Picture books for grownups

Books that will especially delight the grownups, you might even want to share them with your kids.

Syndetics book coverHenri’s walk to Paris / illustrated by Saul Bass ; story by Leonore Klein.
“In graphic designer Bass’s sole picture book, first published in 1962, his stylized collage prints pair with Klein’s understated text to tell the story of a boy who dreams about traveling from his small town of Reboul to visit Paris. In Reboul, Henri lives in a little white house made up of two angular geometrical shapes, surrounded by a lush tapestry-like forest, and has three friends, Andre, Jacques, and Michel (they appear as three pairs of legs, fitted with pink pants, decoratively pattered socks, and green boots). Finally, Henri sets out walking to Paris, but when a bird interferes with his sense of direction, he gets turned around, discovering that “Paris” is an awful lot like Reboul. Bass plays with repetition (there’s a strong symmetry to Henri’s journey), text, and strong blocks of color, while using negative and positive space to toy with perception. Although the title character’s face never appears, readers should gain a strong sense of Henri’s identity from the sturdy storytelling and dramatic graphics. All ages. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved” (Publisher Weekly)
Syndetics book coverThe cats of Copenhagen / James Joyce.
“Recently rediscoverd this whimsical letter was written from James Joyce to his grandson in 1936. A delightful story, it has been illustrated in a very quirky manner by Casey Sorrow, an American cartoonist”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverJimmy the greatest! / Jairo Buitrago ; pictures by Rafael Yockteng ; translated by Elisa Amado.Jimmy the Greatest!
“*Starred Review* In a poor village on the ocean, young Jimmy’s future is looking bright since the owner of a tiny gym inspired him to run, to read, and to train as a boxer like Muhammad Ali. Even without any shoes, Jimmy discovers that you don’t need much stuff to run or to get others to follow along. But, unlike his trainer, who leaves for a life in the big city, Jimmy the Greatest stays in the village, where he grows up to maintain the gym, create a library, and help his people. He does great things, but not by leaving home for the world stage. Translated from the Spanish and first published in Colombia, this title features text that reads like spare poetry and digital, cartoon-style artwork filled with humorous details and stylized, pop-eyed characters. Each page shows the daily struggle in the rough shanty town. Best of all is the image of Jimmy as a boy reading and shadow-boxing at the same time. A final spread, showing new wires stretching across the village, is a moving conclusion to this unusual, quietly powerful title.–Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverInfinity and me / written by Kate Hosford ; illustrations by Gabi Swiatkowska.
“Considering that adults have trouble grappling with the concept of infinity, you have to admire Hosford for trying to wrap young brains around it. There is only the scantest sense of character, place, and story here, but we do meet a young girl named Uma, who stares up at the stars. I started to feel very, very small. She asks a number of people how they imagine infinity, and each has his or her own creative take. Her friend Sam envisions infinity as a figure 8 racetrack. Grandma sees it as an ever-enlarging family tree. This compels Uma to tackle a few old philosophical saws, including the one about cutting something in half and then cutting that half in half, ad infinitum. Swiatkowska was the right choice of illustrator for the spiraling subject matter. Her big-eyed Victorian-looking characters embark upon various flights of fancy: driving along an infinity sign, becoming a Vitruvian Man, and standing beneath an ice-cream cone that would take forever to lick. Oddball for sure, but good fun to puzzle over.–Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverMiss Mousie’s blind date / by Tim Beiser ; illustrated by Rachel Berman.
“A charming story about self-acceptance, and love lost and found, told through the eyes of a dear little mouse, and her possibly-not-so-handsome suitor, Mole. Beautifully illustrated, cleverly told, the message is timeless, and the illustrations endearing”. (Syndetics summary)