As the biggest celebration of books, World Book Day continues to grow. The world comes together to celebrate authors, illustrators, books and reading. Many children’s illustration books have been around for about half a century and they remain as important now as they were then. With bold illustrations, different styles and amazing stories it’s no wonder they are still so popular. As many get dressed up as their favourite literary character, we take a look at our favourite illustrated children’s books.
The Cat in the Hat – Dr.Seuss:
The cat in the hat was first published in 1957 but it remains as one of the favourite children’s books to this day. Wearing a red and white striped hat, a red bow tie and causing mischief, he is a fun loving character!
With a distinctive style, Dr.Seuss is mostly known for his rhymes and nonsense. His illustration style, one that is partly inspired by classroom doodles and the surrealist movement, is carried through his other books, such as: Horton Hears A Who, The Lorax and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson:
Illustrated by Axel Scheffler, the Gruffalo is a stunning book collection. A story that follows a mouse’s journey through the woods, he comes face to face with a fox, an owl, a snake and a gruffalo.
Using watercolours and a pen, Axel Scheffler’s style is one that is seen a lot today. Adding gentle detail to characters, it gives each one a friendly nature about them. As well as the Gruffalo, Axel has worked on: Stick Man, A Squash and a Squeeze and Room on the Broom.
Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak:
Where the wild things are follows the adventures of Max and was first published in 1963. The adventure starts by Max’s bedroom becoming a jungle, dressed as a wolf he sails to an island where the wild things live. Intimidating them, he becomes king but deciding he is lonely, returns home.
As someone who was obsessed with death and drew inspiration from that obsession, Maurice Sendak is possibly one of the greatest children illustrator’s. His books are full of things that could eat you, and so often they try to! Some of his other books include: Little Bear and In the Night Kitchen.
We’re going on a bear hunt – Michael Rosen:
Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, this story follows a family and their dog going on the hunt for a bear. They have to battle snowstorms, wading through a river and splashing through mud. Once finding the bear, they run home and hide under duvets as they got scared!
Helen Oxenbury’s style is very illustrative, with simplistic colours and scenes full of detail, the stories bound out of the books and capture your imagination. Some of the other books that Helen has worked on include: Our Dog, Charley’s First Night and Captain Jack and the Pirates.
Harry Potter Series – JK Rowling:
Many versions have been done of the Harry Potter series, however, Jim Kay’s versions are beautiful and imaginative. They explore the world of Harry Potter and visually describe what the school, characters and animals in the potter universe look like.
Jim Kay’s work is beautiful, with a realistic undertone and a feel of being hand painted, the characters seem to come to life and tell their own story. As well as the Harry Potter series, Jim has worked on: Bugs and has done illustrations for the WW1 book: The Great War.
The BFG – Roald Dahl:
Famously illustrated by Quentin Blake, The Dahl books are very much still popular today. The BFG is about Sophie meeting the Big Friendly Giant (BFG), it’s an adventure that takes them all the way to the Queen!
Being very well known for his style, Quentin Blake is probably one of the most celebrated and famous illustrators. His style, which looks like rough sketches, are actually beautiful watercolours that he has planned and prepared for. As well as the work he has done with Roald Dahl, he has illustrated for John Yeoman, Michael Rosen and Joan Aiken.