5 Picture Books Grown-Ups Must Also Read

First off, I’d like to suggest that all children’s picture books are for adults, and that all books are in fact for adults. Yes, Twilight is admittedly in a different universe than Socrates, but engaging with words and stories is never a waste of time.

Reading a book is a far more active use of one’s brain than watching television or playing games on smartphones. And while some children’s books deserve special attention from the grown-up crowd — even those without kids — too many of us forget to drift out of the adult section in libraries and bookstores. Next time you’re there, here are a few items worth looking up.

1. A Light in the Attic

Shel Silverstein’s funky style has permeated many fields outside of children’s poetry. He drew comics for a time and even wrote lyrics for famous musicians. Two notable acts he contributed songs to were Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show and Johnny Cash, with “Cover of the Rolling Stone” and “A Boy Named Sue,” respectively.

Silverstein isn’t lacking in adult content, either, providing lyrics to a song called “Don’t Give a Dose to the One You Love Most,” about venereal disease: “Giver her some marmalade, giver her some toast / You can giver her a partridge up in a pear tree / But the dose that you give her might get back to me.”

That said, the work Silverstein created for children is hilarious, simple, and touching, as readers of The Giving Tree can attest. In A Light in the Attic, Silverstein’s drawings are as stylistically nutty as one could hope, and at times, the writing hits points so serious that anyone and everyone could appreciate their gravity — which isn’t to say he doesn’t tickle the funny bone, as well.