also informal, playful and child-friendly.

There is always, amongst the winners, an illustrator who works in technique that clearly refers to observational drawing and an understanding of naturalistic form and appearance – for lack of a better terminology – realism, or forms of it, as their visual language. Jackie Morris and Jane Ray work in such a classical manner. They create parallel universes of an old-worldly, lyrical kind: a place of ‘once upon a time.’

Emily Hughes’ The Little Gardener and Victoria Turnbull’s The Sea Tiger and Pandora also remind us of visual storytelling from yesteryear. Detailed, ‘retro’ illustrations, in palettes that were carefully chosen to create worlds reminiscent of the earlier years of picturebook-making, comfort the reader with their familiarity. At the same time, they surprise and excite within their contemporary contexts.

Science and non-fiction has become a sexy and popular topic again. Gone are the endless and often unimaginative factual books using photography to convey information; several brilliant and beautiful books have been competing for old and emerging prizes the last five years or so on the international picture book scene. More and more beautiful information books like Yuval Zommer’s The Big Book Of Beasts and The Big Book Of Bugs and Harriet Russell’s Animasaurus and This Book Thinks You’re a Scientist are included on the lists of leading publishing houses and win major prizes.

Factual-fiction hybrids (faction?), like Diary of a Time Traveller by Nicholas Stevenson are also emerging. His work is characterized by colourful and textural experiments in exciting storytelling that conveys information without the reader even realizing.

Fingers crossed that the UK will be able to repeat some of the successes of 2015 when Laura Carlin was awarded the Grand Prix and Levi Pinfold a BIB Plaque. The competition is tough as we are competing in a field much wider than the Anglophone picture-book environment we know. The opportunities and advantages for participants are evident. All entries will be included in a lovely exhibition catalogue that is widely circulated and the work is displayed in an exhibition in Bratislava from 8 September to 29 October 2017.

Books mentioned: Chicken in the Kitchen, Merdokht Amini, Lantana Deep in the Woods, Christopher Corr, Frances Lincoln Geis: A Matter of Life and Death, Alexis Deacon, Nobrow Shackleton’s Journey, William Grill, Flying Eye The Wolves of Currampaw, William Grill, Flying Eye The Girl with the Parrot on her Head, Daisy Hirst, Walker The Little Gardener, Emily Hughes, Flying Eye The Tree, Neal Layton, Walker Stanley’s Stick, Neal Layton, Hodder Children’s Books Mummy and Me, Katherina Manolessou, Macmillan

T-Veg: The Story of a Carrot Crunching Dinosaur, Katherina Manolessou, Frances Lincoln One Cheetah, One Cherry, Jackie Morris, Otter-Barry Books The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow, Jackie Morris, Graffeg Ahmed and the Feather Girl, Jane Ray, Quarto The Little Mermaid, Jane Ray, Boxer Animasaurus, Harriet Russell Bloomsbury

This Book Thinks You’re a Scientist, Harriet Russell, Thames & Hudson The Happy Prince, Maisie Paradise Shearring ,Thames & Hudson Diary of a Time Traveller, Nicholas Stevenson, Wide Eyed The Sea Tiger, Victoria Turnbull, Templar Pandora, Victoria Turnbull, Frances Lincoln The Big Book of Bugs, Yuval Zommer, Thames & Hudson The Big Book of Beasts, Yuval Zommer, Thames & Hudson

Piet Grobler is an illustrator, visiting professor at the University of Worcester and co-founder of the International Centre for the Picture Book in Society. Piet himself was an award winner at Bratislava in 2003 and 2009.

Books for Keeps No.225 July 2017 13

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36