The best children’s books in which to happily lose yourself for hours

Deborah Niland Author Of Annie's Chair
By Deborah Niland

Who am I?

Being a children’s illustrator and writer, I have built up a well-loved collection of childen’s books over the years. They must have great drawings and imaginative concepts. They are books I can come back to again and again. The books I have chosen are ones where you can lose yourself in their intricate detailed worlds and forget about day-to-day troubles for a while. These books can also help reluctant readers by enticing them into a visual world first and then into appreciating the written word. 


I wrote...

Annie's Chair

By Deborah Niland,

Book cover of Annie's Chair

What is my book about?

First published in 2005 this picture book has been consistently popular, mainly due to the common theme of sharing and how compromise can be the best workable solution for everyone. Young children can have a tough time sharing and they can be passionate about certain possessions. This story covers the frustrations and obstinacy involved when battling it out. Who will win?

This book has won the Children's Book of the Year - Early Childhood, several Children's Choice Awards, and the Speech Pathology Australia, Best Book for Language Development for Young Children.

The books I picked & why

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Where's Waldo? The Wonder Book

By Martin Handford,

Book cover of Where's Waldo? The Wonder Book

Why this book?

This book is perfect for looking at on your own or sharing. The wealth of detail is amazing! Open any page and I am absorbed for hours looking for various people and objects and enjoying the funny scenes of massive crowds. I still have my original copy from 1987 and am delighted anew whenever I take a peek. The other Where’s Waldo books in the series are equally entertaining.


Stephen Biesty's Cross-Sections Castle

By Richard Platt, Stephen Biesty (illustrator),

Book cover of Stephen Biesty's Cross-Sections Castle

Why this book?

This book describes and shows what life was like in a 14th-century castle. If you have ever wondered how hundreds of people lived and worked in a castle then this is the book. The mind-boggling detail in the illustrations keeps me poring over them for ages. Each page reveals a cut-away of the castle interior from turrets to dungeons! All the books in this series are incredible in their detail and knowledge.


Apartment Book

By Richard Platt, Leo Hartas,

Book cover of Apartment Book

Why this book?

This book has so much detail to keep the reader fascinated. It’s like looking inside a doll’s house with its constant activity from all the families and residents living there and what they get up to over the course of a day. Each page is a gem and the intricate detail keeps you engrossed in their lives. Adults would enjoy this book too. I still have my well-loved copy from 1995.


Yellow Yellow

By Frank Asch, Mark Alan Stamaty (illustrator),

Book cover of Yellow Yellow

Why this book?

I have kept my copy of this book since the 1970s! The story is simply told but the illustrations drawn in black ink and one colour are so full of weird and quirky things that appeal to my imagination. Every time I look at it I see something new!  A great book for beginner readers and eagle-eyed children and adults. A perfect picture book.


The Animal Atlas: A Pictorial Guide to the World's Wildlife

By DK, Kenneth Lilly (illustrator),

Book cover of The Animal Atlas: A Pictorial Guide to the World's Wildlife

Why this book?

I love to see beautifully drawn animals and this book has it in abundance. For animal lovers who want to know more about animal habitats worldwide. Find out interesting facts about hundreds of rare and common species and enjoy the detailed and beautiful artwork of Kenneth Lilly. This book is a delight for any age group.


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