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Raymond Briggs (The Illustrators)

Nicolette Jones, Quentin Blake, Claudia Zeff


'Briggs’ pencil has drawn everything about being human – the comic, the tragic, passion, tenderness, fear, anger, joy, bogeys … slime' Posy Simmonds


Raymond Briggs has changed the face of children’s picture books, with his innovations of both form and subject. Stylistically versatile, he has illustrated some sixty books, twenty of them with his own text, and first became a household name in the late 1970s and early 1980s with a handful of books – Father Christmas, Fungus the Bogeyman, The Snowman, When the Wind Blows – that were entertaining and subversive and appealed to both children and adults. The refrains of his work are class, family, love and loss. Nevertheless, his default mode of expression is humour. Briggs is always funny, and the balance between this and melancholy is his defining characteristic, though his style ranges from the romantic to the grotesque, from the fanciful to the direct.

Encompassing sixty years of Raymond Briggs’s work, from political picturebooks to children’s classics, this study explores his themes of class, family and loss, and how he demonstrates both emotional power and great technical skill.

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'Long live the illustrators! Hurrah for their work!'
Philip Pullman

'It is wonderful to see these celebrations of our greatest illustrators … an inspiration to future generations'
Chris Riddell

'This short, delightful illustrated biography evokes the man and mind behind The Snowman and Briggs’ other light-of-touch, deep-of-feeling, timelessly appealing stories, in the context of English social history '
Financial Times

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 24.5 x 18.7 cm

Extent: 112 pp

Illustrations: 107

Publication date: 1 October 2020

ISBN: 9780500022184

Contents List

Introduction • Early years • Starting out • Early work • Nursery rhymes • Fairies and giants • Father Christmas and Fungus • Dreams and nightmares • Uninvited guests • Family histories

About the Author

Nicolette Jones is Children’s Book Editor of the Sunday Times, and has been a reviewer, feature-writer, diarist, sub-editor and book-prize judge. In 2012 she was shortlisted for the Eleanor Farjeon award for her ‘outstanding contribution to the world of children’s books’. She has worked for all the British national broadsheets and the book trade press, and won Maritime Literature Prizes in the UK and the US.