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Babette Cole: some favourites

Princess Smartypants Breaks the Rules

When Babette Cole died at the beginning of this year (2017), many authors and fans went into mourning - she was a unique and joyful voice in children's books.

Unafraid to tackle big and tricky issues with a light, hilarious touch, Babette was also prolific - creating over 70 books throughout her career. Her fantastically detailed illustrations have been just as big a part of that achievement as her words.

Unfortunately, we don't have space to list all of Babette's books, so below are just a few that we love to bits - whether that's because they broke ground at the time, had something to say, or just made us laugh really, really hard.

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  • A Dose of Dr Dog

    Author: Babette Cole
    Publisher: Random House

    The focus on tropical diseases means A Dose of Doctor Dog is not as educational in its focus as the first in the series, Doctor Dog, but it also means that Babette Cole’s anarchic sense of humour can be fully unleashed.

  • Prince Cinders

    Author: Babette Cole
    Publisher: Penguin

    Prince Cinders leads a hard life, bullied by his three big hairy brothers - that is, until one Saturday night when Cinders' luck changes

  • Princess Smartypants

    Author: Babette Cole
    Publisher: Penguin

    Princess Smartypants does not want to get married. She enjoys being a Ms. But being a rich and pretty princess means that all the princes want her to become their wife.

  • Princess Smartypants and the Missing Princes

    Author: Babette Cole
    Publisher: Hodder

    A stroppy, independent-minded princess sets out to solve the mysterious disappearance of the prospective husbands of her three best friends.

  • Dr Dog

    Author: Babette Cole
    Publisher: Random House Children's

    Cole's funny illustrations demonstrate serious but easy-to-understand facts about personal hygiene, such as washing your hands, wearing a coat and not picking your nose.

  • Mummy Laid an Egg!

    Author: Babette Cole
    Publisher: Random House

    This facts-of-life book has become a classic, despite its controversial subject matter. Cole firmly believed in children's right to knowledge about their own bodies and the accompanying pictures are never vulgar.

  • Princess Smartypants Breaks the Rules

    Author: Babette Cole
    Publisher: Penguin

    As with other books in the Princess Smartypants series, Cole has a lot to say here about gender stereotyping, but the book is more than a conveyor belt for politically correct messaging. The book is beguiling, compelling and droll.

  • Hair in Funny Places

    Author: Babette Cole
    Publisher: Random House

    Who else but Babette Cole would have the audacity to tackle puberty in a picture book - and the comic genius to make it work? This hilarious book is a conversation between a girl and her teddy bear about 'Mr and Mrs Hormone'.