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Anthony Browne - Author

About the Author

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.

Featured books by Anthony Browne

Other books by Anthony Browne

My Brother

My Brother

Author: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2009

My brother is really cool. He's a super skateboarder and he's got massive muscles. He can run so fast that ...he can fly! Yes, my brother is really cool. A humorous, affectionate tribute to brothers, this title is perfect for adults and children everywhere. A brilliant follow-up to the best-selling My Dad and My Mum !

Little Beauty

Little Beauty

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/04/2009

The heart-warming tale of a gorilla and his tiny friend, from the master picturebook-maker. A very special gorilla is taught a very special skill: sign language. He appears to have everything he needs, but one day he signs that he is sad and needs a friend. His keepers bring him a tiny cat called Beauty and the two of them become inseparable. But when the gorilla gets angry and causes damage to the TV, will his keepers think him unfit to be friends with such a small, defenceless animal? Not if Beauty can think fast and prove what a special friendship they share...

I Like Books

I Like Books

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Board book Release Date: 02/03/2009

Do you like books? Funny books or fairy tales? Scary books or song books? Books about dinosaurs or pirates or ABCs? This simple, inviting ode to the pleasures of reading stars an obliging chimp sampling books of all sizes and shapes, vividly and humorously rendered in Anthony Browne's crisp, polished style.

Willy the Dreamer

Willy the Dreamer

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2008

A stunning Willy book with spectacular, surreal paintings - by one of the most acclaimed of all picture book artists. Willy loves to dream. He dreams that he's a film star, a sumo wrestler, a ballet dancer, a painter, an explorer, a famous writer, a scuba diver... Sometimes he dreams that he can't run but he can fly. He dreams he's a giant or he's tiny, a beggar or a king, in a strange landscape or all at sea. He dreams of fierce monsters and super heroes, of the past and, sometimes, the future. Willy's dreamland is a gallery of amazing and magical pictures, each one magnificently executed and packed with bananas and slyly surreal details that cannot fail to intrigue and delight. The pictures pay homage to famous paintings by the likes of Dali, Magritte and Henri Rousseau, as well as film and book characters and much more.

Willy the Champ

Willy the Champ

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2008

Join Willy as he takes on the big bad bully! Willy is different. He likes to read books and listen to music; he's no good at sports, although he tries; and wherever he goes he gets laughed at. But when he's threatened by the horrible Buster Nose he really comes into his own.

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel

Author: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2008

A retelling of this famous, dark fairytale from award-winning author-illustrator Anthony Browne. Hansel and Gretel is perhaps the darkest and greatest of the fairytales from the Brothers Grimm. This extraordinary book brings the classic childhood tale to a new generation courtesy of one of the world's greatest picture book artists, Hans Christian Andersen Award-winner Anthony Browne.

Willy's Pictures

Willy's Pictures

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2008

Hugely entertaining and informative - a unique art history lesson given by internationally acclaimed children's book illustrator. Willy's pictures look like great works of art, but not quite ... for Willy has added himself and his friends to famous paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Vermeer, Manet and many more. Delight in his dazzling portfolio then open the fold-out pages to see the original pictures and learn about the artists who painted them. As Willy knows, every picture tells a story...

Author Info

Author's Website

https://www.anthonybrownebooks.com/

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