The “awesome” reading-themed cartoon which currently adorns our facebook page was generously created for Better Reading by Graeme Base.
Graeme was voted one of Australia’s favourite authors in a recent survey by our friends at Booktopia. He’s the author-illustrator of many iconic books including the beautifully detailed alphabet book Animalia, which has been in print for nearly 30 years (first published in 1986) and has sold over 3 million copies as well as inspiring an animated TV series and an app.
Graeme’s currently on tour promoting his brand new book, Eye to Eye, which gives readers an extraordinary perspective on the world as the child character flies high over the mountains to see things as an eagle might, then dives into the deep, goes out on a limb…
(image of Graeme signing books while on tour from Puffin Books Australia)
Other popular Base titles include The Eleventh Hour, The Sign of the Seahorse, The Waterhole and Uno’s Garden.
Graeme says HIS favourite books include ‘The Discovery of Dragons and also TruckDogs beause it was the first (and so far only) time I have written a long-form story.’
Better Reading’s favourites? It’s hard to choose, but we do have a soft-spot for My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch, which features Australian animals, travel and a lot of fun, along with rollicking rhyme which plays on Australian place names. It’s one of our dozen Australian books we’d want every child to have as part of their library.
The Last King of Angkor Wat is also rather wonderful: a fable in the classic Aesop style, which champions the qualities of strength, compassion/kindness, resilience, courage and wisdom.
Four animals sit among the ruins of Angkor Wat, talking about which of them would have made the best King in ancient times. A mysterious stranger sets them a challenge: they must test themselves by racing to a temple on a distant hilltop. Along the way each proves they have real qualities, but also reveals some failings. There’s excitement and peril in the story and lush, intricate illustrations to pore over.
This book is set in the real Angkor Wat and was inspired by Base’s travels there. Graeme says he’s often inspired by travel, either directly (for example, The Sign of the Seahorse was inspired by his first experience of scuba diving in Martinique), through a small object he sees on his trip, or ‘other times simply being away from normal life allows my mind to wander in an imaginative receptive way, and that’s when new ideas sneak in’.
Do YOUR kids have a favourite Graeme Base book? Please tell us in comments below.