We are very excited about World Book Day here at OUP Children’s Books – it’s such a brilliant way to share a love of great stories and the children’s authors and illustrators behind them. In the spirit of the occasion, we asked some of our fantastic authors and illustrators to share their favourite children’s books (a very tough choice indeed).
They’ve come up with a lovely list of books, and as a bit of fun we thought we’d add an element of competition, and see if you can correctly match the author/illustrator to their favourite book.
Answers will be posted tomorrow, so in the meantime, leave your answers in the comments section – good luck!
The favourite books
A. The House at Pooh Corner, by A. A. Milne, illustrated by E. H. Shepard
“I have always loved the gentle humour, the English landscape, the endearingly imperfect characters and most of all, the way Shepard’s illustrations seek and reveal these with every sensitive line.”
B. Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
“I loved it as a child: I could imagine it all perfectly. I wanted to hear a clock strike thirteen, to open a door and find a garden that wasn’t there in the daytime, to meet a girl from the past. My favourite scene was when Tom skates down the frozen river with Hatty, and the chapter when you find out WHY Tom can go back in the past. As an author now, I appreciate so much the actual writing of the story, the structure, the layers of emotion and the simple way it talks about that most complex of ideas: time.”
C. Angry Arthur by Hiawyn Oram & Satoshi Kitamura
“This was Satoshi Kitamura’s first book, which for an illustrator is kind of depressing because it’s just SO GOOD. I never tire of the beautiful escalation of chaos as Arthur gets angrier and angrier and ANGRIER. Satoshi has since gone on to create many beautiful books but his first one was a classic.”
D. The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business by Werner Holzwarth, illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch
“Because moles are cool and it made me laugh (plus it has a veterinary slant!)”
E. Breathe by Cliff McNish
“There are so many wonderful children’s books, I couldn’t possibly choose just one, so I drew up a long list and jabbed a finger randomly at the page. The result was the phenomenal Breathe – one the finest ghost stories I’ve ever encountered. Both thought-provoking and chilling, it examines the powerful bond between a mother and her child as well as painting one of the most original visions of the afterlife in fiction. As ever with McNish, the writing is powerful and lyrical. This tale, which creeps the flesh, tugs the heart and stirs the spirit, will stay with you long after the night light is extinguished…”
F. A Hundred Million Francs by Paul Berna
“I must have first read this in the early 1960s when an Art Student and I loved it and also the line illustrations. I liked the fact that it was set in Paris, not posh Paris but rough working class Paris, and with a very lively cast of rough child characters. It still reads well now. There is a film of the book made by Disney which is also excellent but oddly elusive and was scripted by T E B Clarke the famous writer of the Ealing Comedies.”
G. The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois
“A teacher runs away from his job to spend a year travelling by hot air balloon, but crash-lands on a volcanic island full of vast diamond mines and quirky inventors. The bizarre society they created fascinates me, and makes me wonder what kind of island world I could dream up!”
H. The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss
“I’ve loved this book ever since I was knee high to Little Cat C. It’s full of mischief, mayhem and silliness and a delight to read aloud. I remember marvelling at the ever decreasing cats under their hats and the ensuing chaos which comes to a suitably mad end. And all drawn with Dr. Seuss’s beautifully bold line and distinctive use of colour. I only wish I had some Voom to tidy up my studio sometimes!”
I. A Hole Is To Dig: A First Book of First Definitions by Ruth Krauss & Maurice Sendak
“This is the first book I ever bought. I was about 8 years old and I bought it from a book club at school. I fell in love with the simplicity and the beautiful line drawings. The expressive drawings go perfectly with the text. Things like ‘mashed potatoes are to give everybody enough’; ‘toes are to dance on’ and my all-time favourite ‘mud is to jump in and slide in and yell doodleedoodleedoo!’”
J. Struwwel Peter (Shocked-haired Peter) by Dr Heinrich Hoffmann
“I love this book for its dark macabre illustrations and layouts, and the hard edged, unsentimental rhyme that deals so memorably with children’s fears and foibles.”
K. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
“It’s just fab! About a boy call Sam Gribley who runs away from his family (thinking they are too poor to feed him) and learns to survive alone in the mountains, aided by a trained peregrine falcon called Frightful, who hunts for him. Full of notes and drawings on survival in the wild, I read it aged eight or nine and then again in my 30s and it was still just as good.”
L. The Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce
“It’s about a girl who pretends to be her brother to train as a knight in a fantasy world of magic and mythical creatures. I love the adventure and the knife edge tension of whether her true identity will be revealed.”
Please note there have been many editions of these books, and jacket images used may not be the most current edition. They have been used as visual aid only.