FABULOUS FIVE: Rebecca Cobb presents five fabulous books she loves
I am so happy to welcome Rebecca to Library Mice today for another exciting Fabulous Five. I had heard about Missing Mummy, but Lunchtime is the book that really caught my eye (see my reviews here and here). Have a look at her fabulous selection below!
Since graduating from Falmouth College of Arts in 2004, Rebecca Cobb has illustrated for many clients including Guardian Guide, Guardian Weekend magazine, The Independent and Waitrose Food Illustrated. Rebecca has collaborated on two picture storybooks with the Orange-Prize winner Helen Dunmore, both set in her native Cornwall. In 2011 Macmillan published Rebecca’s debut solo project, the hugely accomplished Missing Mummy which approached the subject of child bereavement with great honesty, sensitivity and integrity. Lunchtime is Rebecca’s second solo picture book. Her next book, out in October, is entitled The Paper Dolls and is a collaboration with Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson.
You can view some of Rebecca’s artwork on her website.
Five fabulous books I love
by Rebecca Cobb
Not Now, Bernard
This has got to be one of the best picture books ever. It brilliantly conveys the contrast between adults and children and the different way they experience the world. I am sure everyone can relate to Bernard being ignored by his Mum and Dad when he has something really important which he has to say immediately. I love the ambiguity of the ending, leaving the reader to choose their own interpretation. The illustrations are bright and bold and full of colour and flat perspective but also contrasting sketchy, scribbly, delicate pencil details and patterns. It is a very funny, clever, beautiful portrayal of the power of a child’s imagination and their relationship with their parents. Also, I would really like some wallpaper with spacemen and rockets on it, just like Bernard has in his bedroom.
Hansel and Gretel
I have loved Anthony Browne’s work ever since my Mum pinned a card of one of his gorilla illustrations into my moses basket when I was a baby. His work is dark, dreamy, surreal and full of symbolism and this perfectly matches the atmosphere of the fairy tale. The balance between the text and pictures works so well because the pictures tell us things that do not need to be written down. My favourite example is where suspicions about the identity of the step-mother are never spoken, only implied in the repeated use of the black triangle motif, which resembles a witches hat. I never get enough of reading this book because it is so lovely to look at and every time I notice new little details in the illustrations.
I am a huge John Burningham fan and find his illustrations utterly beautiful. This story is about a little girl and her Granpa and is told solely through dialogue. I love how the text is minimal but says so much and the pictures show us everything else. It makes the book feel calm and quiet but it is also subtly very powerful. It is a perfect evocation of childhood and imagination as well as a wonderful friendship. The ending is very sad and the poignant picture of Granpa’s empty armchair says everything without needing any words at all. It makes me cry and cry, but I think it is so important to have books that approach sadness as well as happiness, because that is true life.
Brian Wildsmith’s Favourite Fables
Brian Wildsmith’s work is a pure celebration of colour, mark-making and drawing. I have been a bit greedy in choosing this book because it is five stories in one, but I couldn’t help it, it is just such a treat to look at and it is one of the books which I pull off my bookshelf the most often. It is full of gorgeous birds, animals, people and buildings all portrayed with the same lavish, rich illustrations.
All Join In
My parents bought me this book quite a few years ago when I was leaving to go to university and for me it sums up the sheer exuberance and excitement of life. It cheers me up every time I read it. Quentin Blake’s illustrations were such a big part of my childhood that they are instantly comforting and reassuring at the same time as being full of energy, animation and comedy. I love the rhymes and I quite often find myself singing ‘Sorting Out The Kitchen Pans’ when I’m washing up.
Thank you so much Rebecca for this selection, which is full of British classics. It looks like a great starting point for anybody wanting to build a library for a child.