Fierce Bad Rabbits


Picture book maker, Mini Grey- The Last Wolf– ‘Making a picture book is also a bit like making your own film – and you can make anything you want happen, however impossible!’ 

Poet Clare Pollard began considering picture books as she selected titles to read to her unborn baby. Her considerations grew to include titles she’d read as a child, including ‘The Giant Jam Sandwich’ or ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch’. When did children begin reading picture books? Which were the first picture books? Clare Pollard’s research evolved so that she charted the evolution of picture books, looking at their purpose, construction, content, market and impact.

We begin in the eighteenth century, and continue to titles which have entered popular contemporary life, like ‘The Gruffalo‘ and ‘Owl Babies‘. Who were these picture book makers? What are their stories? What motivated them to create picture books?

‘Fierce Bad Rabbits‘ is a fascinating history. I love the way the writer is able to interweave her childhood memories alongside her research, and experience as a poet, and mother of two young children. I have learned so much from reading this story. While it is a superb piece of research and personal history, it is also really interesting. I looked forward to the back stories of each successive title and writer, from Kate Greenaway to Satoshi Kitamura.

‘Fierce Bad Rabbits’ is recommended to librarians, teachers, booksellers and parents, and anyone who wants to know about picture books that shape/d and shape lives. Bookwagon recommends this title, highly.

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Fierce Bad Rabbits

The Tales Behind Children’s Picture Books

Clare Pollard

(Fig Tree, an imprint of Penguin Books)– hardback

‘Fierce Bad Rabbits‘ is essential reading matter for parents, teachers, librarians and children’s booksellers. Poet Clare Pollard takes us behind the stories of some of our best-loved picture books. Furthermore, she examines the makers; their motivations, histories and impact. Alongside these stories are Clare Pollard’s own. She reflects upon her own childhood, the reliability of memory and the stories that she read, told and heard, and the stories her own young children will remember and share.
When were we first aware of picture books? What are picture books? Could the first picture book be considered Orbis sensualiam pictus, published in the late seventeenth century in Nuremberg? Possibly, it is ‘A Little Pretty Pocket Book‘ or ‘The Butterfly’s Ball, and the Grasshopper’s Feast’. What were the reasons for their creation? How were they created? What was their market?
Which picture books impacted most upon our society? How have picture books evolved? Which picture books have lasted, appreciated, grown and why?
After hearing Clare Pollard speak on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, I determined that ‘Fierce Bad Rabbits’ was a title that our readers would appreciate. It is captivating, informative and reflects our stories alongside those of so many beloved titles.

BBC Radio 4 Rediscovering Picture Books Clare Pollard 31-7-2019



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