Me and You by Anthony Browne

Me and You

Written by Anthony Browne

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Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2011

Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne gives a thought provoking new take on the traditional story of Goldilocks. Here, Goldilocks, who lives on a dark and dreary estate portrayed all in greys in Browne’s urban landscape breaks into the idealised, sunlit ‘family’ home of the three bears. As is traditional, Goldilocks eats the porridge, breaks the chair and sleeps in the baby bear’s bed before being discovered and running off home. But, who really has the happier way of life? Anthony Browne leaves readers lots to think about.


Me and You by Anthony Browne

Three bears decide to go out for a walk in the park while their porridge cools. Meanwhile a little girl has lost her mum and lost her way and is walking the streets alone, until she happens upon a house...The bears arrive home and discover several things are amiss...What will they find upstairs?

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Review of ‘Me and You’ by Books for Keeps [5 stars]

Reminiscent of John Burningham’s 1977 Come away from the water, Shirley in which the world inhabited by her cautious and unimaginative parents in their deckchairs on the beach contrasts with the adventurous world of their daughter, Shirley (who battles with pirates), Anthony Browne’s Me and You is dedicated: ‘For all the underdogs’. As ever in Browne-land, the polemic is visually conveyed and his narrative is all the more moving for its subtle understatement.

A riff on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Me and You is narrated in the first person by little boy bear on the recto page. Mummy and Daddy Bear pay no attention to their son and their own relationship seems to be a distant one. Meanwhile on the verso page and in a sepia palette, Goldilocks’s story is narrated in a sequence of action frames as, lost, she samples the bears’ porridge, chairs and beds. At the end she is reunited with her mother in a passionate hug that is full of warmth. Can a bear be an underdog? In this poignant story he is.

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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Book Info


32 pages
Interest Age: From 5


Anthony Browne
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Picture Corgi an imprint of Random House Children's Books

Publication date

3rd March 2011




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