Judith Kerr's Creatures A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr by Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr's Creatures A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr

Written by Judith Kerr

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June 2013 Book of the Month

All fans of the creator of classics such as When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and The Tiger Who Came to Tea will be delighted by this rich autobiography told in Judith Kerr’s own words and pictures. Reproductions of her very earliest drawings and paintings show her early talent while reproductions of her storyboard of Mog, the Forgetful Cat give a wonderful behind the scenes look at how she creates her work. This is a book that will inspire all readers and make them love Judith Kerr’s work even more than ever.

Judith said "being 90 is very nice, though it seems slightly odd to be praised just for hanging on!"


Judith Kerr's Creatures A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr by Judith Kerr

Her story begins with the extraordinary events of her early childhood in Berlin, dramatically cut short by the rise of Hitler's Nazi Party in 1933. Judith tells of her family's struggles with language and money, and what it was like to be a German refugee in London during the war. We see her early attempts at drawing and writing; her sketches and work from art school, and her textile designs from her first job. We hear of her life-changing meeting with her future husband, the scriptwriter Nigel Kneale, and her time at the BBC, first as a reader and then as a scriptwriter herself. Judith's career as a children's book writer and illustrator began after she had children, and over forty years on she is still producing classic picture books. She is a rare and wonderful talent and this is a fascinating insight into the person behind the books that have been enjoyed by generations.


Praise for the Tiger who Came to Tea:

A modern classic. The Independent.

Praise for When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit:

'... exact, intelligent and unsentimental. Sunday Telegraph

Praise for My Henry:

It bears all her trademarks, lively illustration, a cheerful blend of the everyday and the fantastic ... A deeply poignant yet ultimately uplifting tale... Giulia Rhode, Sunday Express

About the Author

Judith Kerr

July 2016 Judith Kerr wins a Book Trust Lifetime Achievement Award. She received the award at London Zoo, at a ceremony hosted by former Children’s Laureate and BookTrust President, Michael Morpurgo. Judith Kerr said: "I am honoured and delighted that I have been chosen to receive the BookTrust’s Lifetime Achievement Award. I thank them very much, and as the presentation is to be at London Zoo, I’ll also be able to thank the tigers in the tiger enclosure who started it all."

Judith Kerr was born in Berlin in 1923 but escaped from Hitler’s Germany with her parents and brother in 1933 when she was nine years old. Her father was a drama critic and distinguished writer whose books were burned by the Nazis, because he dared to speak out against the regime. The day after the family left Berlin, the authorities came to arrest them, and throughout the war there was a price on her father’s head. Judith and her family passed through Switzerland and France before finally arriving in England in 1936. Judith wrote about her experiences in her classic autobiographical story, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.

Judith won a scholarship to the Central School of Arts in 1945, and since then has worked as an artist, television scriptwriter and, for the past thirty years, as an author and illustrator of children’s books. Judith was married to the scriptwriter Nigel Kneale, who died in 2006, most famous for the hit sci‐fi series Quatermass. Her son is the writer Matthew Kneale who won the Whitbread Book Award for The English Passengers. Judith lives in south west London.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea was Judith’s first picture book and was published in 1968. She wrote it after telling the story at bedtime to her daughter Tracey and son Matthew. Lady Antonia Fraser was one of the first people to review the book and called it, “a dazzling first book,” that would make children “scream with delicious pleasure at the dangerous naughtiness of the notion.” The book has become a classic and appeared in the Telegraph’s list of top children’s books of all time. It has sold over 5 million copies, and celebrated its 40th Anniversary in October 2008. The Tiger Who Came to Tea was recently made into a stage play written by David Wood and produced by Nick Brooke, which has toured the UK.

Emily Gravett on Judith Kerr:

'I read The Tiger Who Came to Tea when I was a child and loved it. I remember being obsessed with the bit where the tiger came and drank all the water in the tap. I think it was the domesticity of it, that this person was at home and that this could actually happen. It was so matter-of-fact. Nothing really happens but it's still somehow magical.

'Kerr keeps the text very simple, and the illustrations give you clues as to how you should read it. In her Mog books, you can look at Mog's face to see how shocked or dramatic the action is. He is just a funny cat, with a woebegone expression.'

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Book Info


176 pages
Interest Age: From 11


Judith Kerr
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HarperCollins Children's Books an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Publication date

6th June 2013




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