'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Tania's Picks: Gorgeous Picture Books for Christmas


I've had a busy year obsessing over picture books (nothing new there!) and I'm delighted to share with you some treasured finds that I've added to my collection in the last few weeks. Any of these books would make fabulous Christmas gifts for kids or adults.

Hold onto your hearts.


ABOVE: Charley Harper: An Illustrated Mini Edition by Todd Oldham, AMMO, $59.95
Charley Harper was an American original. For more than six decades he painted colorful and graphic illustrations of nature, animals, insects and people alike, from his home studio in Cincinnati, Ohio, until he passed away in 2007, at the age of 84. Renowned New York-based designer Todd Oldham rediscovered Charley's work in 2001, and collaborated closely with him in the ensuing years; combing through his extensive archive to edit and design this stunning monograph. This new "mini" edition is a popularly priced, beautiful tribute to Charley Harper's singular style, which he referred to as Minimal Realism.


Colours by Alain Gree, Button Books, $25.95
This is a new title in bestselling series from world-renowned illustrator Alain Gree. It teaches children to recognise a range of colours with the help of stunning vintage illustrations. Reverse of jacket is a wall poster illustrated with images of the book. It is suitable for children aged 2-5 years. Alain Gree's beautiful illustrations from the 1960s and 70s are known throughout the world. With their naivety of form and bold use of colour, their charm is undeniable. Aimed at children aged 2 to 5 years, Colours is a beautiful arlin-covered hardback with embossed artwork and jacket.


Please, Open This Book! by Adan Lehrhaupt and Matthew Forsythe, Simon + Schuster, $24.99
They told you, but you just couldn't listen-so the creators of Warning: Do Not Open This Book! are back with a zany monkey crew, and they need your help! In Warning, Do Not Open This Book!, which School Library Journal called "more fun than a barrel of monkeys," turning pages meant increased chaos and delight. Now the tables have turned, and opening the book is the only way to save the group of monkeys who are trapped between its pages. This irresistibly entertaining rescue effort puts power in the hands of the page-turner, and giggles into everyone!

Farewell, Floppy by Benjamin Chaud, Chronicle, $29.95
It was the perfect plan: abandon pet rabbit Floppy in the woods and take a giant leap toward adulthood. Having a bunny that moonlights as a best friend is for babies, right? It's better to cut a pet loose, make new human friends and not be so dependent on a floppy-eared fur ball bent on chewing electrical cords, right? If saying good-bye to Floppy is required to grow up, why does life without Floppy seem so wrong? From Benjamin Chaud, the critically acclaimed author/illustrator of The Bear's Song and The Bear's Sea Escape, comes this unforgettable, thought-provoking picture book about the power of unlikely friendships.

Alphabetics by Patrick and Traci Concepcion, Die Gestalten Verlag, $33.95
From Atticus, the altruistic astronaut, to Zooey, the zonked zombie, this book revamps the ABCs. C is for Cat? D is for dog? Not in this book! Here, Colossal Cornelius captures his companions with his camera and Daisy the diver dares a death-defying dip with dinosaurs. In Alphabetics, each of the alphabet's twenty-six letters is depicted with an awesome alliteration--not to mention an illuminating illustration--that will captivate and stimulate young minds. Although the lettered tales are meant to be humorous and fun, they also serve a commendable purpose. Complex words are introduced to expand children's vocabularies and linguistic horizons. The book includes a glossary so that readers can look up any terms that are unfamiliar to them.

Coco Chanel by Zena Alkayat and Nina Cosford, Frances Lincoln, $19.99
This beautifully illustrated biography follows Coco Chanel's exceptional life and work, and celebrates the fashion icon's immense legacy. Chanel lived a remarkable life, growing up as an orphan in a French convent, opening her own fashion house and embarking on several life-changing love affairs. This artist's take on her life continues the popular Life Portraits series, which celebrates the lives of iconic women. Coco Chanel follows on from equally evocative illustrated biographies of twentieth-century literary giant Virginia Woolf, and one of literature's most loved authors, Jane Austen.

This is Sadie by Sara O'Leary and Julie Morstad, Tundra, $32.99
Sadie is a little girl with a big imagination. She has been a girl who lived under the sea and a boy raised by wolves. She has had adventures in wonderland and visited the world of fairytales. She whispers to the dresses in her closet and talks to birds in the treetops. She has wings that take her anywhere she wants to go, but that always bring her home again. She likes to make things -- boats out of boxes and castles out of cushions. But more than anything Sadie likes stories, because you can make them from nothing at all. For Sadie, the world is so full of wonderful possibilities ... This is Sadie, and this is her story.

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger, Greenwillow Books, $33.99
As all the other leaves float off and fly past, Little Yellow Leaf thinks, 'I'm not ready yet.' As the seasons change all around, Little Yellow Leaf holds on to the tree. 'Still not ready.' Will Little Yellow Leaf ever be ready? This is a story for anyone who has ever been afraid of facing the unknown--and a celebration of the friends who help us take the leap.

Jane, The Fox and Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault, Walker, $24.95
Helene is not free to hide from the taunts of her former friends in the corridors at school. She can't be invisible in the playground or in the stairways leading to art class. Insults are even scribbled on the walls of the toilet cubicles. Helene smells, Helene's fat, Helene has no friends ... now. When Helene's heart hammers in her chest as Genevieve snickers at the back of the bus, inventing nasty things to say about her, Helene dives into the pages of her book Jane Eyre. And, in the solace she finds there, Helene's own world becomes a little brighter. But how will the story end? Is there any hope for the wise, strange, plain Jane Eyre? While deeply lost in self-doubt, Helene's world is unexpectedly shaken up by a fresh new friendship. Helene begins to worry less about what the cruel girls think - and more about how happy she can be ... Perhaps Jane Eyre's story will end well after all, too. A graphic novel in picture book form, for older readers.



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