With World Book Day fast approaching, we’ve been thinking about what makes a good story – especially for little ones who aren’t yet reading themselves.
The picture-book market has evolved a lot in the last few years, and even a cursory glance at the children’s section in your local bookshop will reveal a cornucopia of beautifully designed books. But words matter just as much as pictures, and sometimes stories can struggle to live up to the illustrations. When both elements come together, however, the results are joyous – especially for parents, who are sure to be reading their little ones’ favourites fifteen times a day for the foreseeable future.
To help alleviate the agony of dull or cliched books, we’re showcasing three talented picture-book makers who marry arresting artwork with compelling, clever, surprising stories – stories told in words that are a pleasure to read aloud.
Meet your new favourite storytellers…
Estonian illustrator and author Piret Raud was born into a family of children’s book creators, so her success in her native country shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
We love her offbeat characters, which include an empty house in search of a resident (‘The Story of the Little House Who Wanted to Be a Home’) and a songless bird who learns to speak through a trumpet (‘Trööömmmpffff or Eli's Voice’), and her illustrations, which riff on classic folkloric motifs while remaining completely modern.
Where to start? New work ‘The Ear’ (set for publication on 21 February 2019) tells the entrancing tale of a disembodied ear – that of a certain Mr Vincent Van Gogh? – in search of belonging.
Rome native Marianna Coppo says her childhood self was much drawn to the world of books and images, though she didn’t immerse herself in picture-books until she began studying illustration in adulthood.