Picture Book Art | Oliver Jeffers…

As a huge art nerd, I am obsessed with kid’s picture books. I have always loved the kid section of bookstores better than any nonfiction or fiction section. I love looking at the artwork in them. I know it’s cliche to say you want to illustrate a kids book, but I totally do! Anyway, I thought every once in a while I would share some books that have some really great artwork in them.


Today, I wanted to share my love for Oliver Jeffers. He is one of my absolute favorites!! I asked for The Incredible Book Eating Boy book for christmas like 4 years ago, way before little Rowan was even around. I used that book to create one of my most favorite art projects I would teach my students back in the day. We would take a field trip to the elementary school library, and each student would get to find a kids book they felt especially drawn too. We checked them out, and then the kids had to think about storying telling in a nontraditional way, recreate the story and make a 3D double sided box. The example I made was of course from The Incredible Book Eating Boy. I love the illustrations in that book! The kids projects always came out so cute. I loved teaching High School Art.


We are always on the look out for new books in our household. What are you favorite Kids books?

  1. I love Oliver jeffers books so freakin awesome. did you hear about the new ipad app for Heart and a bottle? http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-heart-bottle-for-ipad/id439781836?mt=8

    Like you i am in love with kids books especially one with good illustrations. I think in a way I pick them more up for me than Sae because I just love looking at them and hope Sae does too.

    Our current favs the Stella and Sam series, For Just One Day by Laura Leuck, and I Don’t Want to Be a Pea! by Ann Bonwill.

  2. I love artwork/stories by Emma Dodd (especially “I am Small”). No necessarily right for Rowan’s age, but love the pictures in “Toby and the Snowflakes” and “The Robot & the bluebird”. GORGEOUS. I work with preK kids, so also read lots o’ kids books! Love them.

  3. Those are lovely illustrations!!

    Any of the Boynton books are always our favourites – My daughter is really fond of “The Going to Bed Book”. I love the illustrations, they’re just so playful.

    We also love Possum Magic in our house, not just for the sweet story, but for hte watercolours just so pretty. Though not many people have heard of it, since it’s an aussie book.

    I always think the best books are a good combination of sweet story and good illustration!

  4. Dotty dot dot •

    Agreed! There’s some magic missing in “digitized” children’s books…. hand-drawn art is the way to go!

    An aside: could you post a tutorial on that 3D box? It looks really neat and, I think, would make fun art in a kid’s room…

  5. Ride a Purple Pelican!
    Pat the Bunny!

  6. Ohmygosh! These look awesome! I love his style. πŸ™‚ My favorite kids’ book is ”Otis and Rae and the Grumbling Splunkl” – Best. Ever. I’m all grown up and totally have a craving to read it every so often…lol. It’s *that* cute!

  7. Rebecca •

    These are amazing! Would you consider putting up a tutorial? I would love to see how these are done and create one of my own!

  8. YAYAYAYA! Oliver Jeffers! So fun. LOVE those boxes…wish you had been my art teacher! Your timing is hilarious…I was JUST watching the trailer for STUCK, which includes him reading:


  9. That is THE cutest book! I love pictures books, too. It is much more fun to make up the words as you go.

    Right now, we’ve been reading our boys the Polo books. They’re so stinkin’ cute! Last night, we read a book called Where’s the Cake?

  10. Love this post and will look forward to more! Planning a book birthday party for our daughter who turns 2 next month! She’s finally sitting still long enought to get through a whole book and has moved on from eating them πŸ™‚

  11. Michelle H •

    I’ve always been quite partial to Harold and the Purple Crayon. I also love Little Hoot, Little Pea and Little Oink books by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

    I just recently picked up a book called Lin Yi’s Lantern. It is such a wonderful story and is beautifully illustrated – http://www.amazon.com/Lin-Yis-Lantern-Brenda-Williams/dp/1846861470

  12. My favorites are :

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
    The Cat who wore a pot on her head
    Shark Vs. Train
    Max the Minnow

    I like a LOT more than those too but those are a few of my fav’s…:-)

  13. I LOVE Oliver Jeffers!! I used to have a bunch of his work in my old cubicle. Have you seen the short that was made of Lost and Found? It is SO CUTE!

