Dave Shelton is an illustrator and writer, his novel A Boy and a Bear in a Boat was shortlisted for the 2013 Carnegie, to read our review press here. Dave also creates comics, both penning the text and inking the illustrations, his work can be found in the The DFC Comic (forefather of The Phoenix) and as graphic novels published by The David Fickling Library.
What was your favourite children’s book as a child?This is a question I get asked quite a lot and I really struggle to answer it, I’m afraid. I remember reading quite a lot when I was a child but I don’t remember having any particular favourite book at any stage. I do have fond memories of Dr Seuss books in general though, and The Cat in the Hat in particular. There’s a scene in a Harrison Ford movie (I forget which one) and I was watching it while visiting my parents sometime in my thirties, I think. My dad happened to walk into the room as the Harrison Ford character was reading The Cat in the Hat to his daughter. As he did so, my dad started reciting the words in time with him, still remembering them from when he read it to my brothers and me 25 years or so earlier. So I guess that must have been a favourite with us - one of those “Again! Again!” books.
What is your favourite children’s book as an adult?I’m not sure what my absolute favourite children’s book is now. I’ve just been one of the judges for the Branford Boase Award, and I loved the book we chose as the winner for that: Infinite Sky, by C J Flood. It’s just so beautifully written. But I still love a good picture book too, so I could easily choose Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back, for instance, because it’s so hilariously funny. Or there are the comics that I love to read to my step daughter, like Tintin (my favourite of those is probably The Black Island) and Asterix (Obelix and Co. is my top choice of those.)
What do you think makes children’s books so inspirational?
I think children make children’s books so inspirational. Because children tend to be less constricted by any kind of rules about how stories can be told this gives authors a freedom to be a little bolder, take more risks with both the story itself and the way that it’s told. There’s less of a sense that some things just aren’t allowed.