Bruce Ingman shares his top ten favourite children’s books

We are super excited to share another inspiring Top Ten book list, this time from Bruce Ingman — an award-winning and much-loved author and illustrator based in London.

After teaching at a number of art colleges and illustrating for many well-known magazines, Bruce wrote and illustrated his first book, When Martha’s Away, in 1995 , which won the The National Art Library Award as well as the prestigious Mother Goose Award as the most exciting British newcomer to children’s books.  Since then, he has written and illustrated several books, including several in partnership with Allan Ahlberg, who recently shared his ten favourite children’s books with us.  Bruce and Allan’s most recent book, My Worst Book Ever, is a charming tale of the making of a book and all the things that can go wrong in the process. We feel incredibly lucky to have received book lists from both of these inspiring artists.  Bruce’s list in particular includes so many authors/illustrators who would be on my own personal top ten list. John Klassen! William Steig! Tomi Ungerer! And I love that he just had to throw in an 11th addition as well. Because what book list would be complete with out it?!

Here are Bruce Ingman’s top 10 favourite children’s books:

1. Allan and Janet Ahlberg: Each Peach Pear Plum
This is a perfect picture book, beautifully written and illustrated, and a favourite in our house. I know many adults who can recite the story from start to finish. From my own experience of reading the books I’ve done with Allan to a class, his writing is so suited to reading aloud that it stays with you.

2. John Burningham: Oi! Get off our Train
I could have chosen any number of John Burningham’s books but this one has as much relevance today as ever it had. The illustrations are so atmospheric and have a beautiful sense of place.

3. André Francois: Roland
Quentin (Blake) put us on to Andre as students and this has so much invention and witty absurdity on every page.

4. Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake: Captain Najork
This is totally original and inventive. The words and pictures are just so perfect together. I have a copy signed by Russell Hoban saying, ‘Best wishes for happy fooling around”.

5. Ted Hughes and David Lucas: Shaggy and Spotty
I love the electric pace of the drawing, so full of life and vitality. I’m very excited to be working on a book with David at the moment.

6. Jon Klassen: I Want My Hat Back
So funny! I love the fact that we have to go back to almost the beginning to get it. The illustrations are so full of emotion. I like the black humour.

7. Arnold Lobel: Frog and Toad
Every story is brilliant. The characters are brilliant. Always kept me spellbound, never mind the kids!

8. James Marshall: George and Martha
I came to James Marshall relatively recently and I adored reading them to my children. They are so acutely observed, the age differences fell away; we loved them all and each had our favourite stories.

9. William Steig: Doctor De Soto
Hilarious, sharp-witted, unique, Steig at his inimitable, effortless best. ‘Fank you very muss’ became a catchphrase in our house.

10. Tomi Ungerer: The Hat
Choosing an Ungerer is a hard one, Mellops? Robbers? Moon Man? All belong on the list. I finally decided to pick the one that reminded me of ‘The Yellow Rolls Royce’, a film I liked as a kid. It’s very filmic and there’s always a hint of menace that gives all his books such resonance.

• Maurice Sendak: Where the Wild Things Are
If I were to be allowed one more book, it would be this. I never tire of looking at it; it’s so beautiful on so many levels. There really should be no list without it . . .


Comments (1)

April 6, 2018

When Martha’s away is one of MY FAVORITE EVER BOOKS (i mentioned that in the Allan Ahlberg interview so I’m
Not just sucking up 😏) it is so hilarious I remember discovering it and laughing out loud. I hate patronizing and fluffy kids books so it was a breath of fresh air !!! Also the name Bruce is the greatest name ever… thanks
For this !!

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