My favourite five: author Caryl Hart

Caryl Hart must be one of the most prolific children’s authors working today. When she’s not busy with her Albie series and Princess and the Peas books, she reimagining classic tales for a modern audience or creating empowering picture books like the brilliant Girls Can Do Anything!

Now Caryl has teamed up with another of our favourite new talents and queen of the modern fairytale, Bethan Woollvin, for one of the most striking looking and accessible non-fiction books we’ve seen.

Meet The Planets is a beautiful rhyming journey through space and cleverly disguises learning as lots of fun. Baby Bookworm was taken with it from the first read, which is always the sign of a book about to go galactic.

To celebrate the book’s publication, we asked Caryl to pick the books, writers and illustrators who brighten her life…

J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, as retold by Caryl Hart and Sarah Warburton

My favourite… classic children’s book

Peter Pan, because I spent a year working with Nosy Crow to retell this story in rhyme so I now know it inside out and have developed a deep affection for the story and its characters.
Their adventures are magical and timeless and the idea of flying to a secret land is such an evocative and tantalising notion that I think this one is now very firmly embedded in my heart. 
Sarah Warburton’s illustrations are mesmerising and I’m extremely grateful to have been involved in this project.
My favourite… recent read 
Oh gosh, there are so many! Can I have two? My first is PRESS HERE by Herve Tullet.  This book is so innovative and really challenges the idea of what a book can be. It is so simple, but great fun.
But even better than that is, The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak.  I once read this book out in assembly and had 400 primary school children falling about laughing.  I only wish I’d been clever enough to write it myself. Hilarious!
My favourite… children’s author
I think I’d have to say Bob Graham. I’ve loved every book of his I’ve ever read so he’s definitely up there at the top of my list.
His stories are so emotional and full of hope, and I love the fact that his characters are red-headed, tattooed and pierced working class people.  They live in blocks of flats or next to motorways, and their houses are messy and slightly chaotic but full of love, just like real people’s houses.
I think my favourite book of his is Let’s Get a Pup.  It makes me cry and smile every time I read it.
Farmer Duck

My favourite… children’s illustrator  

This is another really hard one!  Obviously ALL the illustrators I have worked with are my favourites and I wouldn’t want to single any of them out for extra praise for fear of making the others feel unloved!  

So, of the illustrators I haven’t yet had the pleasure of working with, I think I’d pick Jackie Morris for her wonderful wildlife illustrations; Nick Sharratt for the happy hours pouring over which bed we would choose and which house we’d live in; Helen Oxenbury for the all the well-thumbed classics she’s given us including my all time favourite book Farmer Duck; and Colin Thompson for his wonderfully surreal illustrations in Looking for Atlantis.

My favourite… character   

Everyone loves Kipper of course, but I think our family’s all time favourite is another of Mick Inkpen’s creations, Wibbly Pig.  His name is so evocative and the stories we have with him in are just adorable.  

I also think Lola in Charlie and Lola is hugely funny, totally adorable and brilliantly observed by Lauren Child.  

Meet The Planets by Caryl Hart and Bethan Woollvin is out now. £11.99 (hardback) / £6.99 (paperback), Bloomsbury. Available from Amazon

You may also like…

Caryl Hart talks tomboys, getting her big break at 42 and the gender divide

Bethan Woollvin picks her favourite five fairytales

100 children’s books with female lead characters

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