"Here are 5 of my favourite picture books! Notice it’s only 5 OF them…I could probably manage a top 100! Anyway, in no particular order, here they are, and my reasons for choosing them."
The Red Tree by Shaun Tan
"This is such a stunning book. The little girl is someone we can all identify with when feeling isolated or depressed. I have shared it with children, teenagers and adults and it resonated with them all – it offers great scope for discussions. It’s just beautiful - I never get tired of looking at it."
Burglar Bill by Janet & Allen Ahlberg
"I think Janet Ahlberg was one of the reasons I became an illustrator. I just love her work – it’s so warm and gently humorous, and the details are wonderful. This lovely story about a burglar going straight is my favourite of theirs – I used to read it to my children. (Also, parents note - a very easy
costume for World Book Day!)"
"This is so hilarious…I stood in a bookshop laughing aloud and just had to buy it. Poor George wants to be good, and tries so hard to resist temptation. He reminds me of my dog, Poppy, who would feel very guilty if she did something wrong. (My other dog is far naughtier but wouldn’t feel guilty at all!) It’s a lovely way to show that we ALL make mistakes!"
Mary Howlitt's The Spider and the Fly by Tony DiTerlizzi
"This is the original 1829 poem by Mary Howlitt, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. There are so many things to love about this…I hardly know where to start. The illustrations are inspired by 1920s -30s black and white horror films, with the text just like the captions in silent movies. I love this era and the details are gorgeous, from the cloche hat on the hapless fly, to the spider’s spooky gothic abode. Also I love Halloween and always do a window display for the local children – this book goes in every year!"
Rabbityness by Jo Empson
"I did my MA in children’s book illustration with Jo, so I was lucky enough to see this wonderful book develop right from the early sketches. It deals with the difficult subject of loss - the much-loved Rabbit suddenly disappears from the forest – but it is ultimately positive, because at the bottom of the deep dark hole, the other rabbits discover all the wonderful unrabbity things dear Rabbit left behind. It’s such an uplifting book, so full of colour and movement – I just love it."
The comments on each book are by Liza Stevens.
Thank you, Liza!