A few years before the field guide was my actual first book, the Golden Nature Guide "Stars" by Zim and Baker, which I repeatedly read cover to cover, especially enjoying the colorful Herzsprung-Russel and constellation diagrams.
My favorite constellation diagram in "Stars" was (and is) that of Scorpius, on which are plotted (though not labelled) the open clusters M6 and M7 in the Tail of Scorpius and the globulars M4 and M80 near Antares. This makes the constellation look very rich in interesting things (which it of course is). I started constellation tracing in October so I had to wait until late April to see Scorpius. My first view of it was of the arc of three stars that mark its Head ascending in the SE from behind some distant severe thunderstorms. In a little while Antares could be seen through the cirrus deck of the storms. It was a magnificent light show.
I also was especially intrigued by the chart of the south circumpolar constellations in "Stars". It's a beautiful chart: a deep blue or violet background with the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds a powder blue, and lots of 1st magnitude stars, and constellations with exotic southern names. It gave me a fascination for the southern skies that has lasted to this day, though I've never had the opportunity to actually see the south circumpolar heavens.
I think the constellation lines in "Stars" are excellent because they're simple and straightforward and don't use a lot of 4th mag stars. For a complete novice out under a really dark sky the simplest constellation lines using only the brightest stars is best. It's amazing how star-rich a really dark sky can be.