Pictures Really Worth a Thousand (or More) Words

A great picturebook is one that has a perfect pairing of illustrations and words. It should have a story that is interesting to most age groups, and artwork that makes you want to go back for more. Sometimes however you find a picturebook that has such wonderful illustrations that it could be wordless or a reader could ignore the words all together simply because of the perfection of the illustrations. Here are some picture books that have great stories and concepts, but truly stand out because of the fabulous artwork that helps to tell the story.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge written by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas
A small boy tries to discover the meaning of “memory” so he can restore that of an elderly friend.

Blueberry Girl written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Charles Vess
Rhyming text expresses a prayer for a girl to be protected from such dangers as nightmares at age three or false friends at fifteen, and to be granted clearness of sight and other favors.

Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
When Stillwater the bear moves into the neighborhood, the stories he tells to three siblings teach them to look at the world in new ways.

On Market Street  written by Arnold Lobel, pictures by Anita Lobel
A child buys presents from A to Z in the shops along Market Street.

Owl Moon written by Jane Yolen illustrated by John Schoenherr
On a winter’s night under a full moon, a father and daughter trek into the woods to see the Great Horned Owl.

The Mitten: a Ukrainian Folktale adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett
Several animals sleep snugly in Nicki’s lost mitten until the bear sneezes.

More great artwork and stories can be found in:  The Napping House by Audrey Wood illustrated by Don Wood, In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak , The Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, Stellaluna by Janell Cannon, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney, The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses story and illustrations by Paul Goble, The Clown of God told and illustrated by Tomie de Paola, Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág , and Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. 

As always, I know I missed some picturebooks with picture perfect pages. Do you have a favorite picturebook that you treasure or remember because of the artwork?

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