Rob Biddulph is the man behind some of Baby Bookworm’s favourite bedtime books.
We’ve read Kevin countless times, roared with Fred at the Bear Olympics in Grrrrr! and can practically recite Odd Dog Out off the top of our heads.
Now we’re set to go crackers for Dinosaur Juniors: Happy Hatchday, the first in a series aimed at a younger audience, all about nine prehistoric playmates.
This introduction to Gregosaurus, Otto, Winnie and co sees them enjoying their first day on Earth and planning a very special shindig for someone.
Apparently the books were inspired by a visit to the National History Museum with his family. But what books have inspired Rob during his life and career? Here are his favourite five…
Dogger by Shirley Hughes. £7.99 (paperback), Penguin
“Dogger would definitely be in my top three children’s books of all time. I have one of those strange memories where I can remember the books we were given to read in primary school and the order. I remember Dogger being number three book and it being a badge of honour.
“When we had our kids, I re-bought the book and it became one of their favourites too. It’s one of those stories where even though maybe the illustration style is slightly dated, it is timeless. There are still lots of things in there that resonate today, like a tombola stall at the fair. Whenever we go to the summer fair we end up coming back with all the toys we’ve donated!”
Mr Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown. £6.99 (paperback), Two Hoots
“During the four or five years I was trying to get published, I would spend my lunchtimes in the book shop, browsing and looking at everyone else’s work. The books that I have particularly liked in recent years were by Peter Brown.
“Mr Tiger Goes Wild is beautifully designed with wonderful colour palette but it has a great story too. It’s set in a world where animals go to work and wear suits and behave like humans. But Mr Tiger decides to take his clothes off and return to being like a wild animal. It’s a really good concept.”
How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Seuss. £14.99 (hardback special edition), HarperCollins Children’s
“My favourite children’s text of all time is How The Grinch Stole Christmas By Dr Seuss. It inspired me to pursue a career in picture books. I’d always done illustration but it was when I was reading bedtime stories to my children that I had the lightbulb moment and decided to give it a go.
“This was by far my favourite text to read aloud to them. The rhyme is perfect, there’s no extra syllable, you don’t trip over it. And it’s just so funny. It takes me six months to a year to write the text for my books because I want to get them absolutely perfect, like Dr Seuss. They are so efficient and they move the story on really quickly.”
The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers. £6.99 (paperback), HarperCollins Children’s
“The book that made me want to do this – from a visual point of view – was The Incredible Book Eating Boy. It made me realise that this medium is really creative, it’s a unique thing. There’s nothing else like it. Especially if you are an author-illustrator. You are like the director of a film that you are also writing and casting . You have all this control.
“This book is a real work of art and it elevated the medium in my eyes. You could hang every one in a gallery. Oliver’s books are really good for young kids – very simple and there is a nice atmosphere to them. The Incredible Book Eating Boy is a really good concept, too.”
Paddington by Michael Bond. £6.99 (paperback), HarperCollins Children’s
“Paddington is a big favourite in our house. I have three girls and it’s difficult for me to think which is my favourite book and which is theirs. Often the two are combined because we read our favourite books to our children.
“I met Michael Bond about a year before he died and that was a proper hero moment.”
Dinosaur Juniors: Happy Hatchday by Rob Biddulph is out on 5 April 2018. £12.99 (hardback), HarperCollins Children’s