sad when she goes to hospital to have her appendix removed. But they cheer up when they see her impressive scar.

The small but feisty heroine, Madeline, and her charming Parisian world have been loved by children and adults alike for seventy years.

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For the Hipster – All My Friends Are Deadall-my-friends-are-dead

by Avery Monson & Jory John

If you’re a dinosaur, all of your friends are dead. If you’re a pirate, all of your friends have scurvy. If you’re a tree, all of your friends are end tables.

Each page of this laugh-out-loud illustrated humor book showcases the downside of being everything from a clown to a cassette tape to a zombie.

Cute and dark all at once, this hilarious children’s book for adults teaches valuable lessons about life while exploring each cartoon character’s unique grievance and wide-eyed predicament.

From the sock whose only friends have gone missing to the houseplant whose friends are being slowly killed by irresponsible plant owners (like you), All My Friends Are Dead presents a delightful primer for laughing at the inevitable.

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the-gruffaloFor the Entrepreneur – The Gruffalo

by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.

A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.”

Walk further into the deep dark wood, and discover what happens when the quick-thinking mouse comes face to face with an owl, a snake and a hungry gruffalo . . .

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For the One Who Hates Change – Schnitzel Von Krumm’s Basketworkschnitzel-von-krumm-s-basketwork

by Lynley Dodd

Sausage dog, Schnitzel von Krumm, is outraged when his family decides to replace his worn out, beaten up old basket.

The new bed doesn’t look right, feel right – or smell right.

Something must be done.

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For the Politician – The Butter Battle Bookthe-butter-battle-book

by Dr. Seuss

The Butter Battle Book, Dr. Seuss’s classic cautionary tale, introduces readers to the important lesson of respecting differences.

The Yooks and Zooks share a love of buttered bread, but animosity brews between the two groups because they prefer to enjoy the tasty treat differently.

Whether in the home or in the classroom, The Butter Battle Book is a must-have for readers of all ages.

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For the Marxist- The Moose Belongs to Methis-moose-belongs-to-me

by Oliver Jeffers

“Wilfred owned a moose. He hadn’t always owned a moose. The moose came to him a while ago and he knew, just KNEW, that it was meant to be his. He thought he would call him Marcel.”

Most of the time Marcel is very obedient, abiding by the many rules on How to Be a Good Pet.

But one dark day, while deep in the woods, someone else claims the moose as their own…Is Marcel really Wilfred’s pet after all?

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alexander-and-the-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-dayFor the One Who Hates Their Job

by Judith Viorst

Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair.

And it got worse…

His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV!

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  • Del Chessell

    December 30, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    For anyone with a sense of humour: ‘Library Lion’ by Michelle Knudsen.

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