The Jolly Postman – Janet & Allan Ahlberg
This book is one of those that rewards persistence. Every double page spread has a *something* that can be pulled out of the envelope, and be read. I love the layers that are at work here and how, very subtly and cleverly, the concept of story is played with and expressed to the utmost.
Similar to : The Jolly Christmas Postman
When The Wind Blows – Raymond Briggs
Possibly one of the finest and most heart-breaking graphic novels produced this century, Where The Wind Blows is full of rage and hopeless anger. Superbly, and subtly constructed, it is the story – and the painful conclusion – of a husband and wife dealing with the impact of nuclear war.
Similar to : Maus
Dear Grandma Bunny – Dick Bruna
The brilliance of the Miffy books is undoubted, but Dear Grandma Bunny is one of the finest. Dealing with the death of Grandma Bunny in quiet, clear imagery, it is superb and reaches much deeper than it appears to. Worth hunting out.
Similar to : Nothing.
Cloudland – John Burningham
A picture book made of magic, Cloudland is the story of the children up in the clouds and the games they play. Albert, out walking with his parents in the mountains, falls off the edge of a cliff and instead of falling to his doom is caught by the cloud children. Stylistically this book is incredible, told in a mixture of cut-outs overlaid on the most beautiful of images. It’s very beautiful.
Similar to : Helen Oxenbury (hee)
Stanley’s Stick – John Hegley / Neal Layton
A vivid, screaming to be read out loud, tribute to imagination and the sheer joy of play, Stanley’s Stick is a delight. Stanley goes through the book discovering everything his stick can be. A charming, beautifully constructed book.
Similar to : E Nesbit (I know there’s an age difference but hey, esoteric remember? 😉 )
Rosie’s Walk – Pat Hutchins
Don’t let the front cover fool you, this book is superb and not at all dated . Witty and sparky with a constant hive of activity in the background, it’s one which pays off the reader in slapstick by the barrel load. Brilliant.
Similar to : Laurel and Hardy
A Ball for Daisy – Chris Raschka
Poetic, wordless, lush imagery tells the story of Daisy and her ball. Raschka’s use of line is bold and thick and vivid, and Daisy herself is a gorgeously vivid creation. One of the books that makes you think words aren’t always necessary.
Similar to : The Chicken Thief
The Five Senses – Herve Tullet
I have a lot of love for Tullet’s work primarily because of the sheer, irrepressible exuberance of it. Nominally an exploration of the five senses, this book provides a journey into the act of reading (can you tell I love an interactive, active engagement with a text?!). This book’s awesome, passionate and full of joy.
Similar to : Press Here
Pride – Brian K Vaughan
A deceptively simple alternative look at the invasion of Iraq. It’s told through the eyes of a pride of lions accidentally freed from Baghdad Zoo. This book is alternatively terrifying, heartbreaking, and laugh out loud funny. It’s a visual tour-de-force.
Similar to : Persepolis
Runaways (Volume One) – Brian K Vaughan
This book revolutionised my perception of graphic novels and the first couple of volumes in the series are stunning. Based on the simple premise, what if your parents are really evil, Runaways is awesome. Want strong female heroines? Want them to mention things like puberty? Want a dinosaur? Done.
Similar to : Famous Five meets the X-Men