My favourite five: Nicola Kent, author of Terry and the Brilliant Book

The importance of books in the life of a child is the very reason why this blog exists.

And Nicola Kent’s new story is all about the joy that reading can bring – especially when you share a good read with a good friend.

Terry and the Brilliant Book follows what happens when Sue gives her best pal Terry a book instead of a ball for his birthday. At first he is baffled – he can’t bounce it, bat it or throw it.

But as Terry becomes engrossed in the story, he just can’t put it down… which brings a whole host of amusing problems!

This is Nicola’s third book and she is quickly making a name for herself in the picture book world thanks to her distinctive colourful artwork and amusing and touching observations. Her debut, The Strongest Mum, really struck a chord with me, particularly the overflowing handbag and shoulders that carry a dozen burdens for others.

Nicola Kent, author and illustrator
Author and illustrator Nicola Kent

The author-illustrator also knows the life-changing power of books only too well, overcoming illness as a teen to become a TV producer against the odds and then turning her hand to writing and drawing after having her children.

The book’s amazing endpapers

To celebrate her latest release and World Book Day 2019, we asked Nicola to share five of her favourite picture books of all time – and here are her choices, all favourites of her own children too…

Harry By The Sea by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham

Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham. £7.99 (paperback), Red Fox
I love all the Harry the dog books, with Zion’s beautifully crafted stories perfectly matched with Bloy Graham’s graphic, limited palette illustrations which are stylish and joyful at the same time.
Two Can Toucan by David McKee
Two Can Toucan by David McKee. £8.99 (hardback), Andersen Press
Another example of the lovely style and colour scheme that comes from older printing methods. I loved this book as a child and it’s remained a definite influence on my own work.
Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs. £7.99 (paperback), Puffin
Raymond Briggs is one of my absolute heroes. I love the down home domestic drudgery brought to the ultimate icon of childhood through Briggs’s beautifully detailed drawings.
Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett. £6.99 (paperback), Two Hoots
I love very simple, graphic books with a pared down narrative and this is a perfect gem of that genre. This is also the book that decided me to follow my dream and become a professional maker of picture books myself.
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and Christian Robinson. £10.99 (hardback), Atheneum
This is a current favourite of mine in which the words and pictures spark with each other to create brilliant humour, charm and a great take home message.
Terry and the Brilliant Book by Nicola Kent is out now. £6.99 (paperback), Macmillan
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