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John Burningham (1936-2019) studied illustration and graphic design at the Central School of Art, graduating with distinction in 1959. Many illustration commissions followed including iconic posters for London Transport, before the publication of Borka: the Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers, John’s first book for children (Cape, 1963) which won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration and heralded the beginning of an extraordinary career. John Burningham has since written and illustrated over thirty picture books, that have been translated and distributed all over the world. These feature his classic and much loved children’s books including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Fleming (Jonathan Cape, 1964); Mr Gumpy’s Outing (Jonathan Cape, 1970) also awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal; Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (Jonathan Cape, 1972); The Shopping Basket (Random House, 1980); The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (Penguin/Puffin, 1983); Granpa (Jonathan Cape, 1984) later made into an animated film and Oi! Get off our Train (Jonathan Cape, 1989) and various books for adults England (Jonathan Cape, 1992); France (Jonathan Cape, 1998); The Time of Your Life (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2002) and When We Were Young (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004).
Tug of War was republished in 2012, and a special edition of Borka, celebrating 50 years in print, was published in June 2013. Picnic appeared in the autumn of 2013 and The Way to the Zoo was published in the UK in 2014. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is celebrating its 50th year in print with a limited edition in hardback to be published in 2015.
John was married to the illustrator, Helen Oxenbury.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | John Burningham won his record breaking second Kate Greenaway medal for Mr Gumpy’s Outing in 1970, which was the first we saw of the character that John claimed was a ‘prophetic caricature’ because he grew to look more like him throughout his life! So, it seems entirely appropriate that the very last book written by John features his alter ego. We last saw him in the equally popular Mr Gumpy’s Motor Car in 1973 so where has he been since? Travelling in Africa it seems, where he rescues a baby rhino who has lost his parents, killed by poachers who had stolen their horns. Kind Mr Gumpy goes in search of milk from friendly Bedouin tribesmen, decides to call his rhino Charlie and takes him on the ship home with him. He struggles to find enough food for the rapidly growing Charlie and local schoolchildren suggest he could work for the council keeping the grass down on the roadside verges. His specially made high-vis jacket and rhino at work sign are a real hit with Charlie! He repays this kindness by rescuing the school outing; taking the children on his back to the beach and then out to sea to catch the boat they had just missed- a thrilling ride for everyone! With the classic mix of soft sepia line drawings and beautifully textured full colour images this is Burningham at his best, vividly capturing landscapes and the tiny, exquisitely drawn details that bring every character to life. A real celebration of kindness and community that offers a gentle introduction for small children to discussion about conservation and endangered species. A real classic that will be as timeless, popular and hopefully award -winning, as its predecessors.
In the house there lives a family: a mum, a dad, a girl and a boy. But they are not alone; a secret mouse family is living there too, who only come out when everyone else is asleep. One day they are spotted and the mouse catcher is called ... Will they escape in time?
There’s a perfect simplicity to this book, the work of a picture book genius. Miles is a difficult dog, won’t come when called, doesn’t like walks or other dogs, barks too much. The only thing he does like, in fact, is going out in the car. Fortunately, the family’s neighbour realises that what Miles needs is a car of his own, and offers to make him one. John Burningham’s illustrations, simultaneously comic and serious, match his deadpan text beautifully; Miles and his young owner Norman are wonderfully realised characters; the colours glow: quite simply wonderful. ~ Andrea Reece
October 2016 Book of the Month There’s a perfect simplicity to this book, the work of a picture book genius. Miles is a difficult dog, won’t come when called, doesn’t like walks or other dogs, barks too much. The only thing he does like, in fact, is going out in the car. Fortunately, the family’s neighbour realises that what Miles needs is a car of his own, and offers to make him one. John Burningham’s illustrations, simultaneously comic and serious, match his deadpan text beautifully; Miles and his young owner Norman are wonderfully realised characters; the colours glow: quite simply wonderful. ~ Andrea Reece
Award-winning John Burningham tells a touching story of a little girl and the special friends she makes in the night time. When Sylvie finds a door in her bedroom she discovers a secret passage to her very own zoo full of the most wonderful animals. Every night Sylvie finds a new animal to take back to her room. The easiest to manage are small and cuddly, others, like the penguins who splash a lot in the bath, are too messy. The baby elephant is too big to get along the passage and the dog is too smelly to stay in Sylvie’s room. Every day when she goes to school, Sylvie makes sure the door is firmly shut. Until one day she forgets…
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - April 2014 Book of the Month Award-winning John Burningham tells a touching story of a little girl and the special friends she makes in the night time. When Sylvie finds a door in her bedroom she discovers a secret passage to her very own zoo full of the most wonderful animals. Every night Sylvie finds a new animal to take back to her room. The easiest to manage are small and cuddly, others, like the penguins who splash a lot in the bath, are too messy. The baby elephant is too big to get along the passage and the dog is too smelly to stay in Sylvie’s room. Every day when she goes to school, Sylvie makes sure the door is firmly shut. Until one day she forgets…
Award-winning illustrators and husband and wife team John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury have teamed up for the very first time 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 ways an older sibling might see the arrival of the baby, this book will delight the whole family at any time.
Award-winning illustrator John Burningham’s classic adventure of a delightful day’s jaunt in a car. It is a beautiful summer’s day when Mr Gumpy decides to set off in his car. The children and all the animals want to join him. At first, even though it is a bit of a squash, everything goes brilliantly. But then, it begins to rain and the car stuck gets in the mud. How will they all get home safely? Luckily, they do. And everything ends happily. A book to enjoy again and again.
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 delicately written story takes the form of a beautiful dialogue in which the optimistic possibilities of what the baby might and might not do are juxtaposed with some of the fears and negative feelings that the thought of it creates. Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations match both the delicacy and the humour of the text perfectly and, by the end, both words and pictures welcome the baby with hope.
Greenaway winner in 1963. John Burningham's classic first picture book, Borka: The Adventures of a Goose with no Feathers is somewhat reminiscent of the Ugly Duckling story and like that story there is an eventual happy ending. Together the illustrations and the text tell a vivid and charming story that bring the characters to life on the page. This is likely to have a been a real childhood favourite when it won the Kate Greenaway Medal back in 1964 and its timeless nature will ensure a new generation of children will love it too. (0-5) To find out more about this book CLICK HERE to visit the Carnegie Greenaway site
Kind Mr Gumpy lets all the animals join him on his boat for a lovely trip down the river. It looks like a perfect day out. But animals don’t always know how to behave and soon Mr Gumpy finds he’s got his hands more than full. It all ends in a glorious SPLASH! before it’s time to return home for a comforting tea. Animals antics make perfect entertainment.
Once upon a time there were two geese called Mr and Mrs Plumpster. Each Spring they returned to the marshes of their ancestors, and Mrs Plumpster laid her eggs. Soon six fine young Plumpsters hatched: Archie, Freda, Jennifer, Oswald, Timothy and Borka. But Borka was different. Borka had no feathers and could not fly. When winter came the other geese flew off in search of warmer climates, leaving Borka all alone. But her adventure was only just beginning . . .
Every day, John Patrick sets off along the road to school, and although he hurries, strange and improbable happenings repeatedly make him late. To make things worse, his teacher never believes his story.
Hare, Hippopotamus and Elephant live together, but not happily, for Hippopotamus and Elephant are forever teasing poor Hare. One day, Hare decides to teach his friends a lesson, and so the great tug of war begins ...
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