PICTURE BOOK PASSION: FIVE FAVES
It is no secret that I first fell in love with children’s literature when I was a young primary school teacher – and my first children’s lit crush was for picture books. Now many years on, with my children grown and me no longer teaching, I really miss reading picture books (other than my own) aloud to young kids.
Last week was wet and wild so, stuck indoors and with my structural edit sent off to my publisher, I spent an afternoon hitting my picture book collection, immersing myself in their deliciousness and reading them aloud to myself. It was more fun than I care to admit.
Here are five faves from my bookshelf at home.
FOX – MARGARET WILD AND RON BROOKS
This book is exquisite. It is a chilling tale of friendship, betrayal and cruelty. I never fail to be moved each and every time I read it. And I often go back to it when I feel the need to make my ears happy by reading Margaret’s gorgeous language. This language and the masterful storytelling combined with Ron’s haunting illustrations and the unique design puts this book into a class of its own.
HERMAN AND ROSIE – GUS GORDON
This book about loneliness and connection, city living and the power of music always leaves me with a smile on my face. Great characterisation, a fabulous setting (New York, no less), plenty of heart and terrific storytelling all brought to vivid life by Gus’s gorgeous pictures. A delight – and a great example of how to tell a complex story simply.
ROSE MEETS MR WINTERGARDEN – BOB GRAHAM
I am a huge Bob Graham fan. Bob’s books are my go-to when I want to surround myself with gentleness, humanity, kindness, love and wonder. I adore Bob’s diverse characters and families and also his subtlety. Rose Meets Mr Wintergarden is one of his early books and is still one of my all-time faves. Beautiful gentle storytelling with plenty to say. A story to warm your heart.
THIS IS NOT MY HAT – JON KLASSEN
I love this one for its simplicity and for its subversiveness. And it’s dark humour. It is also an excellent example of how the visual story can add so much to a written story. I use this book a lot when talking about writing picture books.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE – MAURICE SENDAK
This is the book that started my passion for picture books. I never tire of it. I love its wild use of imagination, its adventure, its glorious language and of course the art. Let the wild rumpus begin!