Children’s books have always been seriously fabulous (think Peter Rabbit) but somehow during the last decade the standard has become truly stunning, whether we are talking design, wit, educational value, moral lessons, illustrations or intelligence.
My most exciting find (since the birth of my son 29 months ago) has been a writer/illustrator called Petr Horacek. I came across “Beep, Beep” and “Choo, Choo” either in late 2007 (which must have been the moment they were in the book shops) or early 2008. Absolutely perfect for my then not-yet 1-year-old. Since then we’ve collected Petr Horacek’s earlier books “Stawberries are Red” (an introduction to colours) and “What is Black and White?” which won awards back in 2002, and just this week we bought “Silly Suzy Goose” (2006).
The first four books I’ve mentioned are board books, and simply perfect for the pre-2-year-old. There are die-cuts, glorious illustrations, and energetic (but not plot-driven) text.
“Silly Suzy Goose” was this week’s addition to the library, and perfect in that it has the right number of words to each illustration to keep the intense interest of my 2 and a half year old. Again, glorious illustrations, energetic (but not too wordy) text, although no clever die-cuts, since the book uses paper not board. The whole story unfolds using the wrong verbal construct (it says ‘was’ when it should say ‘were’) but as my son is not yet reading EVERY word on the page, I’m just substituting the correct grammar as I go. A small price for the unbelievably beautiful pictures and fabulous storyline.
I’ve just realised this weekend Petr Horacek has even more board books in print, so I will be ordering them in! I’m just hoping we haven’t missed our age-appropriate window for enjoying them.