Review Blog

Apr 30 2019

Flights of fancy: stories, pictures and inspiration from ten Children's Laureates by Quentin Blake et al.

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Children's Laureates by Quentin Blake et al.
Walker Books. 2019. ISBN: 9781406387858.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. This slim volume of writing and illustrating prompts, celebrating the first 10 British Children's Laureates, enthralled me; having recently scanned A velocity of being (Popova and Bedrick) in which prominent American creatives penned or illustrated a motivational letter to children about the importance of reading. Lacking the gravitas of such philosophical dictums, Flights of fancy is infinitely more serviceable, and not solely for its apparent purpose i.e. cultivating burgeoning authors and illustrators by fleshing out some useful strategies and exemplars.
Young readers without any creative ambitions, will inhabit both the strategies and the diverse stories, plays, poems and visual texts composed by esteemed authors. Malorie Blackman takes a kernel of narrative and facets three perspectives. Michael Rosen bounces in word play to create a succinct poetic message. Julia Donaldson transforms a fable into a script. Chris Riddell, Lauren Child, Anthony Browne and Quentin Blake conjure the tricks of visual narratives. Anne Fine, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo fling about imaginative prompts for their creations.
Each Laureate's section, bordered by distinctively coloured frames, is easily located via the Contents.
20 collective project ideas and a biographical section deliver either quick grabs or background details. Timed to celebrate the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Children's Laureate award and bursary, this is a delightful manual for children of all ages to visit and re-visit: for pleasure, for beloved authors voices, and not least for stimulus because schools historically demand a large amount of creative writing from their students.
Deborah Robins

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