Thursday, August 04, 2005

Nick Butterworth

Nick Butterworth is one of my favorite children's books illustrators (and writers) for the younger set. His work is very popular in the U.K., but much less so in the States.

Butterworth is most well known for his books about Percy the kindhearted park keeper, a man who goes to all sorts of lengths to keep the park animals happy. I especially like The Hedgehog's Balloon in which Percy tries to make a hedgehog's wildest dream come true--to hold a balloon.

Butterworth's illustrations are beautiful and kindhearted. And, he's been recognized for his work in the U.K. This year he was again a finalist for the Kate Greenaway award for The Whisperer.

When we were in London we picked up Albert Le Blanc, a very funny book about a white bear with a sad expression. It begins, "This is Albert Le Blanc. Even from the back he looks sad. His head hangs low. His shoulders are hunched. His arms flop loosely by his side." All the toys in the toys store try to cheer him up, some more aggressively than others. And, even though they succeed, my favorite part of the book is Albert's repeated attempts to tell the toys that he's not actually sad. Very cute!