A raft of new illustrated children’s books are released each year. The majority are quite simple in appearance but a simple story and accompanying illustrations doesn’t mean they are easy to create. Parents often choose illustrated books for their children on the recommendation of a friend or a family member and recommendations are often few and far between but the books most readily recommended typically have two things in common. First and foremost they tell a compelling story and secondly, they solicit a strong emotional response. Given that many illustrated children’s books are less than 30 pages it’s not an easy thing for children’s authors and illustrators to achieve.
Never forget that when we think about good books it is always going to be an approximate term as views often differ. ‘Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, All Join In by Quentin Blake or The Princess and The Pea by Lauren Child might readily spring to mind. Each one completely different in terms of style and length yet each telling a compelling story that creates an emotional response.
One thing for sure is we are entering a golden age for children’s books and in particular for the illustrations within them. What used to be the dictate of major publishing houses is being challenged by today’s exciting new stars of indie publishing who are less conservative and more willing to try something new. Complex or simple, our choice of illustrated children’s books has never been greater but it’s also becoming harder to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff.
One children’s author who has built quite a following is Charles Peterson. Utilising social media he has a brilliant Twitter stream over at @NewDadNotes and has released a delightful illustrated children’s book called God Creates A Snake. We loved it and you can read our review by click on the God Creates A Snake book cover on this page.