7 Spectacularly Illustrated Children’s Books

Illustrations in children’s books are not merely for decorative purposes. They often work as a hook for children – especially early readers – and work as a parallel narrative (visual) in many cases. Being surrounded by a plethora of wonderfully illustrated children’s books, we at Hippocampus couldn’t resist the temptation of picking out a few of our all-time favourites. Having said that, there are several breathtaking picture books that we had to leave out, keeping in mind our commitment to 7 favourites. Do add in your favourites in the comments section below because we always look forward to your inputs!

‘WONDERSTRUCK’ illustrated by BRIAN SELZNICK

The novelty of ‘WonderStruck’ lies in its brilliant structure. Set 50 years apart, two independent stories are interwoven,  almost seamlessly. One story is that of a young boy who is struck deaf and the other, of a girl who wishes her life to be different. Selznick’s monochromatic illustrations are captivating, and his attention to details is mind-blowing! Filled with mesmerizing illustrations, ‘WonderStuck’ is a collector’s delight. Brain Selznick is an American illustrator best known for his award-winning book ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret.’

‘RAINDROPS’ illustrated by RUCHI MHASANE

In Tulika’s book ‘Raindrops’, Ruchi Mhasane has beautifully portrayed scenes of a rainy day in India through the eyes of a little girl called Anju. It is through a window in her house that Anju observes the cloudy skies, puddles, colourful umbrellas and other little monsoon surprises. The illustrations in this book are depicted elegantly with soft water colours and have a dreamy feel to it. ‘Raindrops’ is a delightful book that must be stocked in every school library. It is available in various Indian languages. Ruchi Mhasane has studied Children’s Book Illustration at The Cambridge School of Art.

‘OPEN HOUSE FOR BUTTERFLIES’ illustrated by MAURICE SENDAK

“A screaming song is good to know in case you need to scream.” ‘Open House For Butterflies’ is an unusual book dotted with sweet and interesting thoughts. Of all Sendak’s books, this one happens to be our favourite because it’s light in nature. This is a brilliant book with adorable illustrations that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. Maurice Senkak was an American illustrator and author of children’s books who became widely known for his book ‘Where the Wild things Are.’

‘THE GIJJIGADUS AND THE FIREFLIES’ illustrated by ATANU ROY

The nests of the golden sparrows are dark, they have no light. They fly all the way to the Kingdom of Gods to ask for help, and together they find a magical solution. Atanu Roy’s artwork in this gorgeous and touching tale of friendship published by Katha is certain to delight young readers.

‘HOW TO CATCH A STAR’ illustrated by OLIVER JEFFERS

There once was a boy who was very fond of stars. He loved them SO much that he would often dream about playing hide-and-seek with them. One day, he decides to catch one for himself, but first, he needed a plan. This lovely book is filled with illustrations which will constantly keep you reaching for the next page. Oliver Jeffers is an artist, illustrator and writer from Australia.

‘BIG RED LOLLIPOP’ illustrated by SOPHIE BLACKALL

Sophie Blackall’s illustrations are no short of sheer brilliance. In the book ‘Big Red Lollipop’ Blackall has illustrated scenes from a Muslim household set in North America, where the eldest daughter Rubina is invited to her friend’s birthday party, and her younger sister Sana insists in joining her. As the story unfolds, the delicate nuances of a sibling relationship is depicted subtly yet effectively through Blackall’s drawings. The book is a  visual treat for readers! Sophie Blackall is a Brooklyn-based Australian artist who has illustrated over 20 books.

‘THIS IS NOT MY HAT’ illustrated by JON KLASSEN

‘This is not my hat’ is about a fish who swims away with a little blue topper that fits him perfectly. However, the topper belongs to a bigger fish who is on the lookout for it. Klassen’s illustrations in this book are brilliant, especially because of his evident sense of humour. ‘I Want My Hat Back’ has won Klassen The Caldecott Medal and British Kate Greenaway Medal. Jon Klassen happens to be first person to win both awards for the same book.

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