Picture Book Month celebrates the beautiful objects that are picture books.
Immensely important for children and adults alike, these magical items encourage imagination, learning and reading from a young age – not to mention the fact they are full to the brim of beautiful illustrations.
In celebration of Picture Book Month, our collection of Children’s Picture Books selects the best bunch from our treasury, to help you pick the perfect read for a little one. From first books for newborns up to any age, these sweet books will inspire you.
1. Baby’s Own Aesop – Being the Fables Condensed in Rhyme with Portable Morals – Illustrated by Walter Crane
Baby’s Own Aesop – Being the Fables Condensed in Rhyme with Portable Morals is a collection of Aesop’s fables, beautifully illustrated by Walter Crane, and originally engraved and printed by Edmund Evans, in 1887.
This particular collection presents the stories in poetic form, for a younger audience to delight and revel in. Walter Crane (1845 – 1915), was an English artist and book illustrator.
He is considered to be the most influential, and among the most prolific, children’s book creator of his generation. Crane’s work is characteristically colourful and delightfully detailed, taking its inspiration from the Arts and Crafts movement, as well as the iconic child-in-the-garden motif. The artwork and the text of Baby’s Own Aesop are presented side-by-side, so that the two may be better appreciated.
2. The House That Jack Built – Illustrated By Randolph Caldecott
The House That Jack Built was one of the first two books illustrated by Randolph Caldecott originally published in 1878. It is one of the classic British nursery rhymes, and an example of a ‘cumulative tale’ – it does not tell the story of Jack’s house, or even of Jack who built the house, but instead shows how the house is indirectly linked to other things and people.
It is a favourite of children all over the world and is here accompanied by Caldecott’s beautiful and delicate colour illustrations. Randolph Caldecott (1846 – 1886) was one of the most important British illustrators of the Victorian period. He transformed the world of decorated children’s books, with his delicate yet considered drawings and imaginative subject choices. His delightful style and humour can still be enjoyed by young and old alike.
3. A Child’s Garden of Verses – Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
A Child’s Garden of Verses is a book written by Robert Louis Stevenson- a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer, most famous for penning Treasure Island, and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. His A Child’s Garden of Verses is a collection of poetry, which first appeared in 1885, under the title of Penny Whistles. It contains about 65 poems including the cherished classics ‘Foreign Children’, ‘The Lamplighter’, ‘The Land of Counterpane’, ‘Bed in Summer’, ‘My Shadow’ and ‘The Swing’.
It is here accompanied by the splendid illustrations of Jessie Willcox Smith. A prominent female illustrator in the United States during the Golden Age of American Illustration. Presented alongside the text, the illustrations bring further joy to Robert Louis Stevenson’s poetry.
4. A Apple Pie – by Kate Greenaway
A – Apple Pie is a beautifully illustrated children’s book, produced by Kate Greenaway. It contains a series of colour illustrations (for every letter of the alphabet), amusingly telling the tale of one apple pie – and the lengths the townsfolk would go to, for just one taste. They fought for it, jumped for it, mourned for it, and more!
Kate Greenaway (1846 – 1901), was a children’s book illustrator and writer and remains one of the most popular illustrators of all time. Her charming children in quaint costumes and idyllic scenes captured the imagination of the contemporary public – and continue to delight over a century after their initial publication. It is sure to be a favourite of many young readers and would make for an excellent artistic and educational text.
5. Dream Blocks – Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
Dream Blocks forms a collection of delightful children’s poems, written by Aileen Cleveland Higgins. Some long, some short – some whimsical, educational, and even moral, the verses are sure to delight any children who come across them. They include: ‘The Big Clock’, ‘A Rainy Day’, ‘The Sick Rose’, ‘A Prayer’, ‘Summer’s Blessing’, ‘The Moon Path’, and many others.
The poems are also accompanied by the beautifully delicate illustrations of Jessie Willcox Smith. Jessie Willcox Smith (1863 – 1935) was one of the most prominent female illustrators in the United States during the Golden Age of American Illustration. She was also a prolific contributor to literary novels and magazines during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Presented alongside the text of Dream Blocks, her illustrations bring further joy to Aileen Cleveland Higgins’s poetry.
6. Mother Goose – The Old Nursery Rhymes – Illustrated by Arthur Rackham
Mother Goose – The Old Nursery Rhymes is a collection of fairy tales and nursery rhymes, penned by the legendary (and only some claim imaginary), ‘Mother Goose.’ They have inspired many folklorists and illustrators (including Charles Perrault, Arthur Rackham, Jessie Willcox-Smith and Jennie Harbour) – as well as countless generations of children and parents.
The Old Nursery Rhymes are accompanied by a series of dazzling colour illustrations by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939). In the foreword, Rackham states that he has ‘chosen those rhymes I knew and liked best in my own nursery days… altering and adding to our old friend Mother Goose’s original collection.’ Presented alongside the text, his illustrations further refine and elucidate the wonderful poetry of ‘Mother Goose Rhymes’.