Monday, April 4, 2011
Reference guide to children's books
I went to a lunch for International Children's Book Day this weekend in Hobart. It was a fabulous event because I met some very funny and lively local authors and illustrators, and also won a lucky door prize: a reference book called "1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up" (Octopus Books, 2009, ed. Julia Eccleshare, link here, list of books referenced here). Judging by the reactions of everyone else at the table, none of us have grown up and I'll be lending this book out once I've read all 960 pages.
The book is divided into sections by age group (0-3, 3+, 5+, 8+ and 12+) and organised within sections by date from as early as 550 BC (Aesop's Fables) and 1392 (Japanese classic 'Tales of Otogizoshi') to 2007. Reviewed books are from around the world. Each book has a review of about three paragraphs, and for most there's a colour reproduction of the cover or an illustration. It's an excellent resource for authors and illustrators because it explains the philosophy behind the books and the reasons for their success - for example, how Dick Bruna's 'Miffy' series was created as an alphabet of simple, unambiguous pictures, inspired by Matisse. The reviewed books also provide a jumping-off point for finding other books in a series. If I don't find time to blog for the next six months, THIS BOOK IS TO BLAME!