When we interviewed Jessica Walton, author of the new picture book Introducing Teddy, we asked about her favourite kids’ books – and she gave so many great choices we thought she deserved her own list!
BRK: What were the picture books you loved growing up, and which do you most enjoy reading to your son?
Wow, I love this question. Prepare yourself, it’s a long list, and this is the abridged version.
Some of my favourites as a child were Mr Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, Where the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeannie Baker, Grandpa’s Slippers by Joy Watson and illustrated by Wendy Hodder, Rose Meets Mr Wintergarten by Bob Graham, and the delightfully creepy Grandad’s Gifts by Paul Jennings and illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe.
As I got older I got really into Dinotopia by James Gurney (my brother and I learned to write the Dinotopian alphabet from a bookmark!). The illustrations were exquisite and the story just lights up kids’ imaginations.
We have way too many picture books. I keep justifying it to my wife as ‘important research’. My favourite books to read to my son at the moment are Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect both by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts, I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen, Just the Way We Are by Jessica Shirvington and Claire Robertson (lots of different kinds of families), and The Journey by Francesca Sanna (about a refugee family).
Still, it’s usually Errol that chooses the books! We often read a few to him each night, and then he hops into bed to ‘read’ some more on his own before bedtime. The first book my son was ever super into was What Will Baby Do? by Mike Dumbleton and illustrated by Craig Smith. It was given to us as part of the Victorian Government’s Young Readers Program. He chose to read it SO many times it fell apart, and by then my wife and I were pretty relieved!
My son’s current favourites are Have You Seen the Crocodile and Pardon? Said the Giraffe by Colin West, A Forest and A River by Marc Martin, Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo, The Very Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith and illustrated by Katz Cowley, I’m a Dirty Dinosaur by Janeen Brian and illustrated by Ann James, and a book version of the film My Neighbour Totoro that I bought in Japan.
(Image thanks to Jessica Walton)