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Brian Wildsmith - Children's Author


Brian Wildsmith has won himself a world-wide reputation as one of the greatest living children's illustrators. He is particularly popular in the USA, Europe and Japan. In Leningrad he was responsible for all the sets and some of the costumes for the film The Blue Bird based on Maurice Maeterlinck's famous play, and in 1986, as a celebration of Britain's special relationship with Japan, Oxford University Press published Katie and the Dream-Eater written by Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado of the Japanese Imperial Family.

Brian Wildsmith's hobbies include music, cricket (he played League cricket for Yorkshire and won cricket colours for University College, London), and tennis. He is married with four children and lives in the South of France.

Brian Wildsmith on his illustrations:

‘Picture books give an opportunity for a marriage between painting and illustrating . . . I believe that beautiful picture books of the right kind are vitally important in subconsciously forming a child’s appreciation, which will bear fruit in later life.’

Tributes to Brian Wildsmith:

‘Brian Wildsmith is one of the most original and influential picture book makers in the world, particularly in his use of colour and space.’ Anthony Browne, Children’s Laureate 2009-2011

‘I have always known Brian Wildsmith’s work. His illustrations are visually exciting and lively, full of activity and colour. Combined with the composition, I find them truly amazing.’ Catherine Rayner, Kate Greenaway Medal winner 2009

‘My childhood was full of books but just as the sixties burst into life, there seemed to be something similar happening in children’s books. Floods of colour exploding across the pages with a name to match: Wildsmith. He was a wild smith. I remember feeling really envious: why hadn’t I had books as lush and wild as these?’ Michael Rosen, Children’s Laureate 2007-2009

Korky Paul on Brian Wildsmith:

'Brian Wildsmith's work came out in the 1960s and he changed picture books. It was revolutionary stuff. One of his best books is The Hare and the Tortoise. He uses his own colours. He plays with scale, and his animals have characters: roosters strut their stuff, chickens are always eating, cats always sleeping.

'What I like about his work is his wonderful use of white space; there are raggedy edges and extraordinary detail. He uses a mixture of media: watercolour, wash, then he works on top with chalk or pen. There is a lot of movement there.

'My work is more spiky, but I love trying to create a fantasy world and to stylise it. Children's books allow artists of all kinds to explore their own vision, how they see the world, and that's what Wildsmith achieves so well. Exposing children to that teaches them that there are all sorts of ways of viewing the world.' (The Guardian)


Featured Books, with extracts by Brian Wildsmith


Cat on the Mat and Friends
Cat on the Mat and Friends
Brian Wildsmith
A bumper picture book made up of four best-selling classic stories by this award winning illustrator. The simplicity of Brian Wildsmith’s illustrations and the jokes that both the pictures and the stories tell make this a delight for young readers....
Featured in: 3+ readers | Baby and Toddler
Format: Paperback - Released: 12/04/2011
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A Christmas Journey
A Christmas Journey
Brian Wildsmith
The story of the Nativity is beautifully captured in Brian Wildsmith’s illustrations which are wholly accessible to a contemporary audience while also being firmly set in the past. Full of awe and wonder, the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey...
Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Paperback - Released: 09/09/2010
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Brian Wildsmith's Animal Gallery
Brian Wildsmith's Animal Gallery
Brian Wildsmith
In this stunning visual introduction to all kinds of animal families Brian Wildsmith’s jewel-bright illustrations give a snapshot of everything from a pride of lions...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Baby and Toddler
Format: Paperback - Released: 01/03/2010
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Brian Wildsmith's Favourite Nursery Rhymes
Brian Wildsmith's Favourite Nursery Rhymes
Brian Wildsmith
Age 3+. Prize-winning illustrator Brian Wildsmith’s distinctive illustration bring this collection of best-loved nursery rhymes beautifully to life. There’s a gorgeously fat cow jumping over the moon while the cat fiddles below, a delightfully merry King Cole relishing his fiddlers...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Poetry
Format: Paperback - Released: 05/03/2009
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Brian Wildsmith's Favourite Fables
Brian Wildsmith's Favourite Fables
Brian Wildsmith
A lovely collection of five well-loved fables for parents and children to share simply retold and sumptuously illustrated by Brian Wildsmith, the internationally acclaimed picture-book writer and artist. We meet a boastful hare as he challenges a slow-and-steady tortoise to...
Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/10/2008
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Brian Wildsmith's Animal Gallery
Brian Wildsmith's Animal Gallery
Brian Wildsmith
In this stunning visual introduction to all kinds of animal families Brian Wildsmith’s jewel-bright...
Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Hardback - Released: 04/09/2008
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The Miller, the Boy and the Donkey
The Miller, the Boy and the Donkey
Brian Wildsmith
A timeless fable made immediate and fresh for the youngest readers. Its simple message is best to make your own decisions and not be swayed by conflicting advice is gloriously told in this lovely picture book from Brian Wildsmith, an...
Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Paperback - Released: 03/01/2008
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The Rich Man and the Shoemaker
The Rich Man and the Shoemaker
Brian Wildsmith
A happy shoemaker - who sings beautifully while he works - is stopping his wealthy but miserable neighbour from sleeping. So the rich man hatches a plan to put an end to the shoemaker's sunny disposition. But how can a...
Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Paperback - Released: 03/01/2008
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The Lion and the Rat
The Lion and the Rat
Brian Wildsmith
The simple messages of this La Fontaine fable - that acts of kindness will always be returned and that even the strongest and mightiest sometimes need the help of the smallest and weakest - are gloriously told in this lovely...
Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Paperback - Released: 07/06/2007
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The North Wind and the Sun
The North Wind and the Sun
Brian Wildsmith
The North Wind blew with all his might, but it was no use. The North Wind is sure that he is powerful enough to blow the cloak from the shoulders of a passing horseman. But will his furious strength be...
Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Paperback - Released: 07/06/2007
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The Hare and the Tortoise
The Hare and the Tortoise
Brian Wildsmith
'I am sure to win, but we will race if you like.' So laughs the hare when a slow tortoise challenges him to run all the way to the old cart. His speed is never in doubt but perhaps it...
Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Paperback - Released: 07/06/2007
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Cat on the Mat
Cat on the Mat
Brian Wildsmith
Wildsmith’s hallmark of dazzlingly colourful illustrations coupled with the briefest of text that’s repeated throughout this picture book has plenty of humour and children will pore over each illustration and each time will find something new within them.
Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Paperback - Released: 29/04/1982
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