Some picture books are artier than others. And when – to be honest – some are too cute or too childish (for me), I love it when I see pages filled with pictures I simply enjoy looking at. No matter what the story is, if there is one.
Red Sledge by Lita Judge is almost wordless, apart from expressions such as Eeeeee and Fluomp. It doesn’t need words.
The pictures are quite Christmassy, a little bit Nordic in their snowiness, and just nice. The small child who leaves the sledge outside has no idea what the wild animals nearby get up to at night. They all want a go at taking the sledge down the steep slope.
David Weisner’s Mr Wuffles is delicious to look at. I don’t totally know what I’m looking at, and neither does the cat, Mr Wuffles. But he’s intrigued. And who wouldn’t be, when a miniature spaceship crewed by weird, but minute, aliens turns up right next to him.
Being played with by a cat can make the bravest explorer travel sick. But they are at least as determined as Mr Wuffles.
Determination plays a big part in Anthony Browne’s What If…? where young Joe is going to his first party, and he and his Mum search the street for the right address. He’s scared, and who wouldn’t be when some of the houses are full of the wrong people?
But when Joe finds his party, it looks just right. His Mum worries, the way Mums do. But ‘it’s only a party.’ Fantastic illustrations of the kind I’d happily put on my wall (if there was room).
Three of Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales have been reproduced in the volume Stories for Children, illustrated by Charles Robinson. It’s the original artwork from a hundred years ago, and it is dreamlike and beautiful.
This is the kind of book that will definitely appeal to grown-ups. I’m hoping young readers will also enjoy the illustrations, which are so different from what picture books today are like.