Monday, 6 October 2014

Celebrating "Monsters Love Underpants" Blog Tour and Launch Week with the awesome creators, Ben Cort and Claire Freedman!

Monsters love underpants and so do we!
By now, hopefully you've already read our rollicking review of "Monsters Love Underpants". To celebrate the launch week for the latest pant-tacular "Underpants" book, we thought we'd ask Ben Cort and Claire Freedman to share some of their top children's book influences with us. They came up trumps, so take it away Ben and Claire!

Ben's fave Five Illustrator/Author Pairings.

"Burglar Bill" by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
1. Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Janet and Allan’s books such as Burglar Bill, Cops and Robbers and Mrs Wobble the Waitress were a huge influence on me when I began illustrating children’s books. Janet’s pictures are full of humorous charm and detail and are the perfect accompaniment to Allan’s hilarious words.

"Harry by the Sea" by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham

2. Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham.

As a child I loved the Harry the dog books created by Gene and Margaret and they are still amongst my favourites today. Gene’s use of bold line work and muted colour palette convey a fun and cosy world

(Editor's note - We LOVE LOVE LOVE these books and we think it's a bit of a shame that the rest of the stories were never reprinted / re-released but pick up "Harry the Dirty Dog, No Roses for Harry, Harry and the Lady Next Door and Harry by the Sea as they're still available!)

"That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown" by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton. Sublime!

3. Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton.

Cressida and Neal’s Emily Brown books are a charming mix of surreal writing and pictures

that make for a really enjoyable read. These were a bedtime favourite for both my children and myself!

Charlie and Willy Wonka from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake

4. Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake.

I have always loved Roald Dahl’s stories which are often full of dark humour and peril; and these combined with Quentin’s beautiful, fluid line drawings make for a perfect combination of text and imagery.

"The Incredible Hulk" by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (with inking by D Ayers)

5. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Marvel comics were a large part of my reading material as a child and the comic book artist Jack Kirby with his amazing characters such as Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, The Fantastic Four etc... had a terrific impact on me. His dramatic and dynamic use of composition and exaggerated anatomy created such incredibly exciting images.

Thank you for sharing such awesome influences, Ben! Now it's over to...

Claire Freedman with some of her favourite children's book influences.

"Winnie the Pooh" by A.A. Milne and sublime illustrations from E.H Shephard.

The Winnie the Pooh books

A.A. Milne, illus E.H. Shephard

These books influenced my writing more than any others. The stories are still fresh today, the humour is understated but brilliant ,and the characters sing from the pages. A true classic!

"The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame (with illustrations here from Arthur Rackham. Wow!)

The Wind in the Willows

Kenneth Grahame

various artists

A much loved book, I admire the storytelling and immediacy of the well formed characters. The book has been illustrated by a number of artists.

Arthur Rackham's illustrations are especially evocative.

"Dino Baby" by Mark Sperring and Sam Lloyd. 

Dino Baby

Mark Sperring, illus Sam Lloyd

This text is so cute and funny and the illustrations are simple but very appealing. The art and words marry up perfectly, which is what I look for in a picture book.

"One Snowy Night" by M Christina Butler and Tina Macnaughton

One Snowy Night

M Christina Butler illus Tina Macnaughton The story is gentle and charming, with characters young readers can identify and bond with. The illustrator has captured the softness of the story beautifully.

"Dragon Stew" by Steve Smallman and Lee Wildish

Dragon Stew

Steve Smallman, illus Lee Wildish

This has a stonking good rhyme with lovely play on words - and good rhythm which I always enjoy. The art is fun and expressive.

Phew! What a brilliant list from both Ben and Claire. You can read our review of their latest underpants epic, "Monsters Love Underpants" - out now from Simon and Schuster Children's Books.

Don't miss the rest of the fantastic Monsters Love Underpants Blog Tour with these awesome folk!