Books to Treasure: Around the World in Eighty Days, illustrated by Robert Ingpen

Robert Ingpen has been one of my favourite illustrators since I first set eyes on his illustrated edition of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and Wendy.  Each year, since this first illustrated classic back in 2004, Walker Books Australia have published a classic children’s book illustrated by Robert Ingpen.  My favourite one of these is Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows, because I love the way that he illustrates animals.  Robert Ingpen and Walker Books Australia have just released his latest illustrated classic, Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days.

Set out on a thrilling voyage with the quintessential English gentleman, Phileas Fogg. To fulfil a wager made at the Reform Club in London, Fogg and his newly appointed manservant, Passepartout, embark on the race of a lifetime to circumnavigate the globe in just eighty days! Travelling by steamboat, train, and even elephant, and with adventure around every bend, the intrepid duo find themselves rescuing a young Indian woman from sacrifice, escaping kidnap, and battling hurricane winds and all the while, tenacious Detective Fix of Scotland Yard is in hot pursuit, believing Fogg to be the criminal mastermind behind a Bank of England robbery. Rich in humour and excitement, Around the World in Eighty Days deservedly remains one of Jules Verne’s most popular books.

Robert Ingpen’s Around the World in Eighty Days is an absolutely gorgeous book, and this edition is the perfect way to enjoy this classic adventure tale.  It’s a book that you want to share with a child, sitting in a comfy chair, so that everyone can enjoy Robert Ingpen’s beautiful, atmospheric illustrations.  This edition is a book to treasure because you feel like you’re holding something special in your hands.  Not only has Robert produced illustrations both big and small throughout the book, he has also included sketches of the characters in the front and back, and the end papers are the map of Phileas Fogg’s journey around the world.  The book is also beautifully produced, with lovely thick pages with an aged look, that make you feel like each page is a work of art.

Robert Ingpen has a real skill for illustrating vehicles and there are lots in this story.  Robert also perfectly captures the different countries and cultures in his illustrations.  You can look at the illustrations and tell that he is in India, Japan or America.

Robert Ingpen’s illustrated classics are a wonderful Christmas present for children and adults alike.  Get Around the World in Eighty Days and start your Robert Ingpen collection.

The Owl and the Pussycat and Other Nonsense Rhymes by Edward Lear, illustrated by Robert Ingpen

Walker Books Australia and legendary Australian illustrator, Robert Ingpen have been introducing classic children’s stories to the children of today since 2004.  When Robert Ingpen illustrated the centenary edition of Peter Pan and Wendy, I had no idea that he was going to illustrate many other classic children’s books, including The Wind in the Willows (my favourite Robert Ingpen illustrations), The Jungle Book, The Secret Garden, and The Wizard of Oz.  Robert’s style of illustration is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t think of anyone better to bring these classic stories to life.  One of my most memorable meet-the-author moments was when I got the chance to hear Robert speak about his work at the 2006 Children’s Book Council of Australia Conference in Sydney and get my copy of Treasure Island signed.  Walker Books Australia have just published Robert’s latest addition to his classic children’s stories, Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat and Other Nonsense Rhymes.

The book that I remember most from my childhood is the copy of The Owl and the Pussycat that my parents read to me many times.  I still remember the whole rhyme off by heart today so when I opened Robert Ingpen’s illustrated edition of The Owl and the Pussycat and Other Nonsense Rhymes I could focus completely on Robert’s beautiful illustrations.  My favourite part of Robert’s illustrated editions are the end-papers because this is where he publishes his character sketches.  In this book we get to see his sketches of the owl, the pussycat, and the piggy-wig.   One thing that I’ve noticed with Robert’s illustrations is that animals are his best subjects, so the owl and the pussycat are incredibly life-like.  I hadn’t read any of Lear’s other nonsense rhymes before so I loved meeting the Jumblies, the Dong with the luminous Nose, and the man who invented a purely original dress.  Robert Ingpen brings Edward Lear’s characters to life with his stunning, soft illustrations.

5 out of 5 stars