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70 Years Celebration

  The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Shortlist for 2015
Judges’ comments are listed in italics

Please note: The "age range" listed below is intended as a guide only, as determined by the 2015 judging panel.


Carlin, Laura (illustrator) Davies, Nicola (text) 
The Promise Walker (8+)
ISBN: 9781406337280 (hardback) 9781406355598 (paperback)

On a mean street in a mean city, a young thief tries to snatch an old woman's bag. But she can't have it without giving something in return: The Promise. She finds herself with a bag of acorns, and promises to plant them all. Thus begins a journey that will change the city forever, in a story that will touch the heart and imagination of every reader, young and old.

The beautiful and distinctive illustrations effortlessly reflect this simple story of transformation through use of colours and shades. Bleak cityscapes in grey perfectly capture the sombre, claustrophobic and harsh urban reality. Then a quick flash of colour, and a touch of light appears, slowly replacing the bleak monochromatic world with vibrant colours. This book is filled with imaginative techniques, from the way that Carlin's soft palette creates atmosphere, to her sense of scale and perspective. Beautiful, unique and very uplifting.


Alexis Deacon (illustrator) Russell Hoban (text)
Jim's Lion Walker (9+)
ISBN: 9781406346022 (hardback)

A touching story about a boy in hospital, who dreams wild and extraordinary dreams as he faces a life-saving operation. Jim is in hospital. He's frightened. What if the doctors send him somewhere that he can't find his way back from? Nurse Bami tells Jim that he must go to his "good place" and there, his "finder" will come looking for him. Everyone has a finder. And so, deep in Jim's dreams, he finds his: a lion.

Alexis Deacon's extraordinary and striking illustrations combine perfectly with Russell Hoban's classic text to create a stunning and powerful book. With a muted palette and impressive graphic imagery and symbolism, the reader is taken on a journey through dream sequences and altered states of consciousness, where the sense of blood, pain, strength and faith are all too real. The illustrations alone make for an uncomfortable yet unforgettably moving read.


William Grill
Shackleton's Journey Flying Eye Books (10+)
ISBN: 9781909263109 (hardback)

In the last days of the Heroic Age of Exploration, Ernest Shackleton dreamed of crossing the frozen heart of Antarctica, a place of ferocious seas, uncharted mountains and bone-chilling cold. But when his ship, the Endurance, became trapped in the deadly grip of the ice, Shackleton's dreams of crossing Antarctica were shattered. Stranded in a cold, white world, and thousands of miles from home, the men of the expedition set out on a desperate trek across the ice in search of rescue.

This beautiful non-fiction book seems to effortlessly bring a modern and fresh feel to the story of Ernest Shackleton, whilst remaining traditional and classic. The use of stark white space expertly conveys a sense of isolation. The detailed small illustrations wonderfully bring to life the intricacies of life during the journey, whilst the breath-taking larger illustrations provide a strong sense of scale and highlight the enormity of the natural world. This is an exciting, quality book which provides a true experience and reminds us that it is the people, not the journey, that truly matter.


Higgins, John & Olivent, Marc (illustrators) Sedgwick, Marcus & Sedgwick, Julian (text)
Dark Satanic Mills Walker Books (11+)
ISBN: 9781406329889 (paperback)

Set in a near-future Britain, Dark Satanic Mills tracks a young woman's journey from the flooded landmarks of London to the vast, scorched and abandoned hills of the North. Framed for a murder she did not commit, fearless and resourceful loner Christy has no other choice but to run for her life.

The graphic novel format epitomises the total synergy between text and images. The dark and very oppressive black and white illustrations are a perfect match for the sombre story line and subject matter. They pick up the symbolism from the text through beautiful imagery, incredible use of light and excellent framing and perspective. Visions of post-apocalyptic London and of a scorched desert in the north of England are powerful and discomforting. The result is a modern and dynamic book, which maintains a consistent high quality throughout.


Catherine Rayner
Smelly Louie Macmillan (3+)
ISBN: 9780230742505 (hardback)

Nobody smells quite like Louie. This pongy pooch has his own particular odour and it is definitely NOTHING like roses and apple blossom. After he's forced to have a bath, Louie is determined to recreate his Special Smell so he sets off on a mission - what will he find? An old boot that smells like mouldy cheese? Some stinky bins? None of them are quite right … but what will happen if they are all mixed together?

This vibrant picture book perfectly captures the energy and movement of a mischievous dog in search of the best (or worst) smells. The sense of hideous smell is visually conveyed beautifully, creating a wonderful synergy between the humorous text and illustrations. Impressive use of layout creates a visual treat on every page. This is a fun, expressive book that will delight readers of all ages.


Chris Riddell
Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse Macmillan (7+)
ISBN: 9780230759800 (hardback)

Meet Ada Goth. She lives in Ghastly-Gorm Hall with her father, Lord Goth, lots of servants and at least half a dozen ghosts, but she hasn't got any friends to explore her enormous, creepy house with. Then, one night, everything changes when Ada meets a ghostly mouse called Ishmael. Together they set out to solve the mystery of the strange happenings at Ghastly-Gorm Hall, and get a lot more than they bargained for...

Chris Riddell's characteristic and detailed line drawings combine wonderfully with the witty text to create the original and imaginative world inhabited by Ada Goth. The book is beautifully produced and a visual experience from the start, from the silver skulls on the vintage style endpapers, to the delightful vignettes showing many of the strange characters that appear in the story. Every tiny detail, consistent throughout, enhances as well as depicts the text and the delight of this book would be lost without them.


David Roberts (illustrator) Sally Gardner (text)
Tinder Orion (11+)
ISBN: 9781780621494 (hardback)

Wounded in battle, Otto Hundebiss defies Death and finds himself on a journey to a realm of dark magic and mystery. He meets Safire, brave of heart and pure of spirit, and learns the powers of the tinderbox and the secret of the wolves.

Truly stunning and distinctive illustrations further amplify the full horror and sinister atmosphere of the terrors faced by Otto Hundebiss. The tale is often violent and the illustrations do not shy away from this. Monochrome with splashes of blood red, this is a tale dripping in the blood of the battlefield from the blood red of the cover typography to the endpapers. Exquisitely detailed attention to the costume of the stylised people perfectly captures the medieval feel and sense of other worldliness. Clever use of perspective and space within the page creates depth and alludes to the overwhelming size of nightmarish visions.


Shaun Tan
Rules of Summer Lothian Publishing (8+)
ISBN: 9780734410672 (hardback)

Combining humour and surreal fantasy, Shaun Tan pictures a summer in the lives of two boys. Each spread tells of an event and the lesson learned. By turns, these events become darker and more sinister as the boys push their games further and further.

Every page is a discovery in this breath-taking, character-driven story charting two boys' relationship and their adventures. This perfectly conveys that time of childhood where imagination becomes reality and the mundane is transformed into wondrous landscapes where anything is possible. The surreal, beautifully textured paintings convey so much emotion and a real sense of claustrophobic menace builds. Depressing dystopian images vie with steam-punk to saturate every page of this book, but coalesce into something far happier in the final resolution.