Last week I promised to blog about contemporary kids’ books that I thought might become classics, that might be read by our children’s children in the (hopefully!) distant future. Mem Fox is almost always the first children’s author mentioned in this type of discussion and, while my kids do love Possum Magic, we all think that some of her other books are more charming. We particularly love the ones that have been illustrated by Kerry Argent, who is a fantastic illustrator. So Wombat Divine, about a little wombat desperate for a role in the annual nativity play, is our favourite Fox, followed closely by Sleepy Bears, another Fox/Argent collaboration. And I can’t move on from Mem Fox without mentioning Where is the Green Sheep? which both my girls loved from the time they were about 10 months old and knew by heart before they were 2.
Now back to Kerry Argent. She also illustrated Margaret Wild’s Miss Lily’s Fabulous Pink Feather Boa, which is about the quest of the last Potoroo in Australia to find some friends, which she does with the help of a feather boa belonging to a crocodile. It might sound a bit loopy but it’s a beautiful book.
Edward the Emu and its sequel Edwina the Emu have been solid favourites in our house. Edward and Edwina’s escapades, coupled with the rollicking rhyme, mean these books get pulled off the shelf time and time again. And Rod Clements’ pictures of an emu in a ballet tutu, or an emu standing on a lion’s head, are great fun.
What else? Kisses for Daddy by Fraces Watts and David Legge is a gorgeous book and made my husband realise that his daughter’s preference for goodnight kisses from Mummy instead of Daddy was obviously a common phenomenon. Part of the game of reading the book is finding the different animals cleverly hidden in what are, to my mind, some of the most stunning pictures I’ve seen in a children’s book.
Moving away from books by Australian authors, the two consistent stayers in our home are the Maisy books – which I can’t quite see the charm in but my children love nevertheless – and the Olivia books, about a pig who, while she might dream of being a ballerina just like most little girls, is anything but a traditional little girl.
I’m sure I’ve missed lots of fantastic books. Let me know which ones you and your children love and find yourself returning to again and again.