‘My Favourite Children’s Books’ is a series that asks Tiny Tree authors, illustrators, and staff to discuss their favourite children’s book or series. This week author Fiona Barker (Setsuko and the Song of the Sea, Danny and the Dream Dog) writes about her love of ‘That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown’ by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton, the work of Rob Biddulph and Morag Hood.
I love picture books! I have a big collection and am happy to talk to anyone about them if they’re foolish enough to stand still for long enough.
But probably the book that really inspired me to start writing them myself is ‘That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown’ by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton. It’s just so much fun to read aloud and that is one of the unique features of picture books; they’re meant to be a shared experience. I love doing all the voices for the various characters and there’s lots of fun to be had with variations in accents and volume in that story. The illustrations are great too with the combination of photographic images and drawings.
I love Stanley. So much so that I have a Stanley tattoo!
I also really like Rob Biddulph’s picture books. His illustrations are so distinctive and he’s very good with a classic story arc plus nailing the rhyming. It’s annoying that he’s so good at everything but I don’t mind really because the books are so good.
The other person I keep returning to again and again is Morag Hood. Her stories are such anarchic mad delights. The deceptive simplicity of the illustrations reminds me of Dick Bruna and Miffy which were staples for me as a child but her stories are utterly bonkers. I can’t resist!
About Fiona Barker
Fiona Barker is positively potty about picture books. An author and founder of the hugely successful Picture Book Club in Windsor – a regular event that connects authors, illustrators, and their audiences – Fiona is constantly working on new ideas. Having self-published her first book `Fiona has written three books for Tiny Tree: `Danny and the Dream Dog’ (2018), ‘Setsuko and the Song of the Sea’ (2021), ‘A Swift Return’ (2024).
You can follow Fiona on Twitter.