depressed cat image

Attitudes in Picture Book Characters, That Give Me Life

Picture book authors receive a lot of credit when their books come out. While they deserve every bit of attention they get, I wish that illustrators received the same amount of publicity. It is my hope that this post gives some equally well-deserving illustrators, their credits due.

Picture book illustrators are constantly providing me with never-ending joy. Most of the time, this joy comes from their character’s attitudes. Illustrators create wonderful bits of energy and feeling with their character’s facial expressions and actions, which continually give me life.

Below are some of my absolute favorites. Some are well-loved and others are new. I hope they provide you with some pre-weekend laughs.

#1 Thank You, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony, published by Scholastic:

First of all, these books are always a joy to behold. However, Mr. Panda’s face is just amazing in this scene & most of the book, for that matter.

#2 I Love You Already by Jory John & Benji Davies, published by HarperCollins:

Benji Davies work is always gorgeous. I love his character, Bear, who is extremely introvert. You can see in Bear’s eyes, the pain/annoyance that he is feeling in this moment.

#3 Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems, published by Hyperion Books:

I relate to Mo Willems’ Gerald, so much in this scene. The struggle to share when you have something great, is so real. I love the sneaky smile that he portrays.

#4 We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen, published by Candlewick Press:

Jon Klassen presents us with two turtles, who have to figure out what to do when they discover ONE cool hat. Their eyes say so much in this image & it makes me laugh everytime.

#5 Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes, published by Greenwillow Books:

Kevin Henkes is brilliant at facial expressions. They make Lilly the dynamic, creative, over-protective, cunning & brilliant character that she is. I love her and how she & these books influenced my childhood & who I grew up to be.

#6 Here Comes Teacher Cat by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda, published by Dial:

Claudia Rueda just understands cats. I wonder if she has a cat herself? Being a cat owner, I recognize every one of Cat’s feelings. These books are hilarious and Rueda’s images just give it that perfect finish.

#7  Picture Day Perfection by Deborah Diesen, illustrated by Dan Santat, published by Abrams:

Honestly, Dan Santat gave me so many images that I could have chosen for this post. However, Mrs. Smith’s face just cracks me up. I am not sure if she is irritated, or tired, or just going through the motions, but I love every stroke of her image.

#8 Papillon: The Very Fluffy Kitty by A. N. Kang, published by Hyperion:

I obviously like cats. They are just so expressive. A.N. Kang captures Papillon’s sass so perfectly on this costume page.

#9 Georgie’s Best Bad Day by Ruth Chan, published by Roaring Book Press:

I think the above image, can’t be any clearer. Georgie is having a rough day. It is so sad and pathetic and made me care about the character so much. I think that is what an illustration should do, and Ruth Chan did it perfectly.


As you can see, there is so much more to picture books than just the written word. I love these illustrators. If you would like to support them, please click on their names (above) to see other titles that they have created. I would also recommend following them on Twitter & sharing how much you love their work!

Here is a list of their Twitter Pages for easy access:

Steve Antony

Benji Davies

Mo Willems

Jon Klassen

Kevin Henkes (doesn’t have Twitter because he is old school, but click to see his website)

Claudia Rueda

Dan Santat

A.N. Kang

Ruth Chan


Thanks for reading!

❤ Jen in the Bookstore


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