The best way to tackle serious issues, said Klassen, is with a solid visual premise. Words aren’t within the jurisdiction of very young children. Their territory lies with the pictures. The trick is to allow kids to suss out the reality of a given situation via the illustrations.
“It’s not just more information,” said Klassen of moments like one in “We Found a Hat” when one turtle says he is thinking of nothing while his eyes are fixed covetously on the hat he wants to steal. “It’s actually the true story.”
So why the hat? Because hats aren’t necessary, said Klassen. If a character wanted his money back or his food back or something consequential along those lines, then the thievery would be justified. A hat is superfluous but sentimental. In these books the hats don’t even really fit the animals who want them.
“That doesn’t matter, it’s beside the point,” said Klassen. “Kids’ books should have a visual premise to solve. At the end of these books somebody better be wearing a hat.”
Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre celebrated the launch of their fourth collaboration Jinks and O’Hare Funfair Repair (Oxford University Press, £8.99) in London’s Southbank on Friday 16th September and announced the first #PicturesMeanBusiness Talk Show to be held at the Imagine Children’s Festival in February 2017.
Jinks and O’Hare Funfair Repair is set on Funfair Moon amongst the dodgems, the Space Twizzler and the Switchback of Doom.
The first #PicturesMeanBusiness Talk Show will be curated and hosted by Sarah McIntyre for an audience of children age 8+, inviting illustrators onto the sofa for an event of collaborative live drawing and interviews. At an age when many readers start to move away from pictures in books, McIntyre and guests will demonstrate why pictures and visual literacy remain relevant and important for all ages and all readers, including reluctant and dyslexic readers.
Reeve and McIntyre’s books have become synonymous with celebrating the ways in which words and pictures both complement and elevate each other. As co-authors Philip and Sarah work collaboratively on all aspects of their books, placing words and pictures on equal footing, a concept central to Sarah McIntyre’s #Pictures Mean Business campaign.
From the Edge Chronicles, to Goth Girl, to Ottoline to The Sleeper and the Spindle, revel in the illustrations of Chris Riddell, who has just been crowned children’s laureate
How lucky we are that Shirley Hughes is still producing such wonderfully written and illustrated picture books. Set at the time of the coronation of King George V, when the actual day of the procession comes round Daisy, working as a scullery maid in a big house, is left Cinderella-like alone. She ingeniously fabricates some bunting from red, white and blue laundry, including a pair of red bloomers belonging to one of the two old ladies Daisy is employed by. They are much annoyed about this, but fortunately an American niece, staying in the house at the time, helps to prevent Daisy from being dismissed. She stays on, but in disgrace, and is hardly spoken to by the other servants. Then, when a fire breaks out, it is Daisy who ‘saves the day’.
Here is Shirley Hughes herself, talking about the book:
How much do you love Chris Ridell’s illustrations?
They are wicked, really good. I’m so glad he did the book! When I first saw them, I was astonished by his pictures. It’s not like it’s exactly how I envisaged it because I’m not an artist, but I can’t even see it how I imagined it any more. Everything is pure Chris, With the exception of the Piper, who Chris first drew with a black pointy hat and beard, doing a jig. I was like no, he’s got to look like an interdimensional, manga droog. He’s got to look like someone who doesn’t belong anywhere, so I did ask for changes. I asked for pointed shoes, long straight hair, chequered eyes, but other than that it’s entirely Chris.
Very disappointed to have missed last night’s the preview party (aboard the Golden Hinde) for this jointly created book by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, out in September.
Just when you think that children’s books are getting better than ever, something like this comes along: Judith Kerr’s Creatures: A Celebration of Her Life and Work. The book is published on Thursday to mark the 90th birthday of the beloved children’s writer and illustrator, and it contains 176 large, beautiful pages of nostalgia for anyone who has been a child in the past half century.
The book is a form of autobiography, in which Kerr’s drawings from all ages illustrate her life story. It begins with a story about drawing a tulip in her German kindergarten and a sketch of a typical family outside a typical house. But it is not a typical sketch: the little girl, “Ich”, appears to be lighting a bonfire and the little boy has found a bunny rabbit under a holly bush. “I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to draw,” she writes.