My poem Who Killed King Rat? appears in this season’s edition of The Cat, the magazine of the Cat Protection League. The illustrator, Rasoul Hudda, has done a wonderful job with his depiction of a stately King Rat in procession, supremely confident, while behind him in the shadows lurks a killer (actually my kitten Badger, who surprised me with a dead rat and inspired the poem). The picture brought a whole new angle to my poem.
You can see more of Rasoul’s vibrant and enchanting work here. I love his cartoon of a cat creeping on to its owner’s knee and popping up underneath the newspaper.
Admiring Rasoul’s illustration made me think further on how vital illustrations are to children’s books, especially picture books where the pictures contribute just as much, if not more, than the text. Who can imagine Maurice Sendak‘s Where the Wild Things are without its distinctive illustrations? And what would Alice and Winnie the Pooh have been like without Tenniel or EH Shepard? As picture books merge into apps, creating graphic heavy interactive hybrids like The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Maurice Lessmore, the illustrator can only become even more vital to the creation of great literature for children.