Most Valuable First Edition Picturebooks
The following table lists the second fifty illustrators in the Children’s Picturebook Price Guide with the highest average book value. The value would be for first edition books, with dust jackets. The table also includes the number of books listed in the price guide for each illustrator.
Kurt Wiese, the most prolific illustrator in the CPPG with 280 books, tops the list of the second fifty with an average book price of $139. Wiese’s books are an eclectic mixture, from the 1933 Newbery Medal winning Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, to the 1935 classic picturebook Honk The Moose, to the Freddie the Pig series of books authored by Walter Brooks. His illustrations also grace the first American edition of Felix Salten’s Bambi, published in 1928. During his prolific career, Wiese only won one Caldecott award, an Honor in 1946 for You Can Write Chinese.
Mary Grandpré (#65) is better known for illustrating the US dust jackets for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. Similarlay, Brett Helquist’s (#77) illustrations are most familiar due to his work on Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events books.
Children love Louis Slobodkin’s illustrations, which have a classic whimsical feel to them and a simple line structure. Slobidkin’s illustrations accompany four of Eleanor Estes’ Newbery award books, including the 1952 Medal winning Ginger Pye. Slobodkin won the 1944 Caldecott Medal for Many Moons.
We will leave the remainder of the analysis and commentary to the reader. Children’s picturebook collectors should be familiar with most illustrators on the list; if not, then a bit of homework via Google or Wikipedia will provide some base level information.