Mum-to-3, wife-to-1 and a self-confessed picture book geek. A picture book fanatic since I can remember, I possess my own secret stash (which my children have yet to get their sticky mitts on!). I truly believe that picture books are not just for children. I’ve often bought books purely based on their covers and fabulous illustrations and I get a big kick out of a really good book. The marriage between limited text and expressive illustrations can reach a massive audience.
A few years ago, I self-published two of my own picture books, but am in utter awe of the geniuses that do this for a living and produce some utterly bedazzling treasures.
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A favoured author/illustrator often attracts me in the first instance. Sometimes the storyline will win us over. But I will also willingly admit that an eye-catching cover will often draw me in.
There are just SO many! There's a relatively new kid on the block called Maisie Shearring, whose work I really admire. She won the Bologna International Illustrator Award 2015 and she's going to be one to look out for. I've been a fan of Jon Klassen for a long time and paired with Mac Barnett, these two prove to be a formidable force in the picture book world. Jim Field is always on my list of fave illustrators and I thoroughly enjoy the way Daisy Hirst writes her stories. I could go on...
There are definitely a few that stand out. I'd like to be friends with Jill from the books written and illustrated by Lesley Barnes. She's a strong female protagonist with a sense of purpose and one who fights for what is right. I also have a soft spot for Noi from Benji Davies' The Storm Whale. He seems rather lonely and in need of a friend.
Zubert by Charlie Sutcliffe was my first ever review. I was taken by his illustrative style and his quirky story and Tate Publishing kindly sent me a review copy. Almost 500 reviews later and I'm still going strong.
The Book Of Mistakes
Terry Fan, Eric Fan
The Night Gardener
The Happy Prince
Nicola Davies, Laura Carlin
King Of The Sky
If I may, I'll choose one traditional classic and a contemporary picture book. The traditional classic for me is my very much loved copy of Not Now Bernard! by David McKee. I think the clever way in which it is written has stood the test of time and it allows children to provide their own outcomes to the tale. The contemporary picture book that I visit over and over is Petra by Marianna Coppo. It's coming out in English in the near future, but we spotted this gem on Twitter and even though it's written in Italian (and our Italian is very rusty), the context of the story isn't lost in translation. About a rock who initially looks as big as a mountain, but when a dog comes along it shows the change in perspective and how quickly her life can change when she's carried off in it's jaws. Beautifully composed and cleverly executed. One for the wish list.