Top Ten Most Beautifully Illustrated Picture Books by Adriana Fortier
I love reading picture books. They are not long or hard to get through, and have the added bonus of gorgeous illustrations that focus my attention. The best illustrations do not limit your imagination, but give you something to begin with. This list is a collection of picture books with beautiful illustrations that are complimented with good stories.
Home (2015) by Carson Ellis
“Home might be a house in the country, an apartment in the city, or even a shoe. Home may be on the road or the sea, in the realm of myth, or in the artist’s own studio. A meditation on the concept of home.”
Though the writing in this book is simplistic, the illustrations are amazing thanks to Carson Ellis’ indie-folk style. In each page there is a bit of red, which draw the reader’s eye through the flowing, greyish passages.
“You cannot tame something so happily wild.”
The illustrations in this book are light but woven with rich patterns mostly consisting of greens, pinks, yellows and purples. These illustrations help build and embellish the story.
Imelda & The Goblin King (2015) by Briony May Smith
“Far away behind the hills a girl called Imelda lives beside a fairy forest. Every day she ventures into the forest to play with her fairy friends. But within the deepest, darkest depths of the trees lives the worst creature of all—the Goblin King!”
This book is a little bit like a comic with speech bubbles here and there and commonly compared with Enemy Pie. The color palette for this book is playful and vivid with its bright yellows and reds, giving it a fantasy feel.
“There is a river outside my window.Where will it take me?”
A dense and colorful book about a girl’s imaginary journey, floating down a river through different landscapes. The illustrations bring the book to life while still keeping you aware that it’s all imaginary.
Pool (2015) by JiHyeon Lee
“What happens when two shy children meet at a very crowded pool?”
An airy and refreshing wordless book that takes place in a pool with a palette of reds and blues. The illustrations give you just what you need to imagine your own story.
Sonya’s Chickens (2015) by Phoebe Wahl
“Sonya discovers that one of her hens has disappeared. What happened to her? When Sonya discovers the answers, she learns some important truths about the interconnectedness of nature and the true joys and sorrows of caring for another creature.”
This mixed-media book is intricately designed, giving it a dimension that invites readers into this new world and entices them to look around.
Orani: My Father’s Village (2011) by Claire A. Nivola
“As a child, Claire Nivola loved summers in Orani, the village where her father grew up and where her many aunts, uncles, and 50 cousins still lived. She ran freely through the town’s cobbled streets with packs of cousins, who quizzed her about America-”
The bright style of this picture book gives a feeling of life in an island village. You are given pages so full of imagery that you can find something new each time you look at them.
The Dove (1993) by Dianne Stewart, illustrated by Jude Daly
“A visiting dove provides the answer to Grandmother Maloko’s financial problems when floodwaters destroy her crops and she must rely on the sale of her homemade jewelry.”
The water-based media used to illustrate this book create both light and dark backgrounds and contribute to a wonderful atmosphere. Though the paintings are flat, they never lack detail.
Snow-white and the Seven Dwarfs (1972) by Jacob and Willhelm Grimm, illustrated by Nancy E. Burkert
“Retells the tale of the beautiful princess whose lips were red as blood, skin was white as snow, and hair was as black as ebony.”
These illustrations are absolutely stunning. More realistic than most children’s’ books, but still keeping the element of fantasy. These illustrations are very detailed and a beautiful way to bring Snow White to a picture book.
Rechenka’s Eggs (1996) by Patricia Polacco
“Old Babushka, known throughout all of Moskva for her beautifully painted eggs, is preparing her eggs for the Easter Festival when she takes in an injured goose. She names the goose Rechenka, and they live happily together until one day when Rechenka accidentally overturns a basket, breaking all of Babushka’s lovingly crafted eggs.”
These illustrations stand against white backgrounds, allowing the viewer to focus on the main characters and enjoy the foreground details and beautiful patterns.
Adriana Fortier is a 14 year old who probably reads too much. She also plays her violin and ukulele, sings Hamilton, writes, and creates ‘sets’. She lives with her two siblings and parents in Florida.