With this in mind, The British Library has turned to writer and illustrator Matthew Eve to curate Picture This: The Children’s Illustrated Classics.
Eve has set out to show how classic children’s books are often remembered fondly because of the artistic interpretation of the illustrator and their relationship with the story.
In some cases the exhibition looks at different artists’ interpretation of the same story, proving that our memory of characters is bound up in the interpretation of particular illustrators.
Eve says, ‘If we recall our favourite books from childhood, it’s likely the illustrations will come to mind as readily the story.
‘Those magical pictures leave an indelible mark and remain with us for life, helping to shape and develop our imagination. Whether our image of Willy Wonka or Augustus Gloop was drawn by Quentin Blake or Faith Jaques, each of us has “our” version which we continue to enjoy with subsequent generations of children.’
The exhibition will feature illustrations from Just So Stories; The Iron Man; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; The Wind in the Willows; Paddington Bear; Peter Pan and Wendy; The Hobbit; The Borrowers; The Secret Garden; and The Railway Children.
The exhibition features filmed interviews with illustrators Lauren Child, Ian Beck, Michael Foreman, and David Roberts as well as Paddington Bear author Michael Bond. A series of associated events is running alongside the exhibition.
Picture This: Children’s Illustrated Classics runs until 26 January 2014 at The British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1.