The Wonder of Picture Books


I love books and picture books are the best.

The Best Cat, The Est Cat by Libby Hathorn and Illustrated by Rosie Handley
The Best Cat at the State Library of New South Wales

Picture books allow you to escape into a magical universe surrounded by stunning artwork. As a kid I loved imagining myself in my picture books, the artwork was so fun and vivid that it really created a whole new world and for a kid, this was truly magical. Many picture books from my childhood had psychedelic and out-there artwork as well as crazy characters, it was the 1970’s so this is not surprising. My favourites were the out-there ones with funny and odd stories, many of the kid’s favourites now have the same characteristics as the ones I loved when I was little.

Some picture books allow you to think of what comes next, others allow you to be creative, and some allow you to be part of the story more. I am not sure if the pictures help but the books that stick with me had full pages of detailed artwork that really made the story.

One of my all-time favourites was a picture book that came with a record, yes I am that old. It was Peter and Wolf, and the recording told the story with music from an orchestra, the recording had certain sounds for when I had to turn the page. The book of course had all the artwork that would accompany the story and I was enthralled as a child and used to listen to the record with my picture book of Peter and Wolf for hours on end.

Fast forward to when I had kids, I of course had to share the joy of picture books and some of my favourites from my own childhood.

The State Library of NSW is celebrating the wonder of picture books with a new exhibit, “Imagine…The Wonder of Picture Books”.

When is the exhibit on?

Saturday 9 July 2022 to Sunday 9 July 2023

Opening hours for the exhibit?

Monday to Thursday9 am to 8 pm
Friday9 am to 5 pm
Weekends10 am to 5 pm

Where is the exhibit?

The State Library of NSW – 1 Shakespeare PlaceSydney NSW 2000
Plan your visit to the State Library and get there with ease.

“Stories and characters from much-loved Australian picture books come to life in this celebration of children’s literature. 

Come and see some of the most beautiful picture books and artworks in the State Library’s collection and beyond. You’ll find original illustrations and preliminary sketches from your favourite books and discover new favourites in newcomers like Christina Huynh (Grandma’s Treasured Shoes). 

Younger visitors can enjoy our dedicated activity space, brimming with fun things to do. Learn how to draw popular book characters and make a zine, read books from the exhibition (including 10 with braille), and play with the giant textured tree and magnetic wall.”

Did you know?

“Each artist has their own creative processes that give their books a distinctive look and feel. When we view their early sketches, we can see how their inspiration evolves into final illustrations.”

One of the pages from the book, The Best Cat

What is The Best Cat, Est Cat About?

“The Best Cat, the Est Cat tells the story of a mysterious talking cat who takes two children and readers on a rollicking adventure through the State Library. They’re chased by ghosts and discover incredible historical treasures, before finally learning the Best Cat’s secret.”

The cover art of the book, The Best Cat is really interesting


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5 Responses
  • Cassy
    December 27, 2022

    My youngest adores cats (almost as much as she loves reading) and thinks they’re all the best so this would be a purrrrfect prize for her.

  • Richard Harrison
    December 28, 2022

    My little one loves cats and all cute things and this book looks gorgeous!

  • Kathy
    December 29, 2022

    would love for my nephew as his mum is allergic to cats but we love them

  • Monique Hodgkinson
    December 31, 2022

    Picture books are just so gorgeous and I love the art style of this one! Would make such a wonderful treat for my close friend’s new baby, what a lovely looking story.

  • Carol
    January 5, 2023

    Picture Books are the BESTEST! Sharing them together is the BESTEST.
    A book about books AND cats is definitely the BESTEST!

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