AN ODE TO THE ILLUSTRATOR
The illustrious illustrator is a rare breed whose work dwells in the pages of books. From the fictional to the factual, from children’s books to graphic novels – here is the breeding ground for some truly extraordinary art.
Many a celebrated coupling has been forged on the anvil of illustration: Quentin Blake & Roald Dahl, Goscinny & Uderzo, and A. A. Milne & E. H. Shepard – one name forever being allied with the other. A fantastic synergy of writer and artist whose works live alongside each other in happy symbiosis, decorating the annals of storytelling. It is at this moment that books are instinctively transformed in to vessels of art whose visuals help to ratify these fantastical worlds that their authors have conjured up.
And then there is that remarkable hybrid – the rarest class of them all – when a person assimilates these two spheres in one body. Take the example of Beatrix Potter, whose art work has gained as much celebrity as the stories themselves. She and few others fall into this elusive and venerable category.
No wonder then that these book illustrations that have coloured so many of our childhoods, and parenthoods too, are such coveted items. Their brilliance is transcendental, and will continue to be so at any age. To see our favourite classic illustrated books, that should form the core of any children’s book collection please scroll down.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea
Author and Illustrator: Judith Kerr
This absolute classic by Kerr features the all-time best tea-time guest, a tiger! The illustrations combined with the wording makes this the perfect book to read to small children.
The Adventures of Asterix
Author: René Goscinny
Illustrated by: Albert Uderzo
Follow these cheeky chappies on their heroic and hilarious quests to faraway lands. These stories are jam-packed with fantasy and hilarity the perfect addition for any children’s library.
The Adventures of Tin Tin
Author and Illustrator: Hergé (aka Georges Remi)
A series of stories set during 20th century about an adventurous Belgian reporter named Tintin, who was accompanied by his faithful and loving dog, Snowy. The perfect recipe for any curious child.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Author : Lewis Carroll
Illustrated by: Sir John Tenniel
Tumble down into this wondrous literary rabbit hole to find yourself immersed in the fantastical tale that is Alice in Wonderland. A mad and imaginative book that is equally as beautiful.
George’s Marvellous Medicine
Author: Roald Dahl
Illustrated by: Quentin Blake
George Kranky, a clever young boy, creates a “Magic Medicine” for his horrid, witchy grandmother. The potion will either cure her or possibly do some real damage.
Green, Eggs and Ham
Author and Illustrated by: Dr Seuss
This book famously only uses 50 words (as a result of a bet). But it has since become a great beginner book for young children with its excellent tale of Sam-I-am pestering his friend to eat Green Eggs and Ham.
Winnie the Pooh
Author: A.A. Milne
Illustrated by: E.H Shephard
Winnie the Pooh, famous for his big heart and his big appetite for honey, has become one of the most recognised children’s characters due to this clever duo. The adorable story features the much-loved bear and all his other woodland creatures in the delightful setting of the A Hundred Acre Woods.
Where the Wild Things Are
Author and Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
This is a magical story of a young, naughty boy named Max. After wreaking havoc at home he suddenly finds himself in the mystical Land of the Wild Things. This story is a favourite amongst children for its escapist themes and imaginative landscapes.
The Story of Tracy Beaker
Author: Jaqueline Wilson
Illustrated by: Nick Sharratt
Tracy a lost tempestuous 10-year-old lives in a children’s home, coined “The Dumping Ground” by all the children. Wilson’s literary skills and Sharratt’s brilliant illustrations combine to produce this touching yet relatable book for Young Adults.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Author and Illustrator: Beatrix Potter
The marvel and magic that is Beatrix Potter and the wonderful world she created for all of us through her writing and drawing is something to behold. The Tale of Peter Rabbit is the ultimate classic in her extensive collection in our eyes.