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

Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration

Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration

Author: Leonard S. Marcus Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/11/2018

A fascinating, beautiful and definitive account of the life of esteemed artist Helen Oxenbury. Filled with insights that span Helen Oxenbury's life, from her early childhood through a unique career in children's books that began in 1964 and is still going strong today, here is an exquisitely designed and thoroughly entertaining celebration of one of the finest English illustrators of our time. Written by acclaimed author Leonard S. Marcus, Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration is a keepsake that is sure to engage and delight everyone from scholars to art aficionados to the many children and adults who have grown up with Helen Oxenbury's enchanting books.

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 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!

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.

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

Farmer Duck in Tagalog and English

Farmer Duck in Tagalog and English

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

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 in German and English

Farmer Duck in German and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback 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 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 in Spanish and English

Farmer Duck in Spanish and English

Author: Martin Waddell Format: Paperback 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 Russian and English

Farmer Duck in Russian 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 in Portuguese and English

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

Author: Michael Rosen Format: Paperback 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 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 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

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