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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 Mum

My Mum

Author: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/02/2006

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. A warm, funny tribute to Mum (and to mums everywhere) by the brilliant author/illustrator Anthony Browne.

Into the Forest

Into the Forest

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/09/2005

A shortcut through the forest to Grandma's house produces some eerie moments - and some oddly familiar characters - in a strikingly illustrated tale about facing fears. One night a boy is woken by a terrible sound. A storm is breaking, lightning flashing across the sky. In the morning Dad is gone and Mum doesn't seem to know when he'll be back. The next day Mum asks her son to take a cake to his sick grandma. Don't go into the forest, she warns. Go the long way round. But, for the first time, the boy chooses to take the path into the forest, where he meets a variety of fairy tale characters.

Ourson et les chasseurs

Ourson et les chasseurs

Author: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/07/2005

The Shape Game

The Shape Game

Author: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/07/2004

'I was a little boy and I didn't know what to expect. It was my mother's idea - that year for her birthday she wanted us all to go somewhere different. It turned out to be a day that changed my life forever.' A family reluctantly visits an art gallery but one by one each member is energized by a different picture in the gallery and transported into the imaginative and colourful world of art.

Things I Like

Things I Like

Author: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/12/2003

A wonderful picture book all about everything toddlers like, from an award winner children's book creator. Whether it's painting a picture or riding a bike, building sandcastles or playing with friends - or even just watching TV - there's something in this book that every toddler is sure to love! This simple picture book is vividly and humorously rendered in Anthony Browne's crisp, polished style.

I Like Books

I Like Books

Author: Anthony Browne Illustrator: Anthony Browne Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/12/2003

Who better than Anthony Browne - and one of his most personable chimps - to celebrate all the fun to be found in the world of books? 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.

Author Info

Author's Website

https://www.anthonybrownebooks.com/

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