The Best Illustrated Editions of our Favorite Books

As book lovers, we’re not quite sure that a picture is worth a thousand words. We’re pretty big fans of words, but we do have to admit that images can add a lot to a story. That’s why we put together this list of 10 great illustrated editions of our favorite books.


Animal Farm by George Orwell, illustrated by Joy Batchelor and John Halas

This illustrated edition was originally put out in 1954, nine years after the first edition of Animal Farm. It’s been hard to find for years, but no more: Penguin re-published this version this year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Animal Farm.


Dune by Frank Herbert, illustrated by Sam Weber

Science fiction and fantasy stories tend to make for the best illustrated editions. So why not enjoy an illustrated edition of the book that some consider to be the best sci-fi novel ever written? Sam Weber did the illustrations for this collector’s edition of Dune.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay

The illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone just came out this year. We love that the illustrations in this one depart from the style of the movies and video games, giving us a fresh look at the franchise. You can check out some more images from this one here.


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, illustrated by Jemima Catlin

Catlin’s illustrations really bring Tolkien’s tale to life. The Hobbit is Tolkien’s most self-contained book, which makes it a great choice for younger readers. Of course, adults can enjoy this awesome illustrated edition, too!


The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen by Jane Austen

This is actually more than one book, so we’re kind of cheating, but trust us – this is a wonderful little collection. This complete set of Jane Austen’s books comes with illustrations included. In keeping with the tone, all of the books are illustrated by 19th-century plates.


Joyland by Stephen King, illustrated by Glen Orbik, Susan Hunt Yule, Robert McGinnis, Mark Summers, and Pat Kinsella

Five different artists contributed to this awesome illustrated edition. That includes Glen Orbik, who did the awesome throwback-style cover. There’s even an illustrated map of the Joyland park inside this edition.


The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner takes place in a place – Afghanistan – that’s very unfamiliar to most of us. But this illustrated edition makes things a lot easier by grounding the setting with compelling images. In this case, the book is illustrated by photographs, which makes the story seem all the more real.


The Princess Bride by William Goldman, illustrated by Michael Manomivibul

The Princess Bride is a classic story, and it deserves a high-quality illustrated edition. This is that edition. Manomivibul’s illustrations really bring the magical world of The Princess Bride to life.


SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

SuperFreakonomics makes complicated concepts simple, and this illustrated edition makes things even easier to grasp. The illustrated version also comes with expanded text, for even more freaky economics revelations. It turns a cool economics book into an even cooler coffee table book.


Walden by Henry David Thoreau with photographs by Scot Miller

Thoreau’s book speaks a lot about the beauty of nature, so it makes sense that it eventually got a fully illustrated edition. This 150th anniversary edition features colorful images of picturesque Walden Pond. You’ll see why Thoreau was so taken with it.


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