Why he’s great: Probably known best for his colorful illustrations, he’s a great writer with simple story lines, usually involving animals (which most kids love). Carle’s books appeal to babies and preschoolers alike — both my kids enjoy his stuff. His books usually have a unique set up, such as holes in the pages or smaller pages leading to bigger ones.
Why she’s great: Her stories are simple but charming. They’re to the point, and the vocabulary is outstanding. Great word choice. Many of her books are illustrated by greats like Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) and Crocket Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon). Some of his best: A Hole Is to Dig, I’ll Be You and You Be Me, The Carrot Seed
5. Arnold Lobel
Why he’s great: He creates hilarious characters who interact in clever dialogue. His illustrations are beautiful, too.
Why she’s great: She remains the best-selling children’s author of all time. Beatrix Potter’s books are chock full of great vocabulary, and her narrative style is heart-warming and funny. Great characters, too. And beautiful illustrations.
Why they’re great: As a married couple with a fascinating story of adventure in their own life, the Reys created one of the most well-loved characters in children’s literature. They’ve created other wonderful characters as well, and a simple voice and universally-appealing plots make most of their works a classic.
Why she’s great: You’re not allowed to have a list of great children’s book authors and not include her. More for the very young crowd, Margaret Wise Brown’s words rhythmically lead the reader on a comforting journey without dumbing down from poor word choice. A classic.
I grew up in a tall terraced Victorian London house with my parents, grandmother, aunt, uncle, younger sister Mary and cat Geoffrey (who was really a prince in disguise. Mary and I would argue about which of us would marry him). Mary and I were always creating imaginary characters and mimicking real ones, and I used to write shows and choreograph ballets for us. A wind-up gramophone wafted out Chopin waltzes. I studied Drama and French at Bristol University, where I met Malcolm, a guitar-playing medic to whom I’m now married.