Feature: Chris Riddell! An appreciation of the New Children's Laureate
Since the inspirational Malory Blackman has come to the end of her tenure, the post of Children's Laureate has swiftly been filled (we were all tempted to apply but, you know, sounded like a lot of hard work). The choice has been made and, in our opinion, it couldn't have been filled by a more worthy champion of children's books.
Chris Riddell is renowned as not only an illustrator of other people's books (most recently for his covers and illustrations for Neil Gaiman, among others), but as the author/illustrator of many much loved books, including the Ottoline and Goth Girl series, and his collaborations with Paul Stewart, including The Edge Chronicles. Adults may also know him as an astute political cartoonist for the Observer. He is a valued supporter of the Alligator's Mouth, having drawn our logo and our Alligator (Mister Alligator? Albert? Aloysius? We have yet to decide on a name...) At our launch day on 9th May, we were honoured to have him cut our ceremonial ribbon and charm our ceremonial customers.
One thing we're very much looking forward to seeing is how Chris will inspire drawing skills in young people. In an age when art is often sidelined and children are all too often lead to say and believe the terrible words 'I can't draw', the new Children's Laureate's first message is 'Everyone can draw'. We can only add, 'Hear! Hear!' The man is a drawing machine, sure to inspire many children. See his Instagram page for a dip into his daily sketchbook. Here are some familiar characters and friends of the shop, drawn immediately after our launch.
If you're already familiar with Chris' work, you might be thinking, 'What else haven't I discovered?' or, if you're new to his work, 'Where do I start?' We've picked one staff favourite each to review and give you an idea of what's out there. Click to read...
Congratulations, Mr. Riddell. Before we couldn't imagine how you could be more insanely busy. Now we can. And we're sure you'll do a great job.