The winner of the 1995 Mother Goose Award for the most exciting newcomer to British children’s book illustration is Flora McDonnell for I Love Animals
Charlotte Voake, one of this year’s judges, reports
At this year’s Mother Goose ceremony a guest asked me how we came to our decision so I thought it would be interesting to describe the process.
It begins well before the judges meet in March; from about Christmas, books start arriving in the post. This means we have plenty of time to think about them and look at them, which is good, because some books grow on you gradually. Actually, with this year’s winner we were all pretty smitten from the very start. The titles considered are by illustrators new (not necessarily young) to children’s books, and the variety of subject matter and style is, of course, huge.
For this prize we’re looking for something fairly specific – what the judges hope to see is something new and fresh (not necessarily perfect) – a talent that will develop. By the time the judges meet everyone has a good idea of the books they think are potential winners. We sit and compare thoughts and eventually arrive at a shortlist. Then we talk about each book and try to decide which one most fits the remit of the prize. And this year we thought the most exciting newcomer was Flora McDonnell for her lovely, bold and thrilling paintings of animals in I Love Animals published by Walker Books (0 7445 3726 6, £8.99; 0 7445 4346 0, £4.99 pbk).
Everyone included on the shortlist is invited to the Award Ceremony and it’s there that the winner is announced. For anyone who doesn’t know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of this sort of judgement I’m reminded of something Quentin Blake once said: ‘it’s like being invited to a dinner where only one guest gets a meal’.
The golden goose egg and a cheque for £1,000 was presented to Flora McDonnell at a reception held by the sponsors, Books For Children. Julia Eccleshare, another judge, praised the quality and variety of this year’s entries, but concluded ‘it was the boldness, energy and direct child appeal of Flora McDonnell’s illustrations that impressed the judges’.
On this year’s shortlist were Andy DaVolls for Tano and Binti written by Linda DaVolls (Heinemann, 0 434 96630 4, £8.99); Sara Fanelli for Button (ABC, 1 85406 186 0, £9.95); Cathie Felstead for A Caribbean Dozen (Walker, 0 7445 2172 6, £14.99) and Michael Gaffney for The Secret Forests (David Bennett Books, 1 85602 127 0, £9.99).
Other judges this year were Nicola Bayley, Wendy Cooling, Michael Foreman, Sally Grindley, and Colin Hawkins.