Lydia Monks published her first book I Wish I Were a DogÂ in 1999 because no one could find her a book to illustrate. She uses a delightful mix of painting and collage to bring her stories alive. The level of detail in the illustrations and the quirky sense of humour expressed means that two years after first picking up one of her books I still love looking at the pictures. The kids like them too. Lydia’s own books are sweet stories with plenty of opportunity for funny noises; No More Eee-orrh!Â and Ooo, Ooo, Ooo GorillaÂ being our favourite noisy books. With Aaaarrgghh, Spider!Â and her most recent book Eeeek, Mouse!Â common household pests are given a place in the family.
Of course as Lydia is primarily an illustrator there are countless other titles to her name. We are particularly fond of her collaborations with Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo. The combination of Donaldson’s poetic narratives and Monks’ offbeat illustrations makes for a real treat.Â Sharing a ShellÂ is a seaside story about learning to live together. The backgrounds areÂ packed with details such as seagulls whoÂ wear head scarves and sleep on clouds.Â What The Ladybird HeardÂ has just been released in paperback and on every page there is a ladybird to be found although be warned – get your glasses as some of them are mighty hard to find!
Whether you choose one of her own books or one she has illustrated you will be guaranteed a visual feast of colour and a world which jumps off the page into your imagination.