Because this is Children’s Book Week, I want to show you some of the books I have enjoyed over the years with my children. Even though they are teenagers now, we still have a huge collection of picture books that I couldn’t possibly part with! Here are some of the best ones:
Bathtime Boots by Satoshi Kitamura is a board book we used to love for its colourful and wonky illustrations. All the tables and floors are crooked, and Boots the cat has big scared eyes as he searches for a place to hide. He does not want to take a bath! We have several books by Satoshi Kitamura and his quirky style is fantastic!
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert is another beautifully illustrated book. I’m sort of cheating here because I never read this one with my kids. I discovered the amazing work of American artist Lois Ehlert quite recently, so I put this alphabet book in my list just because I love it! She makes those fabulous fruits and vegetables by painting paper with coloured inks and then cutting and pasting them on a white background. Delicious!
Willy and Hugh by Anthony Browne is one of my all-time favourite books. We had a copy of it when my kids were small and read it a lot. Then it got lost, and even though the kids are big now, I just had to get another copy! Willy is such a great character, and we love the way he and Hugh help each other out of sticky situations. I used to think Anthony Browne was an American writer because my friend Elizabeth (who makes beautiful bracelets) sent me a signed copy of Willy Dreams from America. Actually he is British and was the Children’s Laureate a few years ago.
Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by D.B. Johnson is an American book, all about a man called Henry David Thoreau who loved the outdoors and believed in living very simply. This story is about two friends who travel to Fitchburg. Henry decides to walk and enjoy nature on the way, while his friend spends ages doing odd jobs to earn enough money to take a train. D.B. Johnson‘s illustrations are very special, and we like the way he has made Henry into a bear.
When I was little my favourite writer was Dr. Seuss. The silly rhyming stories were great for learning to read, and because of the rhyme you could soon learn them off by heart. We have almost every Dr. Seuss book there is, and the one I enjoyed reading to my kids the most was How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I just loved reading lines like, “Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two” and “Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most unpleasant, Around the whole room, and he took every present!” It is thanks to Dr. Seuss that I love to write rhyming stories myself.
My kids have grown up in Scotland, and we discovered a great series of books by Aileen Paterson called the Maisie Books. Maisie is a clever little kitten who gets in trouble for speaking her mind. There are lots and lots of Maisie books, and the one I have chosen to show you is Maisie Goes to School. It was a great way for my daughter to learn what it would be like at school before she got there! We have also travelled to the Amazon, Japan, Paris and New York with Maisie, and she always has fantastic adventures.
The last picture book I want to show you is Blue Rabbit and Friends by Chris Wormell. As you can see, the illustrations are very striking, with bold colour and strong black outlines. The story is very funny, with all the friends living in houses that are completely wrong for them. Bear lives in a pool of water, rabbit lives in a dark cave, goose lives in a kennel and dog has a burrow. They are all unhappy in their homes, and it takes them a while to figure out that they need to swap! But instead of moving into the burrow, blue rabbit sets off on his bicycle for an adventure. Chris Wormell is a very talented artist who does lots of different types of work (not just children’s books). His style is very distinctive and I just love it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my favourite picture books. Let me know which books are special to you!