Tag Archives: Children’s books

Richard Scarry

5 Nov

If you were not exposed to Richard Scarry as a child, then you have been deprived. You should contact your parents immediately and complain bitterly about their heinous neglect. It probably explains why you are a drug dealer or in advertising. Hilarious! Obviously, the same applies to Dr. Seuss and Charles M. Schulz. Richard Scarry does not dumb it down for his child audience, he uses precise words to accompany his illustrations. You can find words such as, “narcissus”, “plimsolls” and “xiphias”,  rather than flower, shoe and swordfish next to each drawing and know just what he is referring to.

Richards Scarry

Richard Scarry

Shoes: Vegan Wares

Brooch: Kearnsie at Little Shop of…

Skirt: Ananya at Etsy

Reading: Best Word Book Ever, (Hamlyn, 1977). Held together by sticky tape. Bad librarian.

Purple shoes


The Iron Man

2 Nov

Mask: Me

Lego Ring: Me again

Reading: The Iron Man: A Children’s Story in Five Nights, Ted Hughes, Illustrated by Andrew Davidson (Faber and Faber, 1989)

This book was written for Hughes’ two children after the suicide of their mother, Sylvia Plath. It is a short story about overcoming our fears and prejudices towards others, and choosing peace over war. The iron man is a Christ-like figure, prepared to sacrifice himself to save the world.

“I didn’t know what to tell them so I kept quiet. I don’t know what was the right thing to do, but after her death I wanted all of us to live as if we had started anew.” Ted Hughes

Many artists have represented their vision of the Iron Man. I love the illustrations by Tom Gauld. He really knows how to draw robots.

P.S. This book is the basis of an animated film The Iron Giant, a beautiful film, very different to the book. Features Vin Diesel’s finest performance.

Bear Smacks Girl!

1 Nov

Shoes: Crown Vintage

Dress: Secondhand on Ebay

Glasses Frame: Op shop

Cross face: Me

The Lonely Doll, Dare Wright, (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1985)

I did not read this as child, but I would have loved to pore over these poignant images. Hooray for reprints!

I think this is a challenging book for modern readers. It documents the complexity of relationships in an empathic and engaging way. This book makes me wonder about the life of its author.

You can find a family friend’s loving recollections, and more of Dare’s touching photography here: Dare Wright

Kate Kellaway, writer for the Observer nominated this book as one of her 10 favourite illustrated children’s books, you can find out what the others were here: The 10 best illustrated children’s books

Would you read a book containing images of corporal punishment to your child?

What’s in your Top 10?

Paper based Grover vs eGrover

1 Nov

hello, everybodeee!

The Monster at the End of This Book staring LOVABLE, FURRY OLD GROVER (Golden Books Publishing Company, 1971)

Written by: Jon Stone

Illustrated by: Mike Smollin

Sesame Workshop App (Callaway Digital Arts Inc., 2010)

Grover performed by: Eric Jacobson

Whatever format you choose, this book is great to read to children and watch their reaction the first time they hear the story.  It contains both humour and suspense, as you go with Grover on his journey through the book, and he attempts to prevent you from turning the pages to get to the end. No spoiler here.

Virtual or physical edition, your child can personalise their bookplate. One of the perks of the digital version is that it is voiced by Grover. Grover! Who, unlike other furry creatures who make the same claim, is truly lovable. I am talking about you Elmo. Another great feature of the app is that you interact with the screen and thwart an animated Grover in his endeavours to stop you turning pages, by pulling down pales and knocking down bricks. Such fun! A downside of the app, is that you have to wait for pages to load which interrupts the flow of the storytelling. An advantage of the paper based version is that you can pretend the pages are really difficult to turn, playing along with the author’s intent. A lot of children’s book apps are crap (technical library term), this one isn’t.

Can you recommend any good children’s book apps?

10,000 Dresses

31 Oct

I don’t just read old children’s books. I am interested in new ones too, I just can’t afford them as easily.

And that is one reason why you should join YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY so you can read books for FREE!

“At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better. It’s an enormous force for good.”

Guess who?

Answer: Barack Obama

Retrieved from: American Library Association

1 Dress: Secondhand on Ebay

Ring: Louey & Lane Gallery, Glen Huntly

Reading:  10, 000 Dresses, Written by Marcus Ewert, Illustrations by Rex Ray, (Seven Stories Press, 2008)

This book is different to any other I have seen, and is sure to prompt a conversation with any child you read it to. It is the story of a boy named Bailey, who does not feel like a boy and dreams about designing dresses. Not just any old dresses, but spectacularly fabulous, extraordinary dresses. My favourite is the window dress pictured. The messages about acceptance are not subtle, and at times the tone can come across as a bit self-righteous, but this is a minor complaint.  This book is as unique as Bailey’s dresses.

I think this book could spawn a series: 10,000 Shoes, 10,000 Bags, you get the idea.

Sam and the Firefly

30 Oct

Written & Illustrated by P.D. Eastman, Random House 1986

I love P.D Eastman. He is one of my favourite illustrators. His characters are so simply drawn, yet so expressive. His colour palette is restricted, but he beautifully represents the night time world of this nocturnal odd couple.

When I was a kid, Gus the firefly used to stress me out.  He did not listen, was irresponsible, did what he wanted and ended up a hero. Unfair!


I also identify with the sensible fish who appears in the Cat in the Hat. The Cat in the Hat made me even more anxious than Gus. Perhaps I have said too much.

As an adult, I begrudgingly concede that fireflies and cats in hats can be fun, sometimes.

Jeanne-Marie at the Fair

29 Oct

“In her dreams she is brave…” Françoise, Brockhampton Press Ltd, 1961.

This book is lovely. Full of sweet illustrations, sunny optimism and the simple, devoted relationship between a girl and her pet sheep.

Jeanne-Marie, role model for children (and adults) everywhere, independent,  adventurous, thoughtful, and loving.

I want a gingerbread pig too with my name in pink sugar. I suppose I could make it myself. Would probably eat it before I iced it.

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