Candy Gourlay struggles to choose just one book she wishes she’d written.
It is almost cruel to ask an author what she wished she’d written. There are so many gorgeous books out there and yes, I admit it, when I get to the end of a brilliant book that has totally transported me, I can’t help that tiny spark of jealousy. That little voice saying, well, why couldn’t YOU write a book as good as that?
Not Now Bernard by David McKee is hilarious and a little bit edgy with the shocker of an ending. I love the economy of the text and the dark comedy. It’s like a comic strip in a book, and I LOVE comic strip humour.
Persepolis by Marian Satrapi is a graphic novel telling the story of a little girl growing up in Iran when it metamorphosed from a westernized society to an Islamic fundamentalist state. As a young woman, I experienced the upheaval of a revolution in the Philippines and the simplicity of Satrapi’s black and white art and the power of her story, made me want to tell my own story. Maybe someday.
But The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson is perfectly pitched and so jealous making. There’s a house. With chicken legs. It goes everywhere, and poor Marinka never gets the chance to stop in any one place and make friends. I loved so many things about this book particularly the way it used the glorious folk stories about Baba Yaga to create a completely contemporary and heart-warming story. I wish I’d written it.
Candy Gourlay’s latest book Bone Talk (978-1788450171) is published by David Fickling Books.
The House with Chicken Leg’s (978-1474940665) is published by Usborne, £6.99