Traditionally, the picture book genre has primarily catered to young readers. However, there has been a surprise shift off late, wherein more and more authors are coming out with short illustrated reads for a mature audience. While the basics of these books remain the same, the themes and meanings are often more in-depth, along with writers taking the liberty to be extra expressive with their language. Here are five profound, witty, thoughtful, and contemporary picture books, full of vibrant and colourful illustrations, perfect for adults to read at bedtime.
Do you want to play with my balls? is an absolute laugh riot packed with double innuendoes that will have readers in splits by the time they reach the second page. The book’s fresh child-like approach makes it all the more comical, especially since there is nothing graphic when it comes to the words or the illustrations. The funny thing about the book is that it is innocent enough for adults to possibly read it to their children, who should find the irrelevance of it all hilarious. As for the adults themselves, the more wicked and imaginative their minds, the more fun they will have while reading it.
A wonderful book that highlights female empowerment, or the thought of it, Where the Wild Mums Are is about taking a break from motherhood to enjoy life, be a little independent, and have fun. It’s a dreamy tale about a mum who drifts away to an island where the wild mums are partying until her intuition leads her back to reality. It’s a story about escapism for women but also a necessary read for children and husbands to appreciate better the hard work mothers do daily.
A heartbreakingly warm story of a boy struggling with his parent’s divorce, Mum and Dad Glue is equally essential for adults to understand the effects of their life choices on children. The art is especially memorable and depicts different aspects of everyday life, like the car, house, bed, and walls tearing apart. It is through these illustrations we realise that a breaking marriage isn’t just about two people or their families, but for a child, the whole world comes apart. The book does end with a message of hope, love, and a reminder that change is inevitable, and it is okay for it to happen. Mum and Dad Glue is a touching read, one that an entire family going through troubled times can read together.
There’s a likeness to Dr Seuss in Dallas Clayton’s beautiful and thought-provoking lyrics, and his somewhat minimalistic and subtle watercolour illustrations have a surprisingly soothing effect on the eyes and the mind. However, the author has his own identity, and it would be wrong to compare them both, especially since Dallas’ rhymes are a little more realistic and less quirky than that of Dr Seuss. Nevertheless, the message in the book is clear, and that is to enjoy and cherish every moment of your life by doing the things you love with the people you admire the most. A story about having no regrets, It’s Never Too Late is an uplifting picture book that encourages you to seize every single day.
Whether you admit it or not, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never said it out loud, but every parent, at some point, would have mentally said the title of this book to their child. Adam Mansbach hits home with his laugh-out-loud achingly accurate tale of a parent trying to put their kid to sleep. Some might obviously find it controversial, and it is one picture book you’ll never actually read to your kids at night. Still, Go The fuck To Sleep is the ideal read for when you’re tired after a full day of parenting and want a hearty chuckle before bed.