I have watched the channel 4’s Britains Favourite Children’s Books to get some ideas and to see if it gives any ideas of why children find these books to be so successful. It also features some of the most successful illustrators and so I wanted to see what they had to say about their work.

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Whilst watching this, I came across this very interesting quote: ‘I’ve realised how powerful it is, if you can illustrate really well, it changes everything. It’s that link for a child; it makes something accessible if you illustrate really well.’ – Lauren Child

This is interesting to me because of the link between how both the illustrations and the narrative work together to compliment each other. Lauren child is the illustrator of the Charlie and Lola book and television series, which makes her very successful, therefore listening to her talking about the link between illustrations.

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Included in the countdown of the 50 best children’s books is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at number 12. David Walliams points out that not only is it one of the most popular children’s books, but also this is one of the most well known books of all time. Unfortunately when featuring this story, there were no talk about the illustrations, but writer & actor, Meera Syal makes a very interesting point about Carroll’s narrative of ‘putting a very logical little girl in the centre of an absurd and illogical world’. and Carroll giving out the message to children that ‘the world can be dark and absurd and it doesn’t always make sense, and it’s okay.’

At number 9 was The Gruffalo and I theought that when they were talking about Axel Schiffer’s illustrations and his initial ideas of when he first designed the characters, they were wearing clothes and Julia Donaldson’s thoughts on Schiffler’s original ideas for the illustrations.


I enjoyed watching this programme and noticed that many of the classic books that I used to read as a child were still in the favourites even 15 years later, and although they talked to the authors about the books, they didn’t have many illustrator thoughts, and neither did they talk much about the illustrations; considering that they have such a big part to play in children’s books, I hoped that this would have been a key factor to the programme. Another thing that I was slightly disappointed about was that while they had some children’s thoughts on the books, it wasn’t clear why they the children did or didn’t like these books, so from a research perspective, this hasn’t helped me much in terms of progression and understanding why they are the favourites, but I did enjoy watching it because it was helpful to see how many of the classic, well known books have stayed at the top of the list, but also to see the newer ones and how they stood in the minds of the children compared to the classics.

The programme can be watched here:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/britains-favourite-childrens-books/on-demand/62111-001 (accessed 4th February, 2016)


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