Beatrix Potter, of course – her illustrations manage to be naturalistic while conveying the personalities of the animals.
The Finnish painter/author Tove Jansson wrote and illustrated her own books about the Moomins
An American writer, who has recently enjoyed success in this country is Mo Willems. The Elephant and Piggie series of early reading books are a delight – the expressions of the two friends as they argue, worry, and celebrate are subtly conveyed in the simplest way, whereas the Knuffle Bunny books use similarly cartoonish figures against a backdrop of black and white photographs of New York.
Also making a name for herself is Emily Gravett who has twice won the UK’s major prize for children’s book illustration, the Kate Greenaway Medal. Her wonderfully detailed illustrations are quite unique. Check out the website below for other winners and shortlisted authors.
Many eminent illustrators have been happy to give visual life to someone else’s words. Particularly successful collaborations have been those between Allan & Janet Ahlberg (who was born in Huddersfield), in Peepo! and Each Peach Pear Plum; Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, notably in Room on The Broom and The Gruffalo; and of course, Nick Sharratt’s with Jaqueline Wilson.
E.H.Shepard was an established artist who also drew cartoons for Punch, but is best remembered now as the definitive illustrator of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in The Willows and A.A.Milne’s Winnie The Pooh books. Incidentally, Shepard’s daughter, Mary, contributed the pictures for the original Mary Poppins books, by P.L.Travers.
Help in choosing books
The Reading matters website is a most useful resource for anyone wanting suggestions for children’s books. There are reviews, discussions and a rather nifty little device for matching books to readers.