In no particular order, here are Simon’s top five:
1. Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo I was ten or eleven years old when I first read Kensuke’s Kingdom, and it’s certainly a favourite from my childhood. I remember enjoying it immensely at the time, and still find it moving almost two decades later. As well as the main protagonist’s dog, the story also features orangutans. Enough said.
2. This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen It features two hat-loving fish and a shifty crab. Klassen’s illustrations are not only beautiful, but tell and achieve so much with the slightest of changes across spreads. The sparse, deadpan text is brilliantly crafted, working in perfect harmony with the illustrations so that the overall effect is hilarious. Beware the traumatic ending, though.
Oi Frog! by Kes Gray & Jim Field Packed with a wonderful collection of animals marvellously illustrated by Field, Oi Frog! is a riotous and much-loved picture book that’s been a huge success. The concept is simple but perfectly executed, and although the reader can see what’s coming, the end nevertheless remains satisfying.
Rabbit & Bear: Rabbit’s Bad Habits by Julian Gough & Jim Field This two-colour book bridges the gap between picture books and fiction and is a joy to read. The first in what’s set to be a brilliant series about the pair, it’s charming and hilarious in equal measure. Gough’s text has so much humour and the relationship between the two characters unfolds beautifully through wonderful dialogue. There’s not a word out of place – it’s a neat, succinct text, and one that benefits from Field’s immense talent.
The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield This is a story of fulfilling dreams and the importance of friendship, told via a piano-playing bear. What I really adore about this book is Litchfield’s gorgeous, atmospheric, beautifully detailed illustrations. His style is instantly recognisable and there’s an almost cinematic quality to his spreads – it’s a treat to look at.
1. Beautiful Birds by J. Roussen and Emmanuelle Walker is a beautifully illustrated bird-based alphabet book that I always turn to when in need of a bit of artistic inspiration!
A complete classic and one of my all-time favourites.
An incredible non-fiction book with rich and detailed illustrations. It’s such a lovely size, too.
A gentle, poetic narrative that visits a few different animals in their environments. Arsenault’s illustrations are some of
Needs little explanation. The dead-pan faces on the animals are fantastic!
Huge thanks to Simon and Ella for their top five animal books and don’t forget to join Booklover Jo tomorrow to find out what inspires this dynamic duo.