Helen Oxenbury - Illustrator

About the Illustrator

Helen Oxenbury is among the most popular and critically-acclaimed illustrators of all time. Her many award-winning books for children include We’re Going On a Bear Hunt, written by Michael Rosen, Farmer Duck, written by Martin Waddell and There’s Going to Be a Baby, written by John Burningham; as well as her classic board books for babies. Helen has won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal twice – in 1969, for The Quangle Wangle’s Hat and The Dragon of an Ordinary Family and in 1999, for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. She lives in London. Read Helen Oxenbury on winning the Kate Greenaway Medal twice here.

As a child
Growing up in Ipswich, England, Helen Oxenbury loved nothing more than drawing. As a teenager, she entered art school and basked in the pleasure of drawing, and nothing but drawing, all day. During vacations she helped out at the Ipswich Repertory Theatre workshop, mixing paints for set designers. It was there that she decided her future lay in theatre design. While studying costume design, however, Helen was told by a teacher, “This is hopeless, you know. You ought to go and do illustrations – you’re much more interested in the character, and we don’t know who’s going to play the part!”

As an adult
Sets and scenery, not books, remained Helen’s preoccupation for her early adult life as she embarked on careers in theatre, film, and TV. After marrying John Burningham, another of the world’s most eminent children’s book illustrators, and giving birth to their first child, at last she turned to illustrating children’s books. “When I had babies,” Helen says, “I wanted to be home with them and look for something to do there.” Helen and her husband make their home in London, where the she works in a nearby studio. She is also an avid tennis player.

As an artist
Today, Helen is among the most popular and critically acclaimed illustrators of her time. Her numerous books for children include the Kate Greenaway Medal-winning Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll; Smarties Book Prize-winning Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell; We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen; Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, written by Mem Fox, as well as her classic board books for babies. And what does she love most about her work? Thinking up new ideas? Seeing the finished book? Not at all. For Helen, “The best part is when I think I know what I’m doing and I’ve completed a few drawings. In fact, when I get about a third of the way through, and I feel I’m on my way, then I’m happy. It’s like reading a good book – you don’t want it to end.”

Featured books by Helen Oxenbury

So Much

So Much

Baby and Toddler

Author: Trish Cooke Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2008

Mum and the baby are at home, doing nothing spectacular, when the doorbell rings. It's Aunt Biba, and she wants to play with the baby so much. Then Uncle Didi comes, followed by practically the whole family, and they all want to hug and play with baby.

Other books by Helen Oxenbury

It's My Birthday

It's My Birthday

Author: Helen Oxenbury Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/01/2019

A simple, scrumptious birthday story from beloved author-illustrator, Helen Oxenbury. It's my birthday and I'm going to make a cake, a little boy tells his friends. Will they all help? Yes. The chicken gets some eggs; the bear gets some flour; the cat gets butter and milk; the pig gets a pinch of salt.... And they'll all help to eat the cake too!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/01/2019

Celebrate 30 wonderful years of We're Going on a Bear Hunt in this special anniversary edition of the much-loved family favourite. We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. Will you come too? For thirty years, readers have been swishy-swashying and splash-sploshing through this award-winning favourite. This new anniversary paperback edition brings the story to life for a whole new generation of readers. Follow and join in the family's excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river, squelch through the mud and brave their way through the swirling, whirling snowstorm in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest!

'Dyn Ni yn Mynd i Hela Arth

'Dyn Ni yn Mynd i Hela Arth

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2018

Clap Hands A First Book for Babies

Clap Hands A First Book for Babies

Author: Helen Oxenbury Format: Board book Release Date: 01/05/2018

Clap your hands and make some noise with this bright and cheerful board book. The much-loved and cherished babies are back in these delightful stories to help engage toddlers and encourage a love of reading.

Say Goodnight A First Book for Babies

Say Goodnight A First Book for Babies

Author: Helen Oxenbury Format: Board book Release Date: 01/05/2018

Sweet, cuddly, delightful babies - but it's time for these little babies to go to bed! The much-loved and cherished babies are back in these delightful stories to help engage toddlers and encourage a love of reading.

