Spotlight on Emily Gravett: Children's Book Must-Haves
The second child of an art teacher and a print maker, Emily Gravett left school at age 16 with a General Certificate of Secondary Education in art. For several years, she and her partner Mik lived somewhat of a nomadic life, as they traveled around Great Britain attending various festivals and living in an assortment of unconventional homes.
Everything changed with the birth of their daughter Oleander. Not long after the family found a cottage and settled down, Gravett realized she wanted a career. Reading books to her little girl reawakened her love of art, particularly creating illustrations. She enrolled in a college program and had a publishing contract in hand before she even completed the course.
Gravett incorporates imaginative writing with her own unique artistic style to produce books that are fun, engaging, and instant classics for young children. Her illustrations include gorgeous drawings, eye-catching collages, and interactive art such as colorful pop ups, lifting flaps, and maps that fold out. Any home library would benefit from some of her many award-winning titles. Following are a half-dozen of our faves to get you started:
Parents are likely to relate to this sweet, silly book in which a little baby dragon wants his worn and weary mother to read his favorite bedtime story… again!
Like any good mama, Mother Dragon reads the book just as it is written. Children will delight in the illustrations, which show both mommy and baby reading together and the pages of the book just as they are seeing it. However, after, the second and third times, Mother Dragon tweaks the story, trying to encourage her little one to go to sleep. It’s the mom who falls asleep in the end, causing her child to have a bit of a tantrum and a burn-out hole right through the final pages of the book.
Everybody is scared of something, but Little Mouse is scared of everything. He is scared of spiders, monsters under the bed and being sucked down the drain in the bathtub, but he learns that someone can even be afraid of him, no matter how small he is.
Children will pore over the pages in this book, many of which seem to have been chewed through by Little Mouse himself. There are interactive newspaper pages with tales of farmers’ wives with knives; illustrated Polaroid pictures of the rodent’s fears coming true; fold-out maps of scary places and more, keeping little ones engaged page after page.
Emily Gravett’s first book tells the truth about what wolves really like to eat. Want a hint? Well, it is not young girls wearing read hoodies. In the story, a young rabbit picks up a book all about (SHHH!!!) wolves.
Kids can read the book within the book along with Rabbit. Unbeknownst to Rabbit, a stealthy wolf is sneaking up on him as he reads his library book, and the wolf looks ravenous. The book ends with a twist that will thrill young children, as will the drawings and torn paper collages.
A little green frog turns to a book of magic spells that he found in order to transform himself into a handsome prince. His endeavors do not go so smoothly, though, and he finds himself changing into a snake, a rabbit and several other creatures instead of a royal hunk. Perhaps he would be better off just being himself.
Kids will adore this highly interactive book. Along with torn pages of the magic book, a mixture of mediums and silly singsong spells, there are also folding flaps that let children mix and match halves of the creatures into which Frog transforms.
Sunny Meerkat lives, works, eats and plays with his huge family in the Kalahari Desert, where the meerkats learn the importance of always staying together and staying safe. However, Sunny wants a little alone time, so he packs his bag and leaves a note for his mom.
Sunny travels the world visiting many mongoose relatives, but there is something he finds unpleasant at each new locale, and little does he know it, but a hungry jackal is following him everywhere he goes. Finally, Sunny finds somewhere perfect, welcoming, and safe. Can you guess where it is?
Even younger kids can tell you that 1+1 does not equal 288! However, in this amusing take of Italian mathematician Fibonacci's rabbit mating math problem, one bunny plus another bunny turn into hundreds of bunnies in no time.
This highly interactive book has so much going on that you can read it again and again, discovering something new every time. Delightful design treasures inside include carrot recipes, knitting patterns, a monthly calendar format and even a baby bunny book, not to mention an attention-grabbing pop up of hundreds of rabbits at the end.
Which one is your favorite Emily Gravett book? Who are some authors/illustrators you and your kids adore? Share with us!
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