child and polar bear, from The Ice bear by Jackie Morris

sketch of a sleeping peeping cat

a white duck in a tailcoat

Tell Me a Dragon, front cover of book by Jackie Morris, a girl feeding fairy cakes to a large blue-green dragon

Starlight Sailor, front cover, illustration by Jackie Morris, showing a child and a dog sailing in a paper boat across a sea of blue through which a blue whale swims

 

woman sleeping peacefully with a polar bear, from East of the Sun and West of the Moon

the jester from Singing to the Sun by Vivien French and Jackie Morris

snow leopard, front cover of The Snow Leopard by Jackie Morris, snow leopard head looking out of the picture, with great blue eyes

The Barefoot book of Classic Poems, front cover

How the Whale Became by Ted Hughes, front cover

Can You See a Little Bear by James Mayhew, front cover of book.

The Seal Children, front cover, showing child, Morlo, swimming with his mother, the selkie, by Jackie Morris

Lord of the Forest, front cover of book, by Caroline Pitcher and Jackie Morris, showing the face of a tiger

Little One We Knew You'd Come, illustrated by Jackie Morris, Mary and baby Jesus

Mariana and the Merchild by Caroline Pitcher, illustrated by Jackie Morris

The Snow Whale by Caroline Pitcher and illustrated by Jackie Morris

The Greatest Gift, illustrated by Jackie Morris

The Time of the Lion by Caroline Pitcher, illustrated by Jackie Morris, book cover showing a boy and a lion

Out of the Ark by Anita Ganeri, stories from world religions, illustrated by Jackie Morris

Stories from World Religions by Anita Ganeri, illustrated by Jackie Morris

Animals of the Bible by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Jackie Morris

Miracles by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Jackie Morris

Parables by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Jackie Morris

Cities in the Sea by Sian Lewis, illustrated by Jackie Morris

Cantre'r Gwaelod by Sian Lewis, illustrated by Jackie Morris

Grandmother's Song, illustrated by Jackie Morris, written by Barbara Soros

Bears Beras and More Bears by Jackie Morris

Journeys Through Dreamtime by Anita Ganeri, illustrated by Jackie Morris

Stories From the Stars, illustrated by Jackie Morris

Jo's Storm by Caroline Pitcher, illustrated by Jackie Morris

 

 

 

front endpaper for Singing to the Sun, watercolour of a small figure walking through a landscape.

Singing to the Sun, by Vivien French

published in UK by Egmont in USA by Kane Miller

This is a love story about a boy and a jester, a tabby cat, three princesses, a task and some wolves. The story is written beautifully by Vivian French, seemingly traditional but with elegant surprises.

The cat was modeled by Max, my tabby cat who lives in sufferance with "far too many ginger cats" as he would put it.

I first heard the story at Swansea Book Festival, one of the best festivals that celebrated children's books and literature that ever was. Sadly the festival is no more, and many miss it greatly. It was a wonderful place to meet the audience for the books we work so hard to make, and also a place where collaborations were often born. I met many friends in Swansea and enjoyed seeing the children grow up and delight in meeting their real heroes in children's writing.

Working on the book was not always easy. One spread in particular gave me a great deal of trouble but after five attempts I managed to get something that looked more like the original sketch.

three princesses, a painting that took five attempts and stretched my nerves to almost breaking point. Watercolour

watercolour of boy in sunshine standing on a hill with a cat at his feet.

Singing to the Sun: A Fairy Tale by Vivian French
The Sunday Times review by Nicolette Jones

Age 5+

French’s delightful and moving fairy tale is about a neglected boy whose aristocratic parents don’t believe in love, only in wealth and power. His sole companions are the jester and the cat. When he is sent, with these two friends, to choose a bride from three princesses who will offer, respectively, riches, might or happiness, his choice is perhaps predictable, but the outcome is not. Jackie Morris’s watercolours on cream paper show the influence of Italian Renaissance landscapes and medieval illumination. The faces are pale, haunting and sombre, the pictures have a unique and fantastical quality and her great strength is the well-observed depiction of animals — cats, dogs, donkeys and birds. Some of the story is told in the pictures, notably on the endpapers, which show what became of the minor characters. This picturebook is a beautiful, resonant, lyrically told lesson in values, including the importance of social justice and wisdom, while reminding us of the power of music

Singing to the Sun by Vivian French, illustrated by Jackie Morris Egmont £10.99

 

The Sunday Telegraph

“Vivian French is a sublime storyteller and you can guarantee that any fairy tale written by her will not resort to stereotype. In Singing to the Sun Thorfinn, son of a lord who loves only power, and a lady who loves only gold, is sent to win the hand of one of three princesses, who will bring him either power, wealth or love. I don’t know which is more satisfying the glorious illustrations by Jackie Morris or the totally unexpected ending”.

 

 

To buy any of the books featured on this site

  • Order from your local bookshop. Small books shops are a treasure and face strong competition from the big sellers on line who buy at huge discounts. Nothing beats browsing around in a well stocked small bookshop, where you chance upon a gem that until then you had no idea you wanted.
  • Order on line either direct from publishers or from one of the big on-line booksellers
  • If you are after one of the books that is out of print try and find it on abebooks.com They have a fantastic resource for tracking down out of print books.
  • All of these books are available from your local library.




©Jackie Morris