Bwystfil Gwyrdd Llamsachus, Y

Bwystfil Gwyrdd Llamsachus, Y

Author: Julia Donaldson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/07/2017

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Author: Helen Oxenbury Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/10/2016

Join in all the fun of the bear hunt with this magical changing picture edition of the much-loved family classic. We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. Will you come too? For over twenty-five years, readers have been swishy swashing and splash sploshing through this award-winning favourite. Follow and join in the family's excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest! Now you can join in the fun with this interactive changing picture book.

We're Gangin on a Bear Hunt We're Going on Bear Hunt in Scots

We're Gangin on a Bear Hunt We're Going on Bear Hunt in Scots

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/08/2016

We're gangin on a bear hunt. We're gaun tae catch a braw yin. Whit a bonnie day! We're no feart. Get ready for a big adventure, as a family of brave bear hunters trudges through muckle forests and skirlin snawstorms, claggie mud and a deep cauld river in search of a glowerin bear. Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury's classic We're Going on a Bear Hunt is charmingly recreated in Scots for little adventurers. The original words and illustrations are transformed by language expert Susan Rennie into lively Scots for a bright and bonnie take on this favourite tale. Perfect for reading aloud with young children.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/05/2016

Unfold all the fun of the bear hunt in this delightful pocket-sized pop-up of the award-winning picture book classic. We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. Will you come too? For a quarter of a century, readers have been swishy-swashying and splash-sploshing through this award-winning favourite. Follow and join in the family's excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest!

Captain Jack and the Pirates

Captain Jack and the Pirates

Author: Peter Bently Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/04/2016

From the award-winning creator of We're Going on a Bear Hunt and Peter Bently comes this utterly delightful picture book, that sees a family day out at the beach turn into a wonderful piratical adventure! Make-believe fun, illustrated by picture book star, Helen Oxenbury, will capture the imaginations of children everywhere. This is sure to be a classic.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Author: Lewis Carroll Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/11/2015

Piece together Lewis Carroll's classic story in this delightful jigsaw edition illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll's classic story of logic and lunacy, has delighted young and old alike for 150 years. Gorgeously illustrated, this award-winning rendition is full of warmth and humour and is available for the first time in an interactive puzzle piece edition. This is Alice as a child of today - casually dressed, personable, spirited. In Helen Oxenbury's hands, the topsy-turvy world of Wonderland is a wondrous place indeed!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2015

The award-winning classic brought to life as a pop-up adventure. We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. Will you come too? For a quarter of a century, readers have been swishy-swashying and splash-sploshing through this award-winning favourite and now it can be read in three glorious dimensions in this incredible pop-up edition featuring seven full-page pop-ups. Follow and join in the family's excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest! The award-winning classic brought to life as a pop-up adventure.

Wir gehen auf Barenjagd

Wir gehen auf Barenjagd

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/06/2015

When Charley Met Granpa

When Charley Met Granpa

Author: Amy Hest Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2014

Dear Granpa ... When are you coming to see Charley? Bring a big suitcase and stay a long time and I'll meet you at the station... Readers fell in love with Henry and his truly adorable new puppy, Charley, in Charley's First Night. In this beautiful follow-up title, Henry hopes - very much - that his granpa, who is coming for a visit, will love Charley just as much as he does (a lot). But Granpa is a little wary of dogs ... he's never been friends with one before. Luckily, Charley isn't any ordinary little puppy, he's a very smart one and this could be the beginning of a very beautiful friendship indeed...

