Best International Picture Books

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse, written and illustrated by Mac Barnett  and Jon Klassen.
Published by Candlewick Press
USA, 2018

Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen pay homage to classic fairy tales in the wonderfully unpredictable night-time adventure, The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse. Klassen plays so well with light and darkness with a visual language which is entirely his own. We strongly believe that these characters are alive; their expressions are striking. Even though it’s a dramatic story, there’s great humour in it. We learn about cooperation, loyalty and friendship. And we discover why the wolf howls at the moon. Barnett and Klassen are one of the most interesting and exciting picture book duos of recent times.

《车票去哪里了?》(Where Have the Tickets Gone?), written and illustrated by Liu Xugong.
Published by Global Views/Commonwealth Publishing Group
Taiwan, 2018

This is an exceptional picture book which uses simple lines and the colours of orange and blue to tell a heart-warming and unpredictable story about love. The passengers’ tickets were blown away by a gust of wind, so the bus driver drove them after the tickets. They overcame many difficulties to only find that all the tickets have become quilts for birds.

《姥姥的布头儿魔法》(Grandma’s Magic of Cloth Scraps), written and illustrated by Ao Zi.
Published by 21st Century Publishing Group
China, 2018

This is a high-quality original picture book with a very fine layout, text and illustrations. The author, who is also the illustrator, has borrowed patterns from local fabric arts in Hunan province, and created a tender and imaginative story by combining drawings with collages.

The Day War Came, written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb.
Published by Walker Books.
United Kingdom, 2018

It is easy to write a bad children's book about war, and very hard to write a genuinely good one like The Day War Came. This is the story of a young girl who loses her home, her town, and even her family to the ravages of war and who--in an all-too-common contemporary predicament--must start life over in a new and unwelcoming place with nothing but a slim shred of hope to sustain her. The first-person narrative is touching in its rawness and emotional clarity. The illustrations are dark in some places and luminous in others as this resilient girl moves from the good life that every child deserves to its extreme opposite and back again.

Animalphabet, by Julia Donaldson and Sharon King-Chai.
Published by Two Hoots (Macmillan Children’s Books)
United Kingdom, 2018

Written as an interactive guessing game, this splendidly die-cut alphabet of animals sets itself apart from other non-fiction picture books with its eye-catching artwork and genuinely designed fold-out flaps. Who can slither better than a rabbit? A snake! Who can growl better than a snake? A tiger! A string of questions invites readers to guess and compare. Moreover, there are clever hints and peep-through holes within the artwork that will amaze and delight young children as they read on to explore the animal world and learn to use the alphabet.