  14. Here is a link to the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaOqMuOTsOc I also recommend checking out Studio Soi’s The Little Boy and the Beast which has amazing art as well! http://vimeo.com/7774480

  15. I love that project! I teach English in a middle school and I always like doing illustrations with my writing pieces. Often times, I pick the art teacher’s brain to see what sort of cool art stuff I can incorporate in my room. This is just absolutely stunning!


  16. Oh my gosh, I thought it was a strange thing that I had to work on! I love going to Barnes & Noble with my little sister– she always drags me to the Little Kid’s Section and I love looking at the picture books with serious art or adorable, clever titles.

    Jessica | Vixenelle

  17. I love love love oliver jeffers!! one of our faves it ‘how to catch a star’. great high school art project!

  18. Oh my, I’m such a sucker for children’s books too. ((And I share the same dream of illustrating my own, but more so I’d love to write one I think…))
    My husband picked out Stuck for our older daughter (3) for Christmas this year and I’ve fallen in love with his illustrations! But I had no idea he had other books!! We will definitely need to add those to our library.
    We have a girly girl on our hands and we love the Birdie books by Sujean Rim.
    And Freckleface Strawberry books by Julianne Moore! The illustrator is LeUyen Pham. I just love her style of illustration. She also has her own really sweet book out, one of my favorites to share between sisters, called Big Sister, Little Sister.
    Yay!! Now I’m all excited about books. Thanks for sharing!

  19. You must have The Heart & A Bottle! It was the first time I read a book and sobbed in front of my 3-year old. She now requests me to read it all the time, so she can see me “cry because I’m so in love.” Awww, love Oliver Jeffers!

    We also really like the Llama Llama series and looking at the pictures in the Miroslav Sasek’s around here…

  20. One of my favorite parts of being mom is that I get to read children’s books on a daily basis. One I recently discovered that has adorable illustrations and funny stories is Bob Shea. I love “I’m a Shark” and “Big Plans” Good Stuff.

  21. As an elementary school teacher, I have read lots of children’s books! My favorite illustrators though are: Todd Parr, Ted Lewin, Kadir Nelson, Patricia Polacco (one of my fav. authors/illustrators), and David Shannon.

  22. I have a collection of old Tunnel Books too and my kids love learning how to make them! I had to renew my license a few years ago and took a class called Children’s Literature. The (supremely cool) professor let me demonstrate illustration techniques from children’s books for nearly all of the class projects where everyone else had to write boring reports. Score!

  23. there are so many fantastic children’s books out there. i absolutely LOVE the illustrations in OLD TURTLE – it is gorgeous. our current favorite book is EAT YOUR PEAS – we read it on average a b-gillion times a day πŸ™‚

  24. I have an art education background (well, M.Ed. in Art Ed…but no jobs to be found since 2008 when I graduated) and am OBSESSED with children’s books, as well. My goal for the year is to write one….now that having a 14 month old makes me feel like kind of an expert in what toddlers like…ha ha. My daughter’s favorites are: “When Pigasso Met Mootisse” by Nina Laden, “Iggy Peck, Architect” by Andrea Beaty and “Cupcake, A Journey to Special” by Charise Mericle Harper. My daughter has LOVED “When Pigasso Met Mootisse” since she was about 4 months old. The illlustrations are really captivating and switch between the painting styles of Picasso and Mootisse. You should check it out…Rowan would love it!

  25. I also love looking at the artwork in Kid’s books, being in the preschoo;, I see some pretty horrendous kids books and some really good ones. My FAVORITE is – Russel’s Christmas Magic. I would open it just to look at the artwork, it looks like you can pet that little sheep, I love it!


  26. http://www.mousecircus.com/bookdetails.aspx?BookID=16 “Blueberry Girl” by Neil Gaiman, This is a really special book, its more of a keepsake book but I think its perfect for any mother/daughter. The text and images are so pretty!

  27. Two that I had never heard of but have been really popular from infant to now (age 2) in our house are: Baby Born by Anastasia Suen and The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don Wood and Audrey Wood. One’s watercolor, one’s colored pencil – they are board books, but they are DIFFERENT – uniquely illustrated with a nice story (that is not annoying to read over and over and over)…. πŸ™‚ Highly recommend.

