I have always been quite evangelical of my love of book illustrations and for children’s book, I believe they are integral to the story and can complement a book so well and take it to the next level in a child’s reading experience.
Last week over at http://www.blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/ they featured an interview with the wonderful Oliver Jeffers and I have been inspired to look at his and other work more. And for that reason, Oliver Jeffers is the first to feature in my #Tuesday Choosings.
1. Oliver Jeffers is author and illustrator to ‘Lost and Found’, ‘The Great Paper Caper’, ‘How to Catch a Star’, ‘The Way Back Home’ and ‘The Incredible Book Eating Boy’.
The first book I read of his was ‘Lost and Found’ and I subsequently watched the 30 minutes animation which was shown during Christmas 2008 and it really captured the essence of the story. The picture book has a haunting silence to it in which the characters speak through the illustrations. The friendship felt between the young boy and the lost penguin who arrives on his doorstep is immediate even if the boy does not realise this himself.
Each of Jeffers’ books have a sense of humour and it feels like he is letting us into his own personal scrapbook of ideas rather than a composed book. There’s an important element of whimsy which underlies the beautiful tales and often important messages. A talented writer and illustrator who evokes such emotion, I can’t wait for what comes next.
Visit his website at http://www.oliverjeffers.com
2. Quentin Blake- An obvious choice perhaps but worthy of being on this list. He brought such joy to my reading when I was younger and I have wallowed in rediscovering his work at an older age.
Quentin Blake is best known for his affiliation with author Roald Dahl, illustrating for books such as ‘James and the Giant Peach,’ The BFG’, ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ – (my favourite) and ‘Matilda’. Today, Dahl’s writing goes hand in hand with Blake’s illustrations and we just couldn’t have it any way. No other illustrator has had such an influence on children’s books and I love just how passionate Blake is about his work and subsequently, how much joy he brings to a child’s reading experience. Visit his site http://www.quentinblake.com
3. Judith Kerr brings so much happiness to so many people. Author of the ‘Mog the cat’ books and ‘The Tiger who came to tea’ her writing and illustrations are simple; traditional and most importantly, familiar.
I’ve fallen back in love with the Mog books recently. I think it has something to do with me getting nostalgic about my cats Rolo and Scrumpy. The premise of the Mog books is simple; a cat and her family. Mog is a forgetful cat, she can be scared, she can be lazy and she can be silly, but she’s loyal, often saves the day and brings the family together. No more “Bother that cat!” Judith Kerr is also wrote her biography ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’ and this tale of her childhood is now considered a classic educational book alongside Anne Frank. Judith Kerr is a wonderful, wonderful woman who through her simple, childlike illustrations (and I mean that in the highest compliment possible) brings a sense of family to every childs life. After reading each Mog book, I want to be part of that family and that’s just a great thing. Or, at the very least I go and find my cats and give them a big cuddle.
4. You can probably all see right through me- another author/illustrator whose stories are based on families. Well yes, I relish the family dynamic but also recognise the importance of representation to a child.
Jill Murphy had to feature on here, she was my inspiration for this blog which is aptly named after one of her ‘Large’ family books ‘Five Minutes Peace’. As I grew up my picture books were stored away in the roof to make room for new ones, so for a large part I forgot all about them. Then I started working as a bookseller; bad for my bank balance, great for my memories. I saw this book sitting on the bookshelf and there was the undenying feeling of nostalgia and happiness. I love that a book can just take us back. That is a sign of a good book, when it evokes feelings, when you get a response from it. Jil Murphy is quite diverse in her illustration style as she is also the author of the ‘Worst Witch’ series, another favourite of mine and one of the few ‘series’ which I stuck with. The sketchy black and white style of these illustrations work well with the hap-hazard character of Mildred.
5. Who knew the tales of a little girl and a blue kangaroo could be so successful? Emma Chichester-Clark has charmed the nation with her beautiful illustrative work.
Emma Chichester-Clark has also recently illustrated a new picture book edition of Alice in Wonderland. Her illustrations in all her books are rich and diverse with colour. Emma attended the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art where she was taught by Quentin Blake. Emma’s career has spanned many years and yet her style has unwavered because of its timeless ability to capture a child’s imagination. The simple character of Lilly is innocent and takes you back to a time where you sat in your room and had favourite toy. Mine was a little hedgehog called harry. Lily’s is a kangaroo called Blue.
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