Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

Which Quentin Blake book is your favourite?

Posted on | February 18, 2011 | 13 Comments

As much as a treat for myself as a way of sharing my love of books, at Jenna’s prompting, I’ve now started work on a quilt for J’s 3rd birthday, made out of some of the fabric from the new Liberty’s range designed by children’s illustrators.

It was really hard choosing just a few fabric designs (and be quick if you want to order any as they have already sold out of some lines), but in the end I went for Carolyn Jane, Charlie’s Paisley and Kate Ada by Quentin Blake and Olivia Strange and Reuben Kelly by David McKee, the creator of Elmer, King Rollo and Mr Benn. Lots of colour and pattern, which I’ll be breaking up with a lime green fabric so hopefully it will remain playful without being too hectic!

To go with the quilt I want to give J a couple of Quentin Blake and David McKee books, and this is where I’m hoping you’ll be able to help. Both Blake and McKee are prolific author / illustrators and so I’d love to hear your recommendations for books by them. Which are your absolute favourite books they’ve illustrated? Which books would work particularly well as gifts?

Zagazoo and All Join In (the latter reviewed here on Playing by the book) are two of our favourite Quentin Blake books, and we got our first David McKee book earlier this week from the charity bookshop.

[On a side note, Tasha and I are dreaming of Super Hero Capes for ourselves trimmed with any leftovers of this fabric…]

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13 Responses to “Which Quentin Blake book is your favourite?”

  1. Jennifer
    February 18th, 2011 @ 1:31 am

    Hmmm…the Mrs. Armitage stories are some of my favorites. I love the piling on of details building up and up and up, until the triumphant crash. I think my favorite illustrations are in Green Ship.

  2. Eliza
    February 18th, 2011 @ 1:50 am

    It’s hard to pick a favorite Quentin Blake, but I think I’d have to say Cockatoos. So funny! And Elmer by David McKee is a must-read!

  3. Jenny
    February 18th, 2011 @ 6:35 am

    “Mr Magnolia has only one boot…!” by Blake- my childhood fave and now my sons’. McKee- Elmer for sure but we really love “Not Now Bernard” and “Who’s a Clever Baby Then” for hilarious insights into what it’s sometimes like to be a child. In “Not Now Bernard” Bernard tries to tell everyone in the family that there’s a monster that wants to eat him and everyone says “Not Now Bernard” so in the end he goes into the garden and gets eaten by the monster. The monster then goes into the house and also gets ignored by everyone to the point where he gets put to bed and given supper without anyone noticing- my 5 yr old loves it. “Who’s a Clever Baby Then?” has a Grandma who is trying to help baby learn to read by trying to get him to say various words but the baby is one step ahead all of the time. Both my boys join in on each page by being “the baby” (as there’s only one word per page from him) and love the baby’s last line of revenge against his over-keen Grannie.

    I LOVE these fabrics and will be telling my mum about them as she’s a keen quilter :)

  4. Zoe
    February 18th, 2011 @ 8:46 am

    Hi Jennifer, Oh, I haven’t read Green Ship so will have to look out for that one – thanks!

  5. Zoe
    February 18th, 2011 @ 8:49 am

    Hi Eliza, yes, isn’t it hard to pick just one book? Cockatoos is definitely a good one. I like Blake’s birds – another favourite of mine is Up with Birds! – I reviewed it here, along with one of my favourite ever activities on the blog:

  6. Zoe
    February 18th, 2011 @ 8:51 am

    Hi Jenny, I love the sound of Who’s a Clever Baby Then – I don’t know that one. Yes, the fabrics are lovely. They’re Tara Lawn (very fine cotton) and I’ve never quilted with it before – it’s very, very smooth, so I can image that piecing it might be difficult if you were to do a complicated patchwork pattern (which mine isn’t going to be!).

  7. Ali B
    February 18th, 2011 @ 10:28 am

    Mr Magnolia is one of my favourites as well. It, and Mrs Armitage on Wheels, were firm favourites when I taught Reception class. I love Elmer! Do you know Greedy Zebra? Quite similar to Elmer in style.

  8. Zoe
    February 18th, 2011 @ 11:28 am

    Oh, Ali, no I don’t know Greedy Zebra, but I love the look of it! Thankyou :-)

  9. Choxbox
    February 18th, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

    Patrick maybe, actually all of them! Also in my head I cannot think of Dahl minus Blake’s illustrations!

    There was an exhibition of his works at the National Portrait Gallery at Trafalgar square one time – almost ten years back if I remember right. Excellent it was.

  10. sophie
    February 18th, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

    We had our first David McKee yesterday, it’s Mr Benn: Gladiator. We are going to Roma next week with Armel and it’s a good introduction to the fake gladiators standing in front of the Coliseum :-))
    It’s a good book. Armel is at his Grand parent’s, so I do not have his feelings yet.

    I like the liberty fabrics….

  11. se7en
    February 18th, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

    Oh so many… Mr Magnolia, no Mrs Armitage… no wait our favorite, favorite is the Green Ship!!! Actually in a house packed with thousands of books and eight book loving kids, and 80 library books a week… I can stop all my kids in a flash by opening up the Green Ship… Definitely one of our all time top 3 books!!!

  12. joy simpson
    February 18th, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

    My favourite is the Mrs Armitage series as it is wonderful to think of what else she might add when out on the big wave or her bicycle. As for David McKee I would go for Not Now Bernard although all of them are very good.
    Great fabrics!

  13. Zoe
    February 19th, 2011 @ 7:41 am

    Hi Joy, Mrs Armitage is definitely getting the popular vote it would seem – and that’s great for us as we haven’t got any of the books from that series.

    Hi Se7en, yes, I can well imagine your house is wonderfully full of books, and brilliant books at that:-)

    Hi Sophie, Mr Benn brings me happy memories from my childhood – it was an animated series on TV with memorable music. Oh lucky you going to Rome next week!

    Hi Choxbox, yes, for me two – Blake and Dahl are intricately intertwined. But also Blake and Michael Rosen, who we also adore.

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