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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

Boidheach Beag

Boidheach Beag

Author: Anthony Browne Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/09/2008

Willy the Wimp

Willy the Wimp

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/07/2008

Willy is tired of being a wimp so he decides it is time to take action! Willy is kind and gentle, and bullied by the suburban gorilla gang who call him Willy the Wimp . Desperate to do something about his situation, Willy answers a bodybuilding advert and grows big and strong, determined no one will ever call him wimp again.

The Tunnel

The Tunnel

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/06/2008

Anthony Browne is at his most brilliant in a new edition of this profound picture book about sibling relations. Once upon a time there lived a brother and sister who were complete opposites and constantly fought and argued. One day they discovered the tunnel. The boy goes through it at once, dismissing his sister's fears. When he doesn't return his sister has to pluck up the courage to go through the tunnel too. She finds her brother in a mysterious forest where he has been turned to stone...

Piggybook

Piggybook

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/06/2008

A stunning new edition of one of Anthony Browne's best-loved picture book stories. Mr Piggott and his two sons behave like pigs to poor Mrs Piggott - until, finally, she walks out. Left to fend for themselves, the male Piggotts undergo some curious changes!

Changes

Changes

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/06/2008

A new edition of an outstanding picture book by one of the most popular of all contemporary author/illustrators. On Thursday morning at a quarter past ten, Joseph Kaye notices something odd about the kettle... Thus begins a remarkable day for Joseph, a day in which everything seems to change in the most peculiar of ways. The washbasin grows feet, the armchair becomes a gorilla, his bicycle wheel turns into an apple ... Joseph's father had said when he'd left that morning that everything was going to change. But what had he meant? The book explores the boy's state of mind as he prepares for the return of his parents with his new baby sister.

Gorilla

Gorilla

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/03/2008

A stunning new edition of the classic picture book by a Hans Christian Andersen Award-winner. Hannah loves gorillas but has never seen one. Her father's too busy to take her to the zoo - or for anything else come to that. For her birthday, Hannah asks her father for a gorilla - but is disappointed when she discovers that the gorilla she's got is just a toy one. But then something extraordinary happens ... the toy turns into a real gorilla, who puts on her father's hat and coat and takes her off for a magical visit to the zoo...

My Mum

My Mum

Author: Anthony Browne Format: Board book Release Date: 07/02/2008

She's nice, my mum...My mum's a fantastic cook, and a brilliant juggler. She's a great painter,and the strongest woman in the world! She's really nice, my mum. This book is a warm, funny tribute to Mum (and to mums everywhere) by the brilliant author/illustrator Anthony Browne.

Author Info

Author's Website

https://www.anthonybrownebooks.com/

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