One of the things I love most about picture books is the way they can make you feel. My last post was about the power of picture books, and to me, a good picture book is just as emotive as a novel, sometimes even more so. So in this blog post, I thought I’d write about some of my favourite picture books, and the reactions they evoke.
The Ones That Make Me Laugh…
Diary of a Wombat
I adore the wombat of this book. He’s just fantastic. I love wombats anyway (what’s not to love about an animal that digs a hole just big enough to fit into, and sleeps in the sun most of the time? In my next life, I’ll be a wombat, please) and this story always makes me laugh, especially now I have a toddler of my own. There are a lot of similarities between that irrational wombat and toddlers, if you ask me…
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch
“Ah, well, such is life”, are the final words from Mr Grinling and is a catchphrase that has been regularly repeated by my mum and I over the years. This book is just lovely, and I laugh every time the poor cat, Hamish, gets put in the basket to chase away the scavenging seagulls, but is far too travel sick to do anything about them. As soon as the basket appears in the pictures, my son points at it, shouting, ‘Hamish! Hamish!’ with glee.
The Ones That Make Me Cry…
Granpa by John Burningham
I’ve always struggled to get through this book without crying, for many reasons. It’s so beautiful, and so simple, and yet there’s so much going on. A wonderful depiction of a grandparent/child relationship, and the huge gap a grandparent leaves behind after they’re gone.
I’ve loved the Mog books from childhood, so when the last Mog book came out I wanted to read it, but I also knew it was probably going to make me cry. I didn’t realise quite how much… I made the mistake of picking it up in Waterstones, and ended up a blubbering mess in the middle of the children’s section. Beautiful book, though, and a fantastic way of introducing the topic of death to youngsters.
The Ones That Make Me Reminisce…
Brambly Hedge – The Secret Staircase
Brambly Hedge makes me think about my childhood, and gets me feeling all nostalgic. I remember being transfixed by the secret world in the hedgerows. This story in particular stands out, I remember loving all the secret rooms Primose and Wilfred find, and their special costumes, and the idea of a midwinter festival.
Hairy McLary from Donaldson’s Dairy
This book is wonderful, and a must for any dog lover (or cat lover, come to that). I didn’t have this myself, but my younger brother did, and in our house the milk was delivered from Robinson’s Dairy, so we used to change the words. A brilliant rhyming pattern, making it gorgeous to read out loud, with a fantastic angry cat noise to make when the dogs meet Scarface Claw, the toughest tom in town.
These are some of my favourites, although obviously there are hundreds more I didn’t include. What about you? Which picture books make you happy, or sad, or remember your childhood?
Visit me online at www.karensaunders.co.uk
Follow me on Twitter @writingkaren