Pictured Books

pictures of books in picture books

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My Worst Book Ever!

Here’s a new picture book about writing a picture book … and what can go wrong. Allan Ahlberg introduces My Worst Book Ever! (Thames & Hudson, 2018):

Worst Book front.jpg

Worst Book back.jpg

The Pencil and The Runaway Dinner are visible on the shelves of illustrator Bruce Ingram’s studio, along with Alison Hubble and Bad News! I’m In Charge!

See also The PencilThe Baby’s Catalogue, and Red Nose Readers.


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Tessa the Teacher

Tessa the Teacher

This is Tessa the Teacher by Felicity Brooks, illustrated by Jo Litchfield (Usborne, 2006). Tessa – “(Miss Thompson to the children)” – is reading to her class. It’s clearly visible as The Runaway Tractor by Heather Amery & Stephen Cartwright, from Usborne’s charming series of Farmyard Tales. Good choice, Miss Thompson!

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How To Hide A Lion

Picture books for pairing: literary allusions in children’s books

An excellent post on examples of intertextuality in picture books starts with Iris in How To Hide A Lion by Helen Stephens (Alison Green, 2012), who is seen reading Judith Kerr’s classic The Tiger Who Came To Tea. At the end of the post there is an honourable mention for The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall (Penguin, 2014), which includes two books by the author’s studio mates.

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Harry and the Dinosaurs

Harry - More Adventures with Harry and the Dinosaurs

This is Harry, star of several picture books written by Ian Whybrow with illustrations by Adrian Reynolds. A few adventures in, Harry found a bucketful of dinosaurs in his attic, and ever since then the stories have been all about Harry and the Dinosaurs.

On the cover of the omnibus More Adventures with Harry and the Dinosaurs, Harry sits in an armchair with his dinosaurs, reading the first omnibus, Harry and the Dinosaurs and the Bucketful of Stories.

There are cross-references throughout the series. Below, in Harry and the Dinosaurs Say ‘Raahh!’, a child waiting to see the dentist is calmed by reading Harry and the Robots. Elsewhere, in Harry and the Dinosaurs Make a Christmas Wish, a bucketful of dinosaurs is on sale in the Christmas shop …

Harry and the Robots (in Harry and the Dinosaurs say 'Raahh!')

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Katie Morag

Katie Morag and the Tiresome Ted (1)

The illustrations in Mairi Hedderwick’s spirited Katie Morag books are full of detail, down to the cheeky inclusion of Katie reading her own stories. Above, in Katie Morag and the Tiresome Ted, Katie has open in front of her what can be identified as Katie Morag Delivers the Mail, with Katie Morag and the Two Grandmothers closed on her brother’s bed.

Katie Morag and the Two GrandmothersIn Katie Morag and the Two Grandmothers itself, Katie can again be seen reading Katie Morag Delivers The Mail.

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Fix-It Duck

At the start of Fix-It Duck by Jez Alborough (Collins, 2001), Duck is in the bath. You can’t see him, except for his knees: the yellow duck is a bath toy.

Fix-It Duck reading Super Duck

Through the window, we can see Frog standing in the rain, and next to the tub, we can see Duck’s bathtime reading: a book which must be Jez Alborough’s Super Duck.