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Top Picture Books for Adults

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by Marisa Quinn-Haisu (subscribe)
My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published April 15th 2017
Because not all picture books are for kids
Picture Books for Adults
We're Going on a Bar Hunt is a parody of the classic children's book We're Going on a Bear Hunt

1.Title: We're Going on a Bar Hunt
Author: Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Rees and illustrated by Gillian Johnson
Published: Constable & Robinson Publishing, 2013

We're Going on a Bar Hunt is a parody version of Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury's popular children's book We're Going on a Bear Hunt, which was published in 1989. This is a charming little book that parents of small children will find very amusing and relatable. It has the same art style as the original book and the same rhyming pattern, but a different plot filled with adult language and jokes. In the 1989 book, a group of adults and small children leave on a bear hunt. In this version, a group of adults leave their kids with a sitter and go on a bar hunt shouting "We're not old!" as they leave the house.

Picture Books for Adults
How many of us have ever stumbled tripped home after a night out drinking?

The decision to turn We're Going on a Bear Hunt into going on a bar hunt was a stroke of genius. Original lines of dialogue like "Stumble, trip! Stumble, trip! Stumble, trip!" take on a whole new meaning when it's a bunch of slightly tipsy adults and not a young family skipping happily through a meadow. It is a fantastic use of parody and a short fun read.

Picture Books for Adults
Fowl Language pokes fun at the highs and lows of parenting

2. Title: Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting
Author: Brian Gordon
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2016

Brian Gordon used to be cool and do cool things ... and then he had children. Brian started Fowl Language in 2013 while he was working as a greeting card artist. He wanted a fun outlet for him to be able to discuss the highs and lows of parenting. After he later lost his job, he decided to take up the comic full time, leading to it becoming a hit online.

Picture Books for Adults
Kids are great...but sometimes they can be jerks

I discovered Fowl Language on Facebook. His joke about daycare arrival/pick up came up on my feed and I laughed so hard. It is so accurate! Fowl Language is regularly shared by millions of people online. What makes Fowl Language so good is because it pokes fun at parenting in a heart-warming and honest manner. As Brian describes it "Parenting can be a magical journey full of bliss and wonder… if you're on the right meds." Parents will really be able to relate to the duck family in Fowl Language and the daily struggles that they face.

Picture Books for Adults
Is this the most honest book ever published?

3.Title: Go the F*ck to Sleep
Author: Written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés
Publisher: Akashic Books, 2011.

Is there any adult picture book more well known than Go the F*ck to Sleep? Go the F*ck to Sleep caused quite a media stir when it was published in 2011. Adam Mansbach got the idea to write the book when his daughter, Vivien, was two years old and would take up to two hours each night to go to sleep. Exhausted and frustrated one night, he made a sarcastic post on Facebook that he should write a book about how hard it is to put little kids to sleep and call it Go the F*ck to Sleep. His post received a lot of positive feedback so he decided that the idea was worth pursuing. He wrote the book and got his friend Ricardo Cortés to do the illustrations.

Picture Books for Adults
Bedtime is always so much fun

The book was accepted for publication by Akashic Books and came out in 2011. It went viral on social media due to its adult language and humour. Adam Mansbach explained in an interview to the CNN in 2011 that the reason he decided to write the book was because he felt that the frustrations he often feels as a parent are "not permissible to talk about. We're not completely honest because we don't want to be bad parents."

Go the F*ck to Sleep features lovely, full-page colour illustrations done in the style of classic children's bedtime stories. The narrator is an exhausted parent pleading to their child to please go to sleep. Go the F*ck to Sleep was so successful several celebrities including Samuel L. Jackson and Noni Hazlehurst did readings of the book. A follow-up book called Seriously, Just Go to Sleep, was written with all of the F-words in the original replaced with G-rated ones. A sequel was released in 2014 called You Have to Fu*king Eat.

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Why? If you're a parent or someone who enjoys comic strips or parodies you will get a kick out of these books
When: Great for reading on the bus or on rainy afternoons
Where: You can purchase these books from bookstores, comic book stores, or online retailers
Cost: We're Going on a Bar Hunt $10-16 Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting $16-20 and Go The F*ck To Sleep $11-20
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