Helen Oxenbury - Author Picture

Helen Oxenbury - Illustrator

Helen Oxenbury has charmed generations of children with her award-winning illustrations. She has won the Kate Greenaway medal and the Nestle Smarties Prize and her numerous books include We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. She lives in London with her husband, the author and artist, John Burningham.

As a child
Growing up in Ipswich, England, Helen Oxenbury loved nothing more than drawing. As a teenager, she entered art school and basked in the pleasure of drawing, and nothing but drawing, all day. During vacations she helped out at the Ipswich Repertory Theatre workshop, mixing paints for set designers. It was there that she decided her future lay in theatre design. While studying costume design, however, Helen was told by a teacher, “This is hopeless, you know. You ought to go and do illustrations – you’re much more interested in the character, and we don’t know who’s going to play the part!”

As an adult
Sets and scenery, not books, remained Helen’s preoccupation for her early adult life as she embarked on careers in theatre, film, and TV. After marrying John Burningham, another of the world’s most eminent children’s book illustrators, and giving birth to their first child, at last she turned to illustrating children’s books. “When I had babies,” Helen says, “I wanted to be home with them and look for something to do there.” Helen and her husband make their home in London, where the she works in a nearby studio. She is also an avid tennis player.

As an artist
Today, Helen is among the most popular and critically acclaimed illustrators of her time. Her numerous books for children include the Kate Greenaway Medal-winning Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; Smarties Book Prize-winning Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell; We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen; Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, written by Mem Fox, as well as her classic board books for babies. And what does she love most about her work? Thinking up new ideas? Seeing the finished book? Not at all. For Helen, “The best part is when I think I know what I’m doing and I’ve completed a few drawings. In fact, when I get about a third of the way through, and I feel I’m on my way, then I’m happy. It’s like reading a good book – you don’t want it to end.”

