Picture Books: Not just For Children Anymore - The Missing Clue - December 2018

One of the things that has changed the most in the last year in Whodunit? is the volume of children and young adult books that we have been able to stock, especially since our move into the new space. As a result, we have started to be made aware of a growing number of picture books that, while mostly acceptable for children, are really directed at the adult who is probably reading it. These are not to be mistaken for the illustrated editions of novels like the ‘Harry Potter’ series, or Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, nor are they the graphic novels like the critically acclaimed Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal or the posthumous release of Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts. Instead these are well designed, and often beautifully illustrated short texts for nearly everyone, but really directed at adults.

For many of you, the most familiar of these will be ones that have been written by the staff of American late night hosts. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo made waves in the summer when ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ launched it to compete with the Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President by Charlotte and Karen Pence, and was followed this autumn by Whose Boat is This Boat? released by Stephen Colbert's Late Show, and ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah's’ Donald J Trump Presidential Twitter Library.

However, while these have all taken advantage of the "laugh because it hurts" mentality brought on by 45, others take advantage of our nostalgia for the past. Die Hard Christmas, for example, is a re-writing of the Night Before Christmas poem that adds credence to the argument that the Bruce Willis film is, in fact, a Christmas movie. With a much more Canadian flavour is the The Log Driver's Waltz, beautifully illustrated version of the iconic Canadian cartoon, with illustrator Jennifer Phelan creating new images that still evoke the original National Film Board animation.

Finally, although they have not been released this year, we have taken advantage of the season to stock the absolutely gorgeous (albeit sizeable) Historium and Animalium. These fictional museum and zoo books collect together artefacts and animals that would otherwise be impossible to keep in one place, and carefully render and detail their origins, importance, and geographical home. While the publisher has also produced activity books that allow children to pursue the same lines of enquiry and lessons that they would get in a brick and mortar museum, the originals themselves make for wonderful adult reading, and coffee table conversation. (That is, if you coffee table is large enough).

With fresher examples appearing regularly, if none of these fit the needs of someone on your gift list, there are more that we can offer. These books are perfect for the readers and "non-readers" in your life alike, or as Secret Santa gifts.