Dr Seuss was like a god to me as a young child. He took me into a world of strangeness and fun, and showed me the myriad possibilities of language. The joyous energy generated by the wacky dynamism of his drawings and the zip and zest of his rhyming remains unsurpassed.
Julia Donaldson is the modern colossus of picture book writing, and my own children enjoyed more of her books than those of any other author. The best rhyming books have an effortlessness to them that belies quite how difficult it is to get rhyme right. She gets it right time and again.
For his achievements over his lifetime, there is no-one I admire more than Allan Ahlberg. In a 40+-year career the range and quality of his writing for children is awesome. Peepo, Each Peach Pear Plum, Funnybones… the list of classic picture books he has written is long and wonderfully varied. And his humanity and humour shines through all of them.