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Five Children's Books with Beautiful Illustrations

Children's books can be breathtakingly beautiful, absolute works of art, whether in graphic or painterly styles, or in pen and ink. They give pleasure to both the children and the parents reading them, and when the text is as good as the illustrations, it is quite simply a delight for all those concerned. Here are five examples of beautiful books, that are fine stories, too.

    Lion and the Bird, The

    Marianne Dubuc is a Montréal-based author and illustrator. She is best known for her award-winning and beautifully illustrated book, The Lion and the Bird, which tells the story of a friendship that grows between a lion and a bird, when an injured bird alights in a lion's garden. The rest of the flock leaves the bird behind, and the lion takes tender care of the bird. They both know that one day the bird will have to join its flock once again...

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    Henri's Walk to Paris

    Saul Bass, one of the 20th century's most talented graphic designers and the creator of innumerable iconic film title sequences, in 1962 joined forces with Leonore Klein for this book about a boy called Henri. Henri's Walk to Paris begins in a town in France where Henri dreams of visiting Paris. He packs his lunch and leaves for the capital. On the way, he falls asleep under a tree, when he wakes up, he is lost, and his journey home is illustrated by Bass' bold graphics in vibrant colors and his trademark crisp graphics.

    Sleep Like a Tiger

    Mary Logue's text and Pamela Zagarenski's gorgeous mixed media illustrations come together to make this bedtime story, Sleep Like a Tiger, a rare treat. The story is straightforward enough, a little girl who doesn't want to go to sleep, but her lovely dialogue with her parents, who put no pressure on her, but rather, tell her she can stay up all night, are told as a lyrical and magical tale. Award-winning artist and book illustrator, Zagarenski's images are simply enchanting.

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    Next Stop Grand Central

    Maira Kalman is a grand dame of illustration and has 18 children's books under her belt. Next Stop Grand Central conveys the Manhattan train station's frenetic pace, all the while zooming in to examine the individual lives of the people; some are lost and then found, some are cooking in the station's restaurant, some are buying cherry pies. Humor, fantasy and joy permeate all of Kalman's illustrations.

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    My Dad Is Big And Strong, BUT...

    My Dad is Big and Strong But...is another bedtime story, this time the bedtime routine is inversed; the son is putting his father to sleep. But Dad swings from the chandelier, begs for another story and generally wreaks havoc in this comical and whimsical tale by French author Coralie Saudo, translated by Claudia Bedrick. Paris-based illustrator Kris di Giacomo's beautiful earthy tones and charcoal outlines give this book a dreamy quality, which counterbalances nicely with Dad's naughty behavior. 

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