• Picture Book Snob

Beautiful books that make gorgeous gifts (for grown ups too!)

It can be difficult to find unique and memorable presents that will be appreciated long after their wrapping paper has been discarded. Clothes, toys and gadgets eventually become outgrown or outdated, but books last a lifetime and never go out of style.

These fabulous new publications for children would also make spectacular gifts for adult lovers of literature. Luxurious hardback editions, they are the perfect fireside companions for Christmas Day that can be enjoyed all year round. There’s lots of inspiration here for anyone looking to treat themselves. You could even leave this list where it might be noticed by someone in need of hints about what to get you!

How to Be More Paddington - A Book of Kindness by Michael Bond and Peggy Fortnum, HarperCollins Words of wisdom from the world’s favourite well-meaning but accident-prone bear, accompanied by vintage illustrations from the original books. The perfect companion to a crisis (or pandemic!) as you can’t help but be cheered by Paddington's gentle optimism, the subtle humour and adorable images. Read a longer review...

Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O’Farrell and Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini, Walker Books Spectacular illustrations and exquisite prose make Maggie O’Farrell’s first children’s book a sensational work of art. Highly recommended for age five and upwards, fans of the award-winning and best-selling author, and anyone who appreciates literary magic. Read a longer review...

Butterfly Brain by Laura Dockrill and Gwen Millward, Piccadilly Press Originally written as a musical piece, this is an inventive, fascinating, funny, moving and extremely vivid exploration of grief, with stunning illustrations. Laura Dockrill is an acclaimed poet, songwriter, playwright, artist and author, who also happens to be friends with Adele. A remarkable tour through the imagination to be treasured by adults and children. Read a longer review...

Delightfully Different Fairy Tales by David Roberts and Lynn Roberts-Maloney, Pavilion Children’s Books Imaginative retellings that cast Cinderella as a 1920s flapper, while Rapunzel is trapped in a 1970s tower block and Sleeping Beauty snoozes from 1950 to 2950. The illustrator has a background in fashion and the eye-catching outfits reflect this. There are also lots of glorious pop-culture references (such as David Bowie album cover art) which add to the fun. Longer review coming in the new year, but follow Picture Book Snob on Instagram to see images in the meantime.

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright! An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year selected by Fiona Waters, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup, Nosy Crow A magnificent collection featuring work from over 100 poets, representing every creature imaginable, with extraordinary illustrations from one of the best in the business. If you're looking for an exceptional gift to be cherished for years, this is it. Get it for yourself and everyone you know! Read a longer review...

Mythical Irish Wonders by Mark Joyce, Currach Press An amazing encyclopaedia of Irish folklore with unique and striking illustrations, and the companion to Mythical Irish Legends by the same author which is also wonderful. Ideal for introducing children and adults to Ireland’s intricate and abundant mythology, and an impressive coffee table book. Read a longer review...

The Spots and the Dots by Helen Baugh and Marion Deuchars, Andersen Press Cleverly constructed to tell the story of the Dots on one side and the Spots on the other. Babies will love the bold shapes and colours while its simple, yet sophisticated, exploration of prejudice will engage older children. A future classic that will appeal to adults interested in art and design. Read a longer review...

The Enchanted Lake by Sinéad de Valera and Alexis Sierra, Currach Books Classic fairy stories that evoke a mystical and ancient Ireland. Originally published between the 1950s and the 1970s, the author was married to Ireland's third president, Eamonn de Valera. Reissued with bewitching, atmospheric illustrations by Alexis Sierra, this new edition is lovely to look at and lovely to hold. Read a longer review...

Fox by Isabel Thomas and Daniel Egnéus, Bloomsbury This follows a family of foxes for a year and explains death, decomposition and the circle of life. Although informative, it is also incredibly poignant and attractive, with breath-taking illustrations. Possessing a quiet but powerful beauty, this is a brilliant celebration of nature. Read a longer review...

Dee the Bee by Dolores Keaveney, Starfish Bay The latest book from an Irish author whose work has been compared to Beatrix Potter. This uses rhyming text and vibrant watercolours to explain pollination and its vital role in nature, and includes a list of bee-friendly flowers. Perfect for encouraging children to take an interest in the environment and for adult admirers of bees. Read a longer review...

What are Little Girls Made of? Nursery Rhymes for Feminist Times by Jeanne Willis and Isabelle Folath, Nosy Crow Seventeen familiar favourites are reimagined for the modern world in this fantastic book that subverts the sexism and stereotypes of traditional nursery rhymes, with gorgeous illustrations. These new verses will entertain and amuse audiences young and old. This is one of my Christmas presents to myself - longer review coming in the new year!

The Dead Zoo by Peter Donnelly, Gill Books A mischievous mouse moves into Mr Gray’s museum and turns his carefully curated universe upside down. An affectionate tribute to Ireland’s Natural History Museum with bright, colourful and stylish images. Young readers will love this and so will adults who fondly remember their own childhood visits to this iconic institution. Read a longer review...

The Complete Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem, HarperCollins It’s 40 years since Brambly Hedge first explored the miniature world of a community of mice. This beautifully illustrated anniversary edition will be adored by those who grew up with these stories as well as those seeing them for the first time. Longer review coming in the new year, but follow Picture Book Snob on Instagram to see images in the meantime.

Have You Seen the Dublin Vampire? by Úna Woods, O’Brien Press A vibrant city comes to life against a backdrop of softly glowing streetlamps and star-studded skies in this journey around our capital with a vampire companion. Everyone who sees this will enjoy spotting familiar landmarks and their favourite places as well as how attractive Dublin looks. Read a longer review...

Dogger’s Christmas by Shirley Hughes, Penguin Books I didn’t want to include anything seasonal, but I couldn’t leave this one out! For many who grew up in the ‘80s, Dogger was an integral part of their childhood. This sequel is a simple exploration of family life that will appeal to young children. Those who remember the original story from 1977 will enjoy the nostalgia and it’s an ideal gift grown-up fans of Shirley Hughes. Read a longer review...

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