Leo Timmers was born in 1970, in Belgium and still lives in Brussels with his wife and two daughters. Trained as a graphic designer he soon began to illustrate children’s books. In 2000 he wrote his first story Happy with Me which won a Bookfeather Award for illustration. He has also won the annual Children’s and Youth Jury Award in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009 (wow!).
There isn’t a Leo Timmers book in our house that doesn’t have VERY well-worn pages — I think Derek the Deep-sea Doctor is my son’s favourite but my daughter loves Look What I Can Do! and I love our newest addition Crow. We love and have them all — we’re huge fans. So it gives me great pleasure to present his top ten children’s books.
Almost all these books are written and illustrated by the same artist. I think that they have a perfect balance between text and illustration. They are made by brilliant visual storytellers. Stories written with images is what picture books should be for me, and that’s what I try to do. It was really difficult to choose just ten — there are so many more books I wanted to include but I tried to find a mix between classic and contemporary books.
Frog is Frightened – Max Velthuijs
I love all the frog strories, but this one is just so perfect. I can read it over and over again.
Where The Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
A classic and a work of genius although not so popular with my kids.
The Three Robbers – Tomi Ungerer
Great story and artwork in blue and black.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus – Mo Willems
I think its a modern classic. Very original and funny idea. Simple but effective drawings.
Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren
Pipi is the absolute hero of our 5-year-old daughter. She wants to be just like her! I love her too.
Fish Is Fish – Leo Lionni
I love many books by Lionni, but this one is his best I think. This message is very dear to me : we are what we are — don’t try to change yourself.
Duck, Death and Tulip – Wolf Erlbruch
Elbruch’s drawings are always masterful, just think of ‘the little mole who went…’
He also wrote this story and it’s about a duck who encounters death in person. So moving… for me it’s a masterpiece.
In the Town All Year ‘Round – Suzanne Rotraut Berner.
The ultimate look-and-search book!
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
No words, impressive imaginative pictures and a beautiful heartbreaking story. A real tour de force!
To see other book lists, click here.