Featured Books, with extracts, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Reader ReviewedThe Giant Jumperee
Julia Donaldson - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
April 2017 MEGA Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2017 | A new read-aloud classic from internationally bestselling author Julia Donaldson, beautifully brought to life by award-winning illustrator Helen Oxenbury. Julia Eccleshare's Picks...
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Format: Hardback | Released 06/04/2017
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Time Now to Dream
Timothy Knapman - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
One of our Books of the Year 2016 There's a dreamlike quality to this beautiful picture book. Two young children, painted by Helen Oxenbury with typical sensitivity, leave the safety of their garden to explore the forest when they hear...
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Format: Hardback | Released 06/10/2016
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We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Michael Rosen - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
A signed, limited edition of the classic chant-aloud by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. The perfect gift for brave hunters and bear-lovers everywhere! Fantastic, cumulative adventure as a family cheerfully sets out on a brave hunt to find the bear...
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Format: Hardback | Released 06/10/2016
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Farmer Duck
Martin Waddell - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
A timeless classic with stunning illustrations Farmer Duck tells the story of a hard-working Duck who is saved from his life of drudgery when the animals on the farm revolt against their lazy farmer, tip him out of bed and...
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Format: Paperback | Released 01/09/2016
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Farmer Duck
Martin Waddell - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month July 2016 A timeless classic with stunning illustrations Farmer Duck tells the story of a hard-working Duck who is saved from his life of drudgery when the animals on the farm revolt against their...
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Format: Board book | Released 07/07/2016
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We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Michael Rosen - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Join in the bear hunt with this fabulous activity book, based on the classic picture book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. Little ones will be absorbed...
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Format: Paperback | Released 02/06/2016
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We're Going on a Bear Hunt Buggy Book
Michael Rosen - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
You're never too young for the brilliance of a book such as We're Going on a Bear Hunt. Walker Books have taken Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury's classic picture book and condensed it into a chunky board book. The...
Lovereading Price: £3.99 - Saving £1.00 (20%) Featured in: Baby and Toddler | 3+ readers
Format: Board book | Released 07/01/2016
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Captain Jack and the Pirates
Peter Bently - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016. Oxenbury's distinctive style is at the fore in Captain Jack and the Pirates, merging soft blacks and whites with muted colours.
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Format: Hardback | Released 02/07/2015
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We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Michael Rosen - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Colour in the bear hunt with this wonderful colouring activity book, based on the classic picture book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. Helen Oxenbury's beautiful illustrations are as enchanting here as in the beloved original, and Michael Rosen's brilliantly...
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Format: Paperback | Released 28/05/2015
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We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Michael Rosen - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Join in the bear hunt with this fabulous sticker activity book, based on the classic picture book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. Little ones will be absorbed for hours with this sticker book filled with engaging activities. You might...
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Format: Paperback | Released 28/05/2015
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The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig
Eugene Trivizas - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
This much-loved picture book puts a comic and clever twist on the familiar fairytale. Three polite young wolves set off to make their way in the world and build themselves a charming little house in the country. But their rural...
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Format: Paperback | Released 29/01/2015
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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Winner of the 1999 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal A wonderful 150th-anniversary edition of Lewis Carroll's timeless classic, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury in this beautiful award-winning interpretation. Full of the most wondrous wit and humour, wonderful magic and believable nonsense,...
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Format: Paperback | Released 04/12/2014
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We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Michael Rosen - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Fantastic, cumulative adventure as a family cheerfully sets out on a brave hunt to find the bear - and this new edition has interactive sound! It could be frightening but they're not scared. They're full...
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Format: Hardback | Released 01/09/2014
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We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Michael Rosen - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
This is the 25th anniversary edition of this bestselling title which well-deserves its classic status. It has become the staple of pre-school life across the globe. Told in a simple rhythmic text that's full of action and it is matched...
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Format: Paperback | Released 02/01/2014
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We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Michael Rosen - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
This is the 25th anniversary board book edition of this bestselling title which well-deserves its classic status. It has become the staple of pre-school life across the globe. Told in a simple rhythmic text that's full of action and it...
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Format: Board book | Released 02/01/2014
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The Helen Oxenbury Nursery Collection
Helen Oxenbury
A perfect introduction to the wonderful world of rhymes and stories and the delight they bring. Helen Oxenbury's gentle but witty illustrations make the perfect match for simple traditional rhymes before moving on to longer traditional tales such as The...
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Format: Hardback | Released 07/11/2013
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Charley's First Night
Amy Hest - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Packed full of love, this is an irresistible story of a little boy's first experience of caring for someone smaller and more frightened than himself. When Henry brings his new puppy Charley home, his parents make it clear that Charley...
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Format: Paperback | Released 03/10/2013
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Charley's First Night
Amy Hest - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Packed full of love, this is an irresistible story of a little boy's first experience of caring for someone smaller and more frightened than himself. When Henry brings his new puppy Charley home, his parents make it clear that Charley...
Lovereading Price: £9.59 - Saving £2.40 (20%) Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Hardback | Released 06/09/2012
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There's Going to be a Baby
John Burningham - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Award-winning illustrators John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury have teamed up to create this stunning and touching story about the excitement and anxiety surrounding the arrival of a new baby in the family. Funny, kind and thoughtful about the many different...
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Format: Paperback | Released 01/09/2011
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There's Going to be a Baby
John Burningham - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Award-winning husband and wife John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury have teamed up in this wonderful picture book which delicately captures the complex and sometimes overpowering feelings of an older sibling waiting for the arrival of a new baby. John Burningham's...
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Format: Hardback | Released 04/10/2010
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Alice's Adventures In Wonderland - Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Lewis Carroll - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Abundantly illustrated with warmth and humour by Helen Oxenbury, the memorable cast of characters are to be found in all their glory here in this edition, from Alice herself to the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat. ...
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Format: Paperback | Released 02/03/2009
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So Much
Trish Cooke - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Everybody wants to squeeze the baby, everybody wants to kiss...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Featured in: Baby and Toddler
Format: Paperback | Released 03/03/2008
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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (illustrated by Helen Oxenbury)
Lewis Carroll - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Winner of the 1999 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal Full of the most wondrous wit and humour, wonderful magic and believable nonsense, this particular edition has the most stunning illustrations that complement the imaginative story that's anything but dull. The...
Lovereading Price: £7.99 - Saving £2.00 (20%) Featured in: 7+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 08/05/2001
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