We asked everybody on the team to give a list of their favourite picture book, targeted at children five and under.
Mira Benson-Leighs: My all-time favourite children’s book is actually unpublished, but it has still gathered quite the cult following over the years. There have even been attempts by fans to recreate the book and publish it online, so if you dig deep enough, you might be able to find a copy. It’s called The Elephant and the Balloon and explores deep themes of loss and chasing after what we desire most in life, all in the space of about a dozen pages. It’s hard to believe that this was originally supposed to be an epic set in Russia, according to its author. If you ever get the chance to hear B.L. Black talk about his work, listen out for the story of how this unpublished gem was written in the space of a single night with his best friend. They destroyed the manuscript out of fear that people would demand a sequel, which they wouldn’t be able to deliver on.
Mads Karlsson: Personally, I can’t look past Where the Wild Things Are. This book captured my imagination when I was a child. I’ll never forget going on that long journey with Max, across the ocean and into the forest of a land filled with strange creatures. As a protagonist, Max is so relatable, not just to young children, but to everyone. Sometimes we just want to escape the hustle and bustle of life and get away to an island of our own. But even if you’re the king or queen of your own land, eventually you’ll yearn for your true home. I think that’s a beautiful message.
Dr Samuel Arnold-Wolff: I love The Very Hungry Caterpillar. There’s a caterpillar. He’s hungry. He eats a lot and gets sick. What’s not to like? It’s brilliant.
Tressa Lambert: When I was a child, I asked my mother to read The Cat in the Hat every single night. By the time I turned seven, I think she hated that book. Even though I’d heard the story hundreds of times, I would always pretend that I didn’t know what was coming next. I can actually remember my heart racing every night, wondering how on earth they were going to clean up before Sally’s mother got home! It’s still my favourite book. I know a lot of people didn’t like the movie, but I thought Mike Myers was brilliant as Cat.