This week’s Top 5 Wednesday asks for books that you would recommend to a specific person. You pick the person and tailor a list just for them. I am recommending books for a young person interested in fantasy. What does that mean exactly? Well, you’ll see from my list, but I went with books of popular and fantastic adult series and authors, but with a child-like addition: illustrations. These aren’t just any illustrations, but amazing artwork that can inspire any mind, not just a child’s, to use their imagination. Most of these are books I own, while the last is one I hope to pick up for me and my kids someday soon. They can be read together, given to a teen, or displayed on an adult’s shelf. Versatile, beautiful, and well written.
Hobbit: The Illustrated Edition by J.R.R. Tolkien and Jemima Catlin
While there are many beautiful versions of Tolkien’s work, particularly the ones by Alan Lee, I went with this version because it is so different. The illustrations are fun and quirky, which fits the story perfectly. Plus, The Hobbit was intended as a children’s book, so I love that it is accessible to all. It is probably my favorite illustrated book I own.
Milton’s Paradise Lost by John Milton and Gustave Doré
While this one may lean toward being for the older child, I wanted to include it. Introducing children to the classics can never start too early, and while some may claim the subject matter is too dark or deep for children, I would disagree. Many of the books children read these days are much darker and scarier than the story of Satan, the fallen angel. Not to mention, children understand a lot more than we give them credit for. You do not need to be religious to appreciate this epic poem.
The World of Warcraft Chronicle by Blizzard Entertainment
Even if you do not play video games, Blizzard Entertainment has done a great job with these archives. While it will read more like a history than a story, the striking artwork will keep many kids enamored. It is also a great gateway from the gaming kid to become more of a reader.
Harry Potter: Illustrated Editions by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay
Of course, I had to include these because they are so well done. The stories can only be improved by the wonderful illustrations, some as simple as styling along the pages. The Potterverse has some other great illustrated works, but these are by far the standouts.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman and Michael Manomivibul
The only one on this list that I do not own, but it has been on my wishlist for years. I really enjoy the movie and never thought I needed to read the book. But, having seen the skillful illustrations in this deluxe edition, I would love to read it with my son, as I think we would have a great time laughing together.
Are there any beautifully illustrated books I missed? Let me know in the comments below.