Every Christmas I go to my favorite independent bookstore - Politics and Prose - and browse the picture books for gifts for my children. Last year I picked up for my daughter The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. The illustrations are so beautiful and I love the story. It tells the story of Liam, an accidental gardener, who changes the landscape of the city with a watering can. The story is fun and humorous at times, but the illustrations are beautiful. The story begins dark and dreary with browns and grays and transforms to bright greens accented with other cheery colors. The details are impressive as well - small Liam walking on a street in an illustration of the entire city and pages filled with tiny butterflies, bees and ladybugs. It quickly became one of our favorite picture books this past year.
This year I went back again and perused the shelves only to pick up a book that I realized after reading was also by Peter Brown - Children Make Terrible Pets. This book has a little different style from The Curious Garden but is very fun as well. My children love animals and therefore love the idea of a bear, named Lucy, adopting a little boy as a pet. It turns out little boys are hard to keep under control and the illustrations tell the story of a child pet gone wrong with very funny pictures and a story to match.
Peter Brown's website is: www.peterbrownstudio.com. Go find a story by Peter Brown . . . you won't be disappointed.