Bardal Feirmeora (Farmer Duck)

Bardal Feirmeora (Farmer Duck)

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/09/2013

A hardworking duck is rescued from life with a lazy old farmer in this classic tale of justice from acclaimed Irish writer Martin Waddell. A perfect introduction to the Irish language for young children! There once was a duck who had the bad luck to live with a lazy farmer. While the poor duck works and works, through rain and hail, the farmer lazes about ... barking out commands from his bed. But, one day, the other animals decide to take action! It's time to stand up to that lazy farmer! This story of heroism and comradeship, with illustrations that are as stunningly beautiful and powerful as they are truly funny, make this new Irish edition a book to be read again and again ... and again!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/05/2013

Piece together the fun of the bear hunt in this delightful jigsaw version of the classic picture book. We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. Will you come too? For more than twenty years, readers have been swishy swashing and splash sploshing through this award-winning favourite. Follow and join in the family's excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest! Now you can join in the fun with this interactive jigsaw book.

The Complete Alice Slipcase

The Complete Alice Slipcase

Author: Lewis Carroll Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2012

We're Going on a Bear Hunt Story Play

We're Going on a Bear Hunt Story Play

Author: Michael Rosen, Vivian French Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/09/2012

A dramatic version of a favourite picture book in which children join in taking different parts of the reading. Offering a very different storytelling experience, this Walker All Join In Story Play is a dramatic version of a favourite picture book written for four voices. Each part is clearly marked by different colour bands so children can join in. Perfect for reading aloud, this innovative and beautifully designed book offers a simple, clever and utterly enjoyable way of sharing stories and learning to read. The Walker All Join In Story Plays are written in strongly patterned language by Vivian French to cater for readers with different levels of experience. There are brief teaching notes at the back which give parents and teachers helpful advice on sharing the books with children.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Author: Mem Fox Format: Board book Release Date: 07/02/2011

Nothing is sweeter, as everyone knows, than tiny baby fingers and chubby baby toes! All over the world, babies are different. Yet in some ways they are very much the same: each one has ten little fingers and ten little toes - to play with, to tickle, to wave. And each child is very, very special to its parents... With Mem Fox's gently rhyming text illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, best loved as the illustrator of the classic nursery join-in picture book We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes will fast become the essential book for baby playtime - and the perfect gift for a new arrival!

The Complete Alice

The Complete Alice

Author: Lewis Carroll Format: Mixed media product Release Date: 01/11/2009

A multi-award-winning classic and its timeless sequel in a beautiful box set. For over a hundred years, Lewis Carroll's classic stories of logic and lunacy have delighted young and old alike. Abundantly illustrated, these contemporary and accessible interpretations are full of warmth and humour. Alice herself is truly a child of our times - casually dressed, personable and spirited. In Helen Oxenbury's hands, the topsy-turvy world of Wonderland is a wondrous place indeed!

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

Author: Mem Fox Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/08/2009

Nothing is sweeter, as everyone knows, than tiny baby fingers and chubby baby toes! The perfect gift for a new arrival, this is the best-loved baby book from Mex Fox and Helen Oxenbury, illustrator of We're Going on a Bear Hunt. All over the world, babies are different. Yet in some ways they are very much the same: each one has ten little fingers and ten little toes - to play with, to tickle, to wave. And each child is very, very special to its parents... With a gently rhyming text and delightfully exuberant illustration, this glorious celebration of babies the world over is a book to treasure. Reverse the book's jacket to find a gorgeous first nursery poster, too!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Mixed media product Release Date: 01/06/2009

We're going on a bear hunt! Through the long wavy grass, the thick oozy mud and the swirling, whirling snowstorm - will we find a bear today? Children will love joining in with the animated version of this adventurous tale from the acclaimed King Rollo Films - accompanied by specially composed music and narrated by Emilia Fox and Kevin Whately - and following all the action in the classic picture book, which won the Smarties Book Prize and was Highly Commended for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Please note, this DVD is Region 2 PAL.

