Willy's Stories by Anthony Browne

Willy's Stories

Written by Anthony Browne
Illustrated by Anthony Browne
Part of the Willy the Chimp Series

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One of our Books of the Year 2014 A stunning picture book with a story to each spread to inspire a child's own imagination into what happens next and all linked to 10 classic stories. Join Willy the gorilla as he becomes a character in each of these classic stories including to a mysterious desert island with a footprint in the sand; down a deep, dark rabbit hole full of curious objects; or perhaps on board a pirate ship, face to face with Captain Hook. Each adventure leaves a question for you the reader to continue your own adventure and perhaps guess into which classic story Willy's adventure has taken him? Willy's Stories is created by multiple-award-winning Anthony Browne and is a magical celebration of stories and the imagination.

Published in 2014 to coincide with the publication of the 30th anniversary edition of Willy the Wimp, Willy's Stories shows Anthony Browne at the height of his powers as both an illustrator and author.


Willy's Stories by Anthony Browne

Where will Willy's imagination take him next? Once a week, Willy walks through an ordinary-looking set of doors and straight into an adventure. Where will those doors take him today: to a mysterious desert island with footprints in the sand; down a deep, dark rabbit hole full of curious objects; or perhaps on board a pirate ship, face to face with Captain Hook? Wherever he ends up, Willy's journeys begin when he walks through those inviting doors.

It features beloved classics of children's literature like Alice in Wonderland, Robinson Crusoe, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Wind in the Willows.


Intriguing exploration of the imagination -- Fiona Noble * Bookseller Children's Guide * Offers children a glimpse into a variety of classic stories. As ever, his illustrations require close scrutiny to reveal elements of curiosity and wonder. Librarians will love this celebration of favourite books * The Bookseller * The illustrations within this book are just incredible . . . brilliantly written and this creates a story that can change each time you read it! * babybuzz Magazine * A great new story from the wonderful Anthony Browne. * Parents in Touch * Delight. * Lytham St Anne's Express * Browne's latest book is genius - you are taken on visual and narrative adventures and introduced to many beloved children's classics. There is always so much to explore within its pages. This is an exciting book for the entire family. * The Book Nook, The Bookseller. * Beautifully produced . . . Browne's full-page colour pictures are stunning, not only capturing the spirit of the original text but also adding their own idiosyncratic (and sometimes quite dark) perspective. -- Robert Dunbar * Irish Times * Engaging . . . wonderfully detailed pictures that really draw you in. Perfect to share. * Primary Times * A truly interactive picture book capable of delighting * The School Librarian * A fantastic, righteous cri de couer for libraries, words and the power of imagination * Big Issue in Scotland * Willy the chimp makes 10 journeys into various classics of children's literature: how many can you identify? * Irish Times * Browne's artwork is, as ever, quite stunning, and his wit and distinctive humour lie in the visual detail . . . a beautiful book and a great springboard for introducing children to the classics. * Daily Mail * The latest gem . . .

* angels & urchins * A visual and literary treat * The Oldie * A magical celebration of stories and imagination . . . a joyful reading experience and Browne's surreal style has never seemed so apt or so warm and inviting * Books for Keeps *

About the Author

Anthony Browne

As a child
Anthony grew up in a village called Hipperholme, in Yorkshire. He loved art and would spend hours drawing with his beloved father. He says of his father, “He was an unusual man – outwardly strong and confident, but also shy and sensitive – a bit like the gorillas I love to illustrate now. As well as drawing, he encouraged me to play a lot of sports, such as rugby and soccer and cricket. I was small for my age and I used to go to a fairly tough school – if I hadn’t been good at sports, I would probably have been bullied.”

As an adult
After he left school, Anthony studied graphic design and then went on to paint the insides of people’s bodies for medical textbooks. He found this fascinating, but after three years found that the work was becoming repetitive (“if you’ve seen one stomach operation, you’ve seen ‘em all!”) and instead began designing greetings cards. This in turn led him to illustrating children’s books – his book Gorilla began life as a picture on a birthday card. Anthony lives in Kent and has two grown-up children.

As an artist
Gorillas feature in many of Anthony’s books. He says, “I am fascinated by them and the contrast they represent – their huge strength and gentleness. They’re thought of as being very fierce creatures and they’re not.” Anthony’s illustrations also reveal his love of the Surrealist painters, whose pictures often depict strange, dreamlike scenes (look out for all the disguised bananas hidden in Anthony’s books!). When Anthony first has an idea for a picture book, he says, “it’s a strange combination of story and images. Deciding what will be illustrated on the pages of a book is like deciding on the scenes of a film.” Anthony has won many prizes for his work, including the Kate Greenaway Medal (twice) and the Kurt Maschler Award (three times). In 2000, he received the highest international honour for illustration, the Hans Christian Andersen Award, for his services to children’s literature – the first British illustrator to win the prize since 1956. On 9 June 2009 Anthony was announced as the sixth Children’s Laureate, an appointment that recognises the importance of exceptional children’s writing in creating the ‘readers of tomorrow.’ Speaking about this latest award, Anthony says, “I hope to encourage more children to discover and love reading, but I want to focus particularly on the appreciation of picture books…. Picture books are for everybody at any age, not books to be left behind as we grow older. The best ones leave a tantalising gap between the pictures and the words, a gap that is filled by the reader's imagination, adding so much to the excitement of reading a book.”

Things you didn't know about Anthony Browne
• When he was a boy he wanted to be a journalist, a cartoonist, or a boxer.
• He was once asked to present a programme on children’s books, in a cage with some gorillas - but one gorilla bit him badly on the leg. It didn’t put him off them, but, he says “you wouldn’t catch me going into a cage with one again!”
• He grew up in a pub and when he was little, would go into the bar, stand on a table and tell stories about a character he’d made up called Big Dum Tackle.
• He wore short trousers until he was fifteen.
• He thinks the character, Willy, is based on his own childhood.
• When he was a boy, he wanted a real trumpet for his birthday, but he got a toy plastic one instead. He says his book, Gorilla, was partly based on that experience.
• He loves rugby and played as a scrum-half for eighteen years.
• His book The Tunnel was inspired by a very frightening tunnel he and his brother used to go down when they were boys.
• When he was a medical artist, he would often eat his lunch in the mortuary.

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32 pages


Anthony Browne
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Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

4th September 2014




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