100 Great Children’s Picture Books, Martin Salisbury

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This unashamed visual feast celebrates the best designed and illustrated picturebooks from around the world over the past one hundred years. Each book is a creation of genius and inventiveness, and their design and illustration represent such diverse trends as the Russian Constructivists, Italian Futurists and Postwar Neo-romantics. They are also mirrors of their times reflecting social concerns from a child’s and family’s perspectives throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. Fearlessly confronting the frontiers between a child’s picturebook and art, this is a collection of books that anyone with an interest in design, illustration or simply children’s literature should know about.

Publisher: Laurence King, April 2015

Reviewer: Klaudia Khan

My children love picture books, but I think I love them just as much. I really enjoy it how in a good picture book the illustrations tell the story… but honestly, in some of the kids’ books story is not so important; it’s the sheer beauty of the pictures that draws me. So it’s just great I have three little daughters: I hope they will not grow out of reading picture books too soon and I will have a good excuse to buy them. But do I really need an excuse? Is illustration reserved only for the little ones? Is it a lesser form of art?

Martin Salisbury, an expert on the subject, in his latest book: ‘100 Great Children’s Picture Books’ proves that illustrations in children’s book can be interesting and valued not only by the kids and they are actually a work of art. As such they represent different schools and trends and their interpretation can change over time: some books published fifty years ago would be considered not politically correct nowadays! Salisbury tells as just so much about the story of a particular book, the technique used in illustrating and the import of it to keep us interested and want to find out more. It’s really interesting to read, but even more interesting to look at, because the books chosen for the collection represent a vivid and colourful variety of creative genius of the illustrators from around the world in the last century.

I am a great fan of children’s books, but I guess anyone even mildly interested in visual art would find this book interesting. It is simply beautiful. Also useful if you are a parent looking for the publications for your children that are aesthetically superb: it will make you search for the picture books represented in the collection and regret that not all of them are available still. I would definitely recommend this book.

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