My standard answer, if asked is there a book that I wish I had written, is no. I think it’s dangerous to compare your work with that of other writers. I always tell young writers to judge themselves by their own material, to look at how far they have come, rather than gaze longingly at how far others have travelled.
Having said that, I have all the illustrative talents of a gnu, so I can certainly dream of having created the perfect picture book, since it’s something I can never even attempt. And the picture book I wish I could have written is Little Nemo in Slumberland, by Winsor McCay.
It’s not strictly speaking a picture book, since it’s a collection of Sunday comic strips, but when a work is this powerful, I believe in making an exception. McCay was a genius, and Little Nemo was his masterpiece, a series of mind-blowing stories set in a world of dreams. Lovingly drawn and beautifully written, it provides readers with enough material for several lifetimes worth of dreams. It’s a work that I doubt will ever be equalled, and one that bears the name of Darren Shan on its cover… in my dreams.
Little Nemo in Slumberland (978-0976888505) by Winsor McCay is published by Sunday Press Books.
Darren Shan’s latest book, Hagurosan (978-1781122068) is published by Barrington Stoke at £5.99.