What’s your favourite illustrated children’s book?

The British Library is hosting an exhibition of illustrated children’s classics. What’s your favourite illustrated children’s book?

Felt Mistress

One of my favourite illustrated children’s books is Mr Lunch Takes A Plane Ride by J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh. This was a tricky decision as I love all of the Mr Lunch books (I almost picked Free Lunch purely for the fact it features both a good and an evil elephant) what’s not to love about a ‘canine bird-chaser extraordinaire’. My favourite spread is when he is saying goodbye to his friends which include a monkey, a fireman and a chair. Beautifully designed and illustrated (my copy even has free stickers!) and with end papers I’d gladly have as wallpaper.

Felt Mistress

Greg Vallance

I have very little recollection of illustrated children’s books from my own childhood, but I guess there must have been some…So my choice is based on the books I read to my kids when they were little. I suspect the one that they would choose would be either The Hungry Caterpillar or The Tiger who came to Tea, but my choice would be The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren, who also wrote Pippi Longstocking, illustrated by Harald Wiberg From the first page the illustrations of moonlit scenes in the frozen north sent shivers down my back. It some how made the room feel colder and matched the mysterious words of the poetic text beautifully. Despite the cold atmosphere, the charm of the illustrations warmed the heart and left us with a rosy glow. Lovely stuff!

Greg Vallance, managing partner, creative, Holmes & Marchant

Heidi Lightfoot

 Having been given the name of a children’s book character it was inevitable that I’d spend my youth immersed in classic books. With so many gems it’s hard to pick just one.  Tove Jansson’s Moomin books transported me to a magical Finish forest, Winnie the Pooh to an English wood, whilst my treasured Ladybird books fuel my curiosity, even today. With two young boys I’m now discovering new favourites. Donald Crews Freight Train has a graphic simplicity and a great rhythm to read and anything by Lois Ehlert is wonderful. Her illustrations are a bold riot of colour. The printed book will live forever in our house!

Heidi Lightfoot, creative director/founder, Together Design

Jon Daniel

I love the style of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. And from more recent times I really like the work of illustrator, Sara Fanelli (Wolf!, A Dog’s Life) . But Dr. Seuss has got to be one of my all-time favourites. I love a lot of the illustration and animation from the 50s and 60s which this typifies. He’s a cool iconic character with a funky, trippy vibe and I have enjoyed reading the rhyme style story narrative to both my boys when they were kids.

Jon Daniel, independent creative director

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  • George Walker November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Around the world with Mouk is a must buy, Marc Boutavant’s illustrations are full of detail that fascinate my two girls, at the other extreme, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book is illustrated beautifully by Chris Riddell, I love his own books about Ottoline, rich in details and dark humour.
    I agree you can’t have too many illustrated books.

  • Louise Kyme November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Tough question. I’m picking favourite(s) based on illustrations, not necessarily story alone. In no particular order: Treasure Island, N C Wyeth. Tarzan, Byrne Hogarth. Rupert Bear, Mary Tourtell & Alfred Bestall. But most of all, I loved the dark, dark tales of Bunty. Orphan girls, evil dolls, and nasty stepmothers. Modern day fairy tales. Always beautifully drawn, it’s a shame the illustrators were never credited.

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