Alice Through the Looking-Glass

Alice Through the Looking-Glass

Author: Lewis Carroll Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2008

A classic much-loved tale is vividly brought to life in the beautiful illustrations of the award-winning artist Helen Oxenbury. Lewis Carroll's classic stories of logic and lunacy have inspired delight in young and old alike. Continuing Alice's adventures, Alice Through the Looking Glass sees her walking through a mirror into a topsy-turvy world. There she meets a host of bizarre characters, including Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty and the Red Queen. But is it all a dream? Delightfully illustrated for a new generation by the award-winning Helen Oxenbury.

The Growing Story

The Growing Story

Author: Ruth Krauss Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/05/2008

A classically beautiful picture book from Helen Oxenbury and Ruth Krauss. Share the universal experience of growing up and discover the rhythms of the seasons in this wonderfully timeless story. A little boy, some chicks and a puppy live on a farm. They see the first signs of spring growing in the fields and the little boy asks his mother if he and the puppy will grow too. Of course you will, she assures him, and as spring turns to summer he sees his dog growing taller and the chicks become chickens. But as the seasons change and everything grows around him, the little boy feels like he has stayed the same. Can he really be growing too? This charming story will enchant younger readers and is perfect for sharing aloud. Beautifully presented as an illustrated paperback, it is the perfect book for all little children wondering if they're growing too.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Mixed media product Release Date: 01/09/2007

A delightful CD and paperback picture book edition of a much-loved classic! We're going on a bear hunt! Through the long wavy grass, the thick oozy mud and the swirling, whirling snowstorm - will we find a bear today? A perfect bedtime adventure for all aspiring explorers. Includes a CD of the story read by Doctor Who actress Sophie Aldred to listen to with the paperback picture book.

Farmer Duck in Tagalog and English

Farmer Duck in Tagalog and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/01/2007

Farmer Duck (English/Russian)

Farmer Duck (English/Russian)

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/10/2006

Farmer Duck in Bulgarian and English

Farmer Duck in Bulgarian and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/07/2006

Farmer Duck in Romanian and English

Farmer Duck in Romanian and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/07/2006

Farmer Duck in Nepali and English

Farmer Duck in Nepali and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck in Turkish and English

Farmer Duck in Turkish and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck in Tamil and English

Farmer Duck in Tamil and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck (English/German)

Farmer Duck (English/German)

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck in Gujarati and English

Farmer Duck in Gujarati and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck in Portuguese and English

Farmer Duck in Portuguese and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck in Kurdish and English

Farmer Duck in Kurdish and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck in Polish and English

Farmer Duck in Polish and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck in Japanese and English

Farmer Duck in Japanese and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck (English/Spanish)

Farmer Duck (English/Spanish)

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck in Bengali and English

Farmer Duck in Bengali and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck in Urdu and English

Farmer Duck in Urdu and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck in Malayalam and English

Farmer Duck in Malayalam and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2006

Farmer Duck in Arabic and English

Farmer Duck in Arabic and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/02/2002

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Farsi and English

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Farsi and English

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/01/2001

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Czech and English

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Czech and English

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/01/2001

We're going on a Bear Hunt

We're going on a Bear Hunt

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/01/2001

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Tamil and English

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Tamil and English

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/01/2001

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Turkish and English

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Turkish and English

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/01/2001

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Chinese and English

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Chinese and English

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/01/2001

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Gujarati and English

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Gujarati and English

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/01/2001

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Somali and English

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Somali and English

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/01/2001

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Albanian and English

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Albanian and English

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2001

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Bengali and English

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Bengali and English

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2001

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Arabic and English

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Arabic and English

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/2001

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Urdu and English

We're Going on a Bear Hunt in Urdu and English

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2001

An Croitear

An Croitear

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/08/2000

Farmer Duck

Farmer Duck

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/07/1996

There once was a duck who had the bad luck to live with a lazy farmer. While the duck worked, the farmer lay in bed - until one day the other animals decided to take action! The result is highly satisfying - Animal Farm for young children - and lots of fun to read aloud.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/02/1996

For brave hunters and bear-lovers, the classic chant-aloud by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. Follow and join in the family's excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest!

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