My oldest daughter was nearing three years when I thought I would be able to keep her attention long enough to try a chapter book together. She loved reading picture books and, like most kids, wouldn’t tire bring one after another (or the same one over and over) then climbing up in my lap to get a good look. I am so glad at this transition I came across Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland illustrated by Helen Oxenbury (the illustrator of one of our favorite board books We’re Going on a Bear Hunt) at the library. I realized this is how family books are meant to be read. Illustrations on nearly every page, from amazing two page spreads to little doodles in the margins. So, I bought the slipcover set and embarked on a journey to find more unabridged classics that all ages could enjoy page after page. Here are five of my favorites.
*note: favorites are based on illustrations of unabridged classics of rather than the actual stories.*
1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking glass by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Whimsical and simple she is my very, very favorite illustrator.
2. Peter Pan and Wendy by JM Barrie, illustrated by Robert Ingpen. Robert Ingpen comes in a close second, and he has illustrated many classics, including his own Alice books. In fact, I love his illustrations so much that his books would probably take up favorite spots 2-5 but for diversity I chose to highlight 5 different illustrators.
3. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, illustrated by Lauren Child. The same Lauren Child that does Charlie and Lola, fresh and funky.
4.The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, illustrated by Michael Hague. Richly detailed and enjoyable. This one, while not abridged is revised. I confess to have not read the original, however based on reviews I’ve read I understand that the revisions stay true to the heart of the story while being updated to reflect modern day values.
5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, illustrated by Inga Moore. Timeless illustrations.
Learn more about these amazing illustrators and some of my other favorite books they have done.
Helen Oxenbury: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, It’s My Birthday, King Jack and the Dragon (all three of these are board books)
Inga Moore: The Wind in The Willows