By Rebecca Reed
They say “never judge a book by its cover”, and whilst this saying is true there are those among us that will always look at the illustrations of a children’s novel before reading the blurb. We have handpicked a selection of our favourite books which have some truly magnificent illustrations, which in our opinion make the books timeless.
- The illustrations of E.H. Shepard.
Many children grew up with the adventures of Winnie the Pooh and The Wind and the Willows, and in our opinion they are two books that really show off England in the best light, with our vast countryside’s and very intriguing country wildlife. They really are the epitome of English country living.
E.H. Shepard illustrated both these books and both sets of drawings capture the imaginations of many generations. Yes, in later years they both got the Disney treatment, but the original illustrations are the pictures that many adults these days fall in love with.
The Wind and the Willows – Kenneth Grahame Author/ E.H. Shepard Illustrator
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne Author/ E.H. Shepard Illustrator
- John Tenniel the illustrator for Alice in Wonderland
The original illustrator of Alice in Wonderland, the little black and white cartoon girl who travels through a quite frankly, insane world where “nothing is as it seems and everything is as it was”. The illustrations are the polar opposite to the Disney-fied version that many generations know Alice to be, and whilst the animated film is a fun alternative the dark illustrations in the book just make Wonderland seem a little bit more mysterious.
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll Author/John Tenniel Illustrator
- Illustrations from Quentin Blake
The partnership between Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl is one that many generations will appreciate and love. With Roald Dahls quirky stories in a tone of voice and language that we know and love today made him an unstoppable force in children’s literature. When you see a Quentin Blake illustration you do automatically think of Roald Dahl’s stories or more recently David Walliams.
David Walliams has taken the children’s fiction genre by storm, with his humour reverberating through his pages to the illustrations by Quentin Blake, it is no wonder that his books are frequently in our bestsellers.
The Twits – Roald Dahl Author/ Quentin Blake Illustrator
Gangsta Granny – David Walliams Author/ Quentin Blake Illustrator
- Alex Scheffler the illustrator for Julia Donaldson’s children’s books.
We know the stories, we have read them over and over to our children. The neat little rhymes and the fantastic drawings have made Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler the most well-loved children’s double act of this generation.
Each character is drawn with such precision that their personality just oozes from the page. This made the TV adaptations of The Gruffalo, and Room on a Broom so seamless. We hope to see many more from this duo.
Room on a Broom – Julia Donaldson Author/ Alex Scheffler Illustrator
- Raymond Briggs – Illustrator and Author of The Snowman
How can we go through some of our most loved illustrators in children’s fiction and forget this brilliant artist?
Raymond Briggs, the man behind The Snowman, Ethel and Ernest and many more has created such beautiful pieces of art in his wordless picture books. Even though the film was adapted with a more festive feel, the animation in the movie was completely based off of Raymond Briggs’ original drawings. This story and this author will always be one of our favourites here at World of Books.
The Snowman – Raymond Briggs Author and Illustrator
With so many brilliant illustrations in fantastic children’s books, and we would of course love to list them all however, here are a few honourable mentions – Dr Seuss, Meg and Mog, Old Bear Stories, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Make sure you stop by our children’s fiction here. Have we left out your favourite illustrator? Let us know in the comments below.