28th Jun, 2022

Princess Beatrice announces winner of best under-fives book of the year

Coventry Editorial 18th May, 2022

Princess Beatrice has announced the children’s book Maybe… by Chris Haughton as the winner of the Oscar’s Book Prize.

The Dublin-born author and illustrator was awarded £10,000 at a ceremony in London for the ninth year of the children’s book prize.

A cautionary tale, Maybe… follows three little monkeys and transports readers on a journey of vicarious mischief as boundaries are pushed and lessons are learned.

Princess Beatrice said:

“This year’s winning book is a stunning blend of imaginative storytelling with playful illustration.

“The amount of vibrancy expressed in the story, from characterisation to humour, is also a stand-out example of how much power pictures, and relatively few words, have to convey a story.

“I’m proud to be a long-standing patron of Oscar’s Book Prize and have had the privilege of witnessing this award shine a light on so many amazing books over the years.”

Haughton has produced several children’s books in the last decade including the best-selling A Bit Lost and Oh No, George!

His tale Maybe… fought off competition from five other shortlisted books to claim the prize.

Barbara Throws a Wobbler by Nadia Shireen was among the finalists alongside The Pet: Cautionary Tales For Children And Grown-ups by Catherine Emmett and illustrator David Tazzyman, and The Duck Who Didn’t Like Water by Steve Small.

The Fire Fox by Alexandra Page and illustrator Stef Murphy and I’m Sticking With You Too by Smriti Halls and illustrator Steve Small, were also among the shortlisted titles.

Many of this year’s judging panel joined the award ceremony at The Ivy Club, including singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her mother, writer Janet Ellis.

They were joined by the former children’s laureate and illustrator Chris Riddell, actor Ben Bailey Smith, who goes by the stage name Doc Brown, Amazon’s UK books country manager Lisa De Meyer and the book prize’s co-founder Viveka Alvestrand.

Alvestrand and her husband James Ashton set up the prize to “celebrate stories” and “encourage parents to take time to share books with their young children” in memory of their son Oscar, who died aged three from an undiagnosed heart condition in December 2012.

Ashton said:

“Young children need bright and engaging stories to escape into and our judges felt Chris’s work enables that brilliantly.

“He is a worthy winner of our £10,000 prize and it has been great to celebrate his success at an in-person event once again.”

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