Dorothy Butler, a New Zealand author and educationalist is probably better known for what she has written about books, children and reading than she
is for her picture books. I had read Cushla and her Books while I was at university and then years later, j
e I had my first child I was introduced to her book, Babies Need Books. I used it in my consultancy work when running parent information evenings. I consulted it often to see what books Dorothy recommended, and I gave a copy of it to every friend who was having a baby. Then as my children grew I read the sequel Five to Eight. The library still has copies of these books in the parent reference section, and yes while the reading lists are no longer
current and the books maybe out of print, the theories and the sentiments expressed are as pertinent as ever. Used with current books which recommend book titles, such as Daniel Hahn's The Ultimate First Book Guide and the new Julia Eccleshare's 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up you can't go wrong.
And thirdly, it is prolific Australian picture book author Margaret Wild's birthday. It is hard to know what to say about her as she has done so much. She isn't afraid to tackle difficult themes. She has so much variety and because her stories are illustrated by a large number of different illustrators there is not a sameness about her books. My favourite is Fox, but Midnight Babies and The Pocket Dogs are most popular with the very young children.
P.S. What a wonderful birthday present for Margaret Wild, her book Harry and Hopper illustrated by Freya Blackwood has just made the shortlist for the Kate Greenaway medal! Freya's beautiful illustrations are certainly up against some interesting competition...Chris Riddell, David Roberts, Oliver Jeffers and Satoshi Kitamura among them.