Which genre of children’s books do you like most and why?
I’m a big fan of all sorts of picture books and have to fight my 9-year-old daughter for ownership – quite often we have to buy two copies. My favourite author/illustrator is Maira Kalman; she embraces all manner of nonsense in her writing and her illustrations are wonky and wonderful. A couple of her books include Chicken Soup Boots and What Pete Ate From A-Z.
Which books did you love to read as a young child?
Always, always picture books for me. I still have a few very weather beaten (and page eaten) copies of The Man Who Didn’t Wash His Dishes by Phyllis Krasilovsky, I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by the prolific Mary Blair, and a much loved copy of Babar’s Voyage by Jean de Brunhoff.
Which three attributes make for a great children’s book?
A curious surprise – I’m quietly thrilled by a story that takes an unexpected turn. A good example that comes to mind is The Sweetest Fig by Chris Van Allsburg. I won’t say much more about that, I don’t want to spoil the ending!
Quietly funny – It’s quite wonderful when a book is able to make you smile each time you read it. Big Rabbit’s Bad Mood by Ramona Badescu, illustrated by Delphine Durand.
Thoughtful detail – There’s nothing more exciting than coming to the pages in Eloise in Moscow when you open up to reveal Russia in all its glory. Amazing!
What is your number one tip for encouraging children to read?
Let them choose want they want to read, give them plenty of time in the bookstore to browse the books and have them choose one themselves.
Name three books you wish you’d written.
With a love of colour and a weakness for a good story, Cheryl Orsini’s illustrations regularly appear in many Australian magazines including The Australian Women’s Weekly and Gardening Australia Magazine. Best known for her children’s books, Cheryl has over 20 titles to her name, her most recent being Pom Pom, Where Are You?, The ABC Book of Rockets, Planets and Outer Space and Wibbly Wobbly Street.