The shortlist for the Klaus Flugge Prize, which awards the most exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration, was announced last night, Wednesday 15th May.
For the first time, there is an all-female shortlist, and a good showing for the Cambridge School of Art – four of the six shortlisted illustrators are graduates of Martin Salisbury’s MA in Children’s Book Illustration (Sam Boughton, Eve Coy, Emily Haworth-Booth, Fifi Kuo).
The shortlisted books have very different subjects: a penguin and a king; a mermaid and a beginner gardener; Little Red Riding Hood and a girl looking after her daddy. All have powerful themes, as the contemporary picturebook has increasingly become a vehicle for strong messages in relation to the issues of our time – social, environmental and political.
From a longlist of twenty picture books by debut illustrators, a panel of judges comprising former Waterstones Children’s Laureate and preeminent illustrator Anthony Browne; Kate Milner, 2018 Klaus Flugge Prize winner; Derek Brazell, of the Association of Illustrators; Seven Stories bookseller Billiejo Carlisle; and Farrah Serroukh, Learning Programme Leader at CLPE (Centre for Literary in Primary Education), have chosen a shortlist of six.
The Extraordinary Gardner, Sam Boughton (Tate)
Editor Holly Tonks, designer Ness Wood
What the judges said: there’s an exuberance in the artwork; some wonderful spreads and Joe’s urban world is really well done; it has real child appeal
Looking After Daddy, Eve Coy (Andersen Press)
Editor Libby Hamilton, designer Rebecca Garrill
What the judges said: the images tell their own stories; really good interplay between text and illustration; I smiled all the way through
The King Who Banned the Dark, Emily Haworth-Booth (Pavilion Children’s Books)
Editor Neil Dunnicliffe, designer Lee-May Lim
What the judges said: a great idea and it really makes the most of light and dark; there’s lots of variety in the use of page layout, and lots of surprises; it’s full of energy and humour
I Can Fly, Fifi Kuo, editor Leilani Sparrow (Boxer Books)
Designer David Bennett
What the judges said: a beautiful book; a lovely sense of movement; the story has been done before but she’s transformed it; fantastic drawing skills, every penguin is different
Julian is a Mermaid, Jessica Love (Walker Books)
Editor Tanya Rosie, art director Deirdre McDermott
What the judges said: it reminded me of Sendak, it’s hard to believe it’s a debut; the illustrations say things that words would struggle to express; delivers an important message without feeling didactic
Red and the City, Marie Voigt (Oxford)
Editor Peter Marley, designer Kate Adams
What the judges said: the characters are simply drawn but have real personality; there’s a European feel to the artwork; a clever, multi-layered retelling of a well-known story
The winner will be revealed at an award ceremony in London on Wednesday 11th September 2019.