Tom Schamp’s Top Ten Book List


We are big fans of Tom Schamp. His latest book Show & Tell Me The World offers a world of discovery for young and older children to enjoy. It’s a huge, almost dictionary like book which guides children through the variations of daily life. Bright, inviting, exciting and meticulously detailed it’s an entertaining book which grips the reader.

Tom has very kindly agreed to share his top ten favourite children’s books with us. Rather a fun, vintage-inspired list which I’m sure you’ll enjoy. Thank you Tom!

1. Exploring, written by Alain Gree

An example of the series boys (& girls) grew up with in the 70’s. These look highly vintage these days (and was one of the influences & motivations for me to make at least 1 book with an old fashioned ambition to explain all things to kids).

2. Home, written & illustrated by Carson Ellis
A recent book from the USA where the author tells us about homes & houses all over the world, in a most poetic way
(something I tried to do in a very condensed form on the first pages of my ‘Encyclopedia Otto-biographica’).

3. Maisy series, written by Lucy Collins
I must admit I grabbed this Scandinavian copy of Maisey when I first visited the Bologna book fair (at the end of the professional fair, when foreign editors often leave their goods behind). Hard to believe when you see my latest books, but I like things simple & clear and this was surely an inspiration to start making children’s books (together with Dick Bruna’s Nijntje and – of course – the presence of our own children in the house).

4. Around the World with Mouk, by Marc Boutavant
Someone from my own generation, who has influenced dozens of colleagues from France to Finland. Graphically correct, but always witty, cute, well mannered & ‘kindvriendelijk’ (‘children friendly) in general.

5. Mr Lunch takes a Plane Ride, written by J. Otto Seybold
Not sure if this was a huge success with children, but J. Otto Seybold was – to my knowledge – the first one to create fun things with a computer program and has influenced everyone ever since.

6. The PopUp Book of Gnomes, written by Rien Poortvliet
Very old school and not always politically correct, but Rien Poortvliet has always been around here. The way he describes things by drawing them and just inventing a story starting from his drawings influenced me strongly when creating my latest book.

7. Richard Scarry’s ABC Word Book
All time hero and probably my main influence since I started drawing for children. His books seem to have been always around the house in every possible language and have been shared by several generations in our family.

8. The Best Story Book Ever, by Richard Scarry
Most people will know him from the watercolour sketchy style he developed in the 60s but before that period, he worked in a more traditional American illustrator’s way for the little golden books. Adorable…although it is obvious that certain topics weren’t treated in a politically correct way in those days.

9. The Three Robbers, by Tomi Ungerer
Probably my all time favourite book. Simple, witty, pure, for children & adults alike etc. Not a fan of everything the old master made & makes (Tomi is still alive!), but this one is surely timeless (and even survived a badly animated version made of it).

10. Tintin series by Herge

Tintin’s been a life long friend and I’m very happy our sons inherited the love. They probably do it to please me, but an hour ago at the kitchen table we still discussed Hergé’s career and the differences between some albums.

Vanessa x


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