  28. Jessica •

    I don’t know what it is but you have really taken your blog to the next level. It seems like you have just pushed the awesome button! I know you kind of re-dedicated your blog and sloughed off some things and I think it is really shining!!!! I love your blog now! (Not that I didn’t before!) But it is just extra sweet now.

  29. Hey Jen, just wanted to reccomend Shawn Tan. He is an AMAZING artist and I cherish his children’s books!! “The Red Tree” is by far my favorite and has a really beautiful message of hope. Whenever I am feeling down and out I pull out my copy, marvel over the artwork, and walk away feeling a thousand times better!

    His website gives you an idea of what an amazing artist he is…

    http://www.shauntan.net/ (main page)
    http://www.shauntan.net/books.html (list of all his books) – if you click on “The Red Tree” and scroll down, you can see some of his artwork from this book).

    Here is how he describes the book:
    “As a concept, the book is inspired by the impulse of children and adults alike to describe feelings using metaphor – monsters, storms, sunshine, rainbows and so on. Moving beyond cliché, I sought painted images that might further explore the expressive possibilities of this kind of shared imagination, which could be at once strange and familiar. A nameless young girl appears in every picture, a stand-in for ourselves; she passes helplessly through many dark moments, yet ultimately finds something hopeful at the end of her journey.”

    True story – an ex gave me this book when he was leaving me for another woman. He told me it would comfort me and help me get through it. At the time I just wanetd to beat him to death with it, but 8 years later I consider it the best book I’ve ever recieved as a gift.

    Sorry to geek out but I love this book so much!!

  30. Kate Lag •

    Do you have The Heart and the Bottle by him? It is my favorite, absolutely adorable!

  31. Awe, those are sweet. I used to love those Robert Munsch books, like “Love you Forever.” It never used to make me cry as a kid but now I do.

    Also, I loved Beatrix Potter books like Peter Rabbit.

  32. Sarah Jump •

    Isnt your husband a graphic designer?i dont know how big a fan of Paul Rand he is but him and his wife Ann have a lovely little set of childrens books they did together, our favourite is “Sparkle and Spin”.

  33. I LOVE children’s books! And children’s bookstores and libraries are so magical. My favorite author and illustrator is Chris Van Allsburg. I especially love the book “Two Bad Ants”. I remember reading his books when I was in 5th grade and just loved everything about them. I still treasure them to this day.

  34. Check out the whimsical illustrations in Nancy Tillman books. “Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You” and “It’s Time to Sleep, My Love” are a few of my daughter’s favorites. :o) Enjoy!

  35. After reading these comments, I see that I’m clearly missing out on some talented illustrators/books for Naja! Right now, she’s loving her regular ole Dora touch and hear book. Seriously – I think I read it 3-4 times a day. I will definitely check out some of these books. While I love my kindle, I always get the ‘real thing’ for her. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Oh Oliver Jeffrers is one of my favorites! His books are amazing! I love being an education student because I get to collect children’s books! I would love to hear some of your other favorites! The comments are great too because I am learning about more great authors and illustrators!

  37. Brian Wildsmith books are so bright and colourful and Phoebe Gilman’s books are delightful!

  38. I’m getting my MA in Children’s Lit and I love picturebooks! Check out this awesome picturebook blog, 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast: http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/. So much cool stuff!

  39. melissa •

    I sent you an email last week about possibly illustrating my children’s books. I already have a publisher. I’m hoping it didn’t go into your spam?

  40. Ooh, I know this is an older post but I just read it and had to comment – my friend told me last week she has ordered “Henry’s walk to Paris” for me. I told her months ago how much I loved those illustrations by Saul Bass but how sad it was that it wasn’t in print anymore…. but she recently found out it was getting a reprint and preordered it for me πŸ˜€ yay!

  41. Try “excuse you! A book about minding your manners” written by bill gray..illustrated by cris grine.
    So fun and crazy sound buttons to push. Burrppp..excuse me πŸ˜‰

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Hi, I'm Jen!

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