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The Art of Picture Book Covers: Our Favourites for 2018

November 8, 2018

If you love beautiful picture books then we know that when we ask you to nominate your favourite picture book cover, an exquisite image will spring to mind in an instant.

It may be a 2018 Children’s Book Council Award Winner such as Hark it’s Me Ruby Lee by Lisa Shanahan, illustrated by Binny, A Walk in the Bush by Gwyn Perkins or The Great Rabbit Chase by Freya Blackwood. Then again, your favourite may be the Australian Book Designers Association’s choice, Under the Love Umbrella by Davina Bell.

Or, you may love some of the stunning books included on the recently released short list for the Prime Ministers Literary Awards such as Feathers by Phil Cummings, illustrated by Phil Lesnie and Storm Whale by Sarah Brennan and Jane Turner.

Whatever your choice there is no denying that there are some awesome artists and designers working in the world of children’s books.

Here’s out list of favourite covers for 2018:

Wide Big World by Maxine-Beneba Clarke, illustrated by Isobel Knowles

Wide Big World has been stunningly illustrated by award-winning Isobel Knowles who hand painted and collaged cut each page. One of our favourite picture books this year, you will see when you are reading it to your little ones that it has a wonderful – and important – message to share about inclusivity and the value of difference.  Wide Big World is the perfect book to read just prior to starting pre-school or school, but middle primary would also get something out of it.

Grab a cup of tea and spend some time indulging yourself by pouring through the beautiful, colourful pages. It would also make a special gift for all the little kids in your life.

Read our full review | Take a look inside

All the Ways to be Smart by Davina Bell, illustrated by Alison Colpoys

While Davina Bell and Alison Colpoys may have won the Australian Book Designers Association award for Under the Love Umbrella released in 2017, and the ABIA award for The Underwater Fancy Dress Parade, this year they have created another very special book with All the Ways to be Smart.

This eye-catching cover frames a book about intelligence and the many and varied forms it can come in – focusing on how being clever is about how you express yourself and a cause for celebrating individuality.

Take a look at this interview with Davina and Alison.

A Monster in My House by The Umbilical Brothers, illustrated by John Potma

Dedicated to the curious and kind creatures everywhere, the pages of this book are filled with intricately drawn pictures of gruesome yet strangely appealing monsters. Thanks to stunning illustrations by German artist Johan Potma, there is a very hairy, one eyed creature with a green tongue, toe nails and finger nails; an octopus style, drooling parent and baby; one monster so large its head has broken through the roof of the kitchen as it casually stirs a monster stew, making you wonder what monsters put in their stew? The list goes on and so do the weird and wonderful monsters.

There are little details throughout A Monster in My House and the more you look at each of the pictures, the more you’ll discover with little jokes on shopping lists, in book titles and miniature paintings on the house walls.

Read our review

A Day at the Show by Gwyn Perkins

Gwyn Perkins won the Children’s Book Council Award this year for A Walk in the Bush and A Day at the Show continues to deliver. An animal and nature lover, Gwyn’s beautiful pictures take the reader on a thoughtful and meandering story. Read our interview with Gwyn Perkins earlier this year here.

Cicada by Shaun Tan

A master communicator of international repute, the fact that Shaun Tan can create such strong emotion in a picture book with so few words is in itself, astounding. The cover speaks for itself – who can resist this little Cicada?

Read our review

This is just a taste of the amazing creations on bookshelves in bookshops, libraries and homes across Australia.

What are your favourite covers? We’d love to hear from you.


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