Nina Wisnia is a very dear friend of mine. She is also an incredibly talented artist and children’s book illustrator/author. She has illustrated four books, all of them in French. Her most recent book, Gargouillis, is a funny-but-true description of the digestive system of animals and humans. All of her books share the same quirky but cool element to them — also check out Rêves d’animaux, La maison de Loup, and Trolls de dents (about silly trolls who come to live on your teeth if you don’t keep them clean!).
You might also recognize Nina (and her house) from her feature in the most recent edition of Milk Déco (and also on the Milk website). She is one inspiring mother and friend, and it is a pleasure to share her Top Ten list of children’s books with you, many of them in Swedish so they are new to me. And I just love her reasons for choosing each book — I want to run out and buy every one!
In all these books, the illustrations attract me a lot. And that, together with a good story makes them excellent! All of them are also very loved by my children, otherwise I couldn’t really think they are excellent. It’s a shared experience! So this is my (very difficult to choose) choice of 10 favourite books.
1.) Elephant by Petr Horacek
This book is a very charming story of a ‘pretend’ friend, and what they do. I think children recognise themselves a lot with this story. The love of an animal or a toy becomes alive.
2.) T. Rex by Vivian French
I love this book because my children love the story. All T-rex lovers will enjoy it. The repetetive pattern is great, and the suggestion for children to be curious to know more about dinosaurs themselves. The illustrations are quite grotesque which fits well with the animals…
3.) I skogen by Eva Lindström
A wonderful and poetic story about children and a forest, that teaches us somewhere, to be kind to nature, and not take everything for granted…
4.) Bonsoir Lune (English: Goodnight Moon) by Margaret Wise Brown
I love the repetition. The ’silence’ that the pictures create in the book is great. And the looking for the little mouse on every page. Sweet goodnight story.
5.) En liten skär och alla ruskigt rysliga brokiga by Stina wirsen
Very very funny and a little bit scary. The monsters are fabulous! The little girl takes control and kisses the monsters goodnight in the end…
6.) Fisksaga by Pernilla Stalfeldt
A book where we can learn about size — the smallest fish to the biggest fish appears and eat eachother. Very funny. The many small Pirayas eat the big fish in the end (so being smalll, after all, is not so bad…)!
7.) Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
This book is about the friendship, and how important it is to have someone to love and be with. Very charmingly illustrated.
8.) Adjö, herr Muffin by Ulf Nilsson and Anna-Clara Tidholm
The hamster, Herr Muffin, is old and dying. Sad very touching story that teaches children to feel empathy. A good story that talks about death. Beautiful and sensitive illustrations.
9.) Matildas katter by Jan Lööf
Is it a dream or is it real? Small domestic cats that are lion and tiger! I love the big cats and how Matilda takes care of them like normal cats.
10.)Grosse colere by Mireille d’ Allancé
Brilliantly illustrated book about anger. The angryness is a red monster –something that is hard to control, but that you can manage in the end…
(Top image courtesy of Milk Magazine)
*To read other book lists, click here.