Good Minds Suggest: Drew Daywalt's Favorite Picture Books for Grown-ups

Posted by Goodreads on December 8, 2015

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Drew Daywalt spent his early years reading Dr. Seuss and watching horror movies in a haunted house in Ohio. A curious combination, for sure, but one that proved key to Daywalt's twin career paths as both maker of horror films and bestselling children's author. After many years writing in Hollywood for Disney, Universal, and even Quentin Tarantino, the father of two struck gold with his 2013 debut picture book with Oliver Jeffers, The Day the Crayons Quit. Readers everywhere fell in love with the humorous tale of a box of disgruntled crayons that write letters of complaint to owner Duncan about issues ranging from abuse to neglect. Daywalt, who first conjured the idea after noticing how unevenly crayons in a box on his desk were used, followed up with The Day the Crayons Came Home, winner of this year's Goodreads Choice Award for best picture book, which was also illustrated by Jeffers.

When Goodreads asked Daywalt, 45, to pick five of his favorite picture books for grown-ups, he said, "I think it was C.S. Lewis, or maybe some other exceedingly smart person who had initials for names, who said (and I'm paraphrasing because I'm too lazy to Google it, so deal), 'A children's story that can only be enjoyed by kids is crap.' Thus, I'm making a list of my five favorite picture books for adults, but with the caveat that they're not just good for adults, but also children."

The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Dave McKean
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"I love this book so much, I want to invent a time machine, go back to the early 1990s, before it was published, and write it before Neil can. 'Hear that, Gaiman? When I master time travel, you're first on my list, buddy!' I can see it now: 'Drew Daywalt's The Graveyard Book is a tour de force.' Anyway, I love the way Neil has mastered the art of understating the absurd. No one does it better. (Except me.)"

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin. Illustrated by Betsy Lewin
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"There was only one picture book that ever made me laugh so hard in a bookstore that I cried. I can't remember what it was, so I'm putting Click, Clack, Moo on the list instead. JUST KIDDING! See what I did there? It WAS this one. I promise. So in case you've been in a cave on Mars for the past 15 years and haven't read this hilarious book, go do it now."

I Will Chomp You by Jory John and Bob Shea
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"Two of the funniest writers I've ever met got together and formed into a Super-Voltron of funny for this book. My kids looked like they were having seizures, they were laughing so hard. I'm sending Bob and Jory the medical bills. And by medical bills, I mean my beer receipts from 7-Eleven."

The Arrival by Shaun Tan
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"Shaun's not very funny, but I'll forgive him because A) he doesn't intend to be, and B) He can draw like a mo-fo. The Arrival puts you in the shoes of a recent immigrant trying to comprehend a befuddling new culture in a fantasy world that gives me the same wanderlust as Middle Earth. I WANT TO GO THERE. Someone make this place an overpriced theme park, STAT. I'm looking at you, Disney."

Blizzard by John Rocco
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"This one is personal for me, see, because Blizzard is based on John's childhood experience during the now infamous Blizzard of 1978. We're about the same age, John and I. Actually I'm sure he's older. He's also not as good-looking or athletic as me. And I'm a better dancer, and I can draw circles around him, too. But all that aside, I remember this very snowstorm, and he captures it perfectly. The whole book is gorgeous and lilting and magical, just like a snow day when you're eight years old. It just feels good."

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Margaux (new)

Margaux I think I want to be best friends with this guy. And read Crayon books forever.

message 2: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Rinkel So glad you include adults for reading some of these Picture Books. You've hit upon some of my favorites too.

message 3: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve I don't even have kids and I want to read these books. What fantastic writing.

message 4: by Faustine (new)

Faustine Lutabu And me also im so appreciating this belived friend

message 5: by Faustine (new)

Faustine Lutabu Keap it up my friend God will help you my beloved friend

Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Loving the recommendations.

message 7: by C. J. (new)

C. J. Scurria It surprised me in a good way to see this guy on here. Didn't know he wrote a book. He's done multiple scary horror short films on YouTube.

((Warning: if you check him out on there not all of his stories are for the faint of heart and many feature themes upsetting to people))

message 8: by Faustine (new)

Faustine Lutabu Hi my friend

message 9: by Andy (new)

Andy Buck Personalised picture books are a great way to get kids reading at an early age, especially if they are personalised with the child's name as this really keeps them engaged in the book.

message 10: by Jason (new)

Jason Lehman Margaux wrote: "I think I want to be best friends with this guy. And read Crayon books forever."
I'm having a challenge locating Children's book groups below the middle grade. Might someone suggest a group I could join?
Thank you,

message 11: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Vedsted I have always believed we would all be better off if we read kids' picture books! Proof!

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