Waterstones Children’s Prize 2016 shortlists: Illustrated Books

Posted on 19th February 2016 by Sally Campbell
Here is our introduction to the six shortlisted titles in the illustrated books category.

We have just announced our shortlists for The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, which is now in its 12th year, and showcases the best in new children’s fiction. There will be a winner in each of three categories - illustrated books, younger fiction, and older fiction -  before an outright winner is chosen.

Each week, we will introduce the titles in one of the three categories. This week, I will run through the six shortlisted illustrated books.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, for young children’s books, there is a big zoological theme  - what is surprizing however is the range and the richness of artwork, with all six books illustrated in distinct and dynamic styles.

See for yourself:

Have You Seen Elephant? by David Barrow (Gecko Press)

The book: An absurd heart-warming picture book from a brilliant storyteller with perfect comic timing. Ideal for sharing with children who will get excited about finding the elephant (and being better at it than the boy in the book!). 

The illustrator: David Barrow is a recent graduate of the Cambridge School of Art where he completed a Masters in Children’s Book Illustration and received the top prize, the Sebastian Walker award for most promising children’s illustrator. 

Bookseller review: “Beautiful illustrations and reminds me of every game of hide and seek I've played with a child who thinks you can't see them.” Georgie – Cribbs Causeway

Cinderella’s Sister and the Big Bad Wolf by Lorraine Carey and Migy Blanco (Nosy Crow)

The book: A hilarious and witty re-working of the classic Cinderella story, full of great cameos by fairy-tale characters. In this version, Cinderella wasn't actually very nice, has three ugly sisters, and  the youngest sister, Gertie, turns out to be absolutely the nicest person you could ever hope to meet.

The illustrator: Migy Blanco spent 10 years working in advertising and editorial illustration. After marrying, he moved to Buenos Aires. Surrounded by the vibrancy and colour of South America, he developed a children’s book style that is bold, magical and eye-catching.

Bookseller review: "A fantastic twist on the Cinderella story, incorporating lots of fairy tales with fun Illustrations.” Jessica – Swindon

Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith (Alison Green Books)

The book: Hector and Hummingbird is the story of an unlikely friendship between a noisy hummingbird and a bear who just wants to find peace and quiet. When Hector finally stomps off to be alone however, he finds that life isn't complete without his noisy friend.

The illustrator: Nicholas John Frith grew up in the Chiltern hills, and went to school round the corner from the home of Roald Dahl. After spending many years travelling the world, he decided to pursue his life-long dream of becoming an author and illustrator

Bookseller review: “Everything about this is perfect – the art was fantastic. The colour palette was unique; I've never seen another picture book like it. The voices of Hector and the Hummingbird were adorable too, and their friendship was so pure and lovely!” Sophie – Darlington

The Crow’s Tale by Naomi Howarth (Frances Lincoln)

The book: In the dark depths of winter, snow is falling and the animals are freezing and famished. Brave Crow sets out on a dangerous journey to find the Sun, and beg for warmth. Inspired by a Lenape Native American myth, this beautiful picture book shows how courage and kindness are what really matter.

The illustrator: Naomi’s illustrations combine lithography with watercolour, and she has a strong interest in myth, legend and folklore. She lives on a houseboat in west London.

Bookseller review: “A beautiful cover and fantastic story that will teach children what really matters. The illustrations are fantastic. Perfect for those who prefer more traditional illustrations or more modern ones. This book definitely has it all.” Abi - Llandudno

The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln)

The book: The Bear and the Piano is a gloriously moving tale of exploration and belonging. One day, a young bear stumbles upon something he has never seen before in the forest. As time passes, he teaches himself how to play the strange instrument. The bear goes on an incredible journey to New York, where his piano playing makes him a huge star,but he misses the friends and family he has left behind.

The illustrator: David’s work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, books and on T-shirts. David lives in Bedford, U.K. with his family.

Bookseller review: “Original, heart-warming story with beautiful illustrations and amazing detail. My favourite picture book from the shortlist! Looking forward to what's next for Litchfield.” Anne - Chippenham

Super Happy Magic Forest by Matty Long (Oxford University Press)

The book: When the Mystical Crystals of Life are stolen, five brave heroes must go on an epic quest to get them back and save the Super Happy Magic Forest from the root of all evil.

The illustrator: Matty is twenty-seven years old and has a First Class Degree in Illustration from Southampton Solent University and a Master’s Degree in Children’s Book Illustration from Anglia Ruskin University.

Bookseller review: “Completely bonkers in the best way possible, an awesome, interactive romp with great characters and slick illustrations.” Emma - Southampton


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