• Picture Book Snob

The Most Beautiful Child

A classic tale with lasting appeal written and illustrated by William Papas

What's it about? Proud Mr Peacock asks Mrs Owl to deliver his son's lunch to school one day. When she enquires as to how she might recognise Mr Peacock's offspring, Mr Peacock simply instructs her to look for the most beautiful child there. But Mr Peacock is about to learn that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What can we learn? The Most Beautiful Child is a timeless tale about the folly of vanity. It cautions against placing too much importance on appearances or evaluating others on the basis of how they look.

What makes this stand out? It's so funny and wise and the illustrations are stunning. Originally published in the 1970s, The Most Beautiful Child is still relevant today and proves that simple stories with lasting lessons never go out of fashion.


About those illustrations... This book is worth getting hold of for the striking illustrations alone. The artwork is in the vibrant style of the seventies with bold prints and bright colours making this a true visual treat. The exotic birds lend themselves beautifully to the vibrant watercolours.

Why we love it... The colorful animals appeal to my kids as do the beautiful images. I am intrigued by '70s music, film and fashion so it's wonderful to have a period piece like this in our collection and I love how witty it is.


Why you need it... This teaches little readers that beauty is relative and that every person is of value - no matter what they look like. It celebrates a parent's love and shows the insignificance of other people's opinions about us and our appearance.

About the author-illustrator:

William Papas (1927- 2000) was a really interesting character. A political cartoonist and caricaturist in addition to being an author and artist, he illustrated books by more than a dozen authors, including C.S. Lewis (read more about Papas' life and work on Wikipedia). The Most Beautiful Child was reissued by Pikku in April 2022 - see this book on the publisher's website Thanks so much to the lovely people in Pikku for sharing this gorgeous book with us and for quoting Picture Book Snob on the back cover too!