Picture books for Older Children


In my last post, I gave myself some ‘to-do’s’ for my current illustration project. One of them was to look at some illustrated books that are aimed at older children. I’m working on a project where I’m aiming to create some illustrations in response to a children’s story called The House That Sailed Away by Pat Hutchins.

I’m currently undecided about whether I want to aim the illustrations at older children, like the original story, or adapt the story and create some illustrations for younger children.

The other day I went to my local library and looked at some illustrated books that are aimed at older children. Before I looked at the selection, I had no idea what kinds of picture books were available for this age range. In this post I’m taking a closer look at the books I found in order to learn more about the different approaches taken by the different illustrators, the printing restrictions and the size variations on the books.


Grandpa was an Astronaut written by Jonathan Meres and illustrated by Hannah Coulson


Book Specs: full colour illustrations, illustrations every few pages, some full page, some double spread and some spot illustrations.

I love the illustrations in this book. I really like the desaturated colours. They give the illustrations and almost vintage feel.

The illustrations are simple and the line work is quite loose. Although the colours are mostly flat, the illustrations have depth. This is something I’ve struggled with in the past – avoiding …

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The Pirates Legacy written by Alain Surget and illustrators Annette Marnat


Book Specs: monochromatic illustrations, a two page illustration at the beginning of every chapter, some smaller half page illustrations.

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Claude on the Slopes by Alex T. Smith

Book Specs: Black, white and red illustrations, hand drawn simple / minimal style.

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Ottoline goes to school by Chris Riddell

Book Specs: black and white hand drawn illustrations with select areas of blue, double page illustrations and spot illustrations.

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My research has shown that pretty much anything goes when it comes to illustrations aimed at older children. The main difference between books for younger and books for older children in the size of the books and the number of illustrations.

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