Winnie the Witch and her cheerful companion black cat Wilbur won readers’ hearts in their very first outing.

35 years on and Winnie and her cat Wilbur are firmly established as some of the best loved characters in children’s books. 

Lovingly created by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul, Winnie and Wilbur first appeared in 1987, introducing a lovable witch who shares her big black house with her big black cat. Since that first story of Winnie's magical attempts to make Wilbur visible, the duo have gone on to star in 56 adventures including 24 picture books and 32 young fiction stories, and have been translated into 44 languages to be read around the world.

Author, Valerie Thomas, has spent much of her life living in Australia and alongside her writing, has worked as a teacher, educational researcher and curriculum consultant. Her special hobby is travelling, and she has travelled to most parts of the world, even Antarctica, but she doesn’t travel by broomstick! “I can hardly believe that it’s thirty-five years since I first thought of Winnie and Wilbur. The story just popped into my head like magic. And although there have been so many Winnie and Wilbur stories, the first one is still my favourite....the most magical aspect of Winnie and Wilbur is that after thirty-five years they haven’t aged at all. My hair has turned to silver, but Winnie doesn’t have a single grey hair. And Wilbur looks wonderful for a thirty-five-year-old cat. Let us hope that in another thirty-five years they will still be enjoying their magical lives."

The stories are brought to life by Korky Paul's intricate and imaginative artwork. “Drawing the first Winnie and Wilbur picture book was a spell-binding experience. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined thirty-five years later Winnie & Wilbur would cast their magic on millions of boys and girls around the planet - Winnie and Wilbur have enchanted her readers and me too! Illustrating Valerie Thomas’s enchanting Winnie and Wilbur stories over the last thirty-five years has given me a cauldron-full of creative opportunities and many magic moments.

‘Purrrrr-fect…’ as Wilbur would say."

To mark the anniversary, Oxford Universtity Press have published a striking hardback edition of the first Winnie the Witch story complete with extra information about the characters, memories of Winnie and Wilbur's most magical moments and an insight into the early sketches from Korky Paul. 

Join Winnie this Halloween, the funniest and most entertaining witch, as she waves her magic wand with spectacular and colourful results.

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