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Picture perfect: 5 best illustrated children's books

Keep the kids enthralled at story time with one of these beautiful books


1. Three Little Owls by Quentin Blake

Sure to delight children as he has for generations, Quentin Blake’s latest illustrations accompany this cheeky book following three rather naughty owls on a trip around the world. Starting and ending at Christmas, this book is a perfect gift and will doubtless charm any unruly kids come Christmas!

£11.99, Tate Publishing,

2. The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Acclaimed children’s author Lemony Snicket is well known for his dark and surreal saga, A Series of Unfortunate Events, but with his latest work he looks to rescue kids from their fear rather than plunge them into it. The Dark is full of suspense and drama, but  ends happily and carries a great message about facing fears. The accompanying pared-down but charming  illustrations from Jon Klassen make this a stand-out choice.

£11.99, Orchard books

3. Jemmy Button - Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali

A retelling of the true story of Jemmy Button, an indigenous boy from Tierra del Fuego, South America, who was brought over to England in the mid 1800s by the British  to be 'civilised'. American Uman and Italian Vidali met via the Internet, bonding over their interest in the intriguing tale. Their vivid illustrations bring Jemmy's feelings of isolation, loneliness and eventual belonging beautifully to life.

£12.99, Templar Publishing

4. What If…? by Anthony Browne

Glancing through other people's windows and imagining their lives is a fun game to play. Ex-Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne lets his mind run wild in this beautifully realised book. Weird and wonderful, it will quickly become a firm favourite.

£11.99, Doubleday 

5. Fog Island by Tomi Ungurer

In a book dedicated to Ireland, this latest offering from Ungurer is a love song to the Emerald Isle. The mist-shrouded illustrations capture the feel of the story: mysterious and magical. Slightly surreal, this is a proper adventure book with a supernatural twist - it's bound to capture the imagination of any young explorer.

£8.99, Phaidon Press