Where words and pictures meet: Anthony Browne

August 25, 2011

Illustration from Hansel and Gretel by Anthony Browne. Image from The apple and the egg.

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne

Genre: childrens picture books

Artists medium: Pencil and very controlled watercolour.

Age Appropriateness: a bit book dependent…. baby to older primary…… through to adults.

Introduction: Although Anthony Browne is best known for his books featuring gorillas, my first real exposure was very recently while in the library with 5 year old ….researching for this series of posts. I came across and read ‘In the forest’. I love how the pictures are predominantly  black and white with the subject being in colour. I also loved the way the story required other book knowledge.

This book lead us on the path of revisiting fairy tales (which we hadn’t read a lot of recently). The experience reminded me of Tim’s english literature lecturer who said (20 years ago) …. much of the imagery in literature is lost because students don’t have a good grounding in biblical literature….I wondered how much children miss out on when not exposed to the ‘old fairy tales’. Interestingly enough….at least to me … academics are starting to acknowledge that reading the ‘old fairy tales’ and experiencing books from moments in history when thinking was different to ours, aids in encouraging the imagination. Nic blogs about it  this idea here.

Other work: Voices in the park, My Dad, My Mum, Zoo, Willy and  Hugh, Little Beauty, Gorilla, Willy the Wimp, the tunnel, Silly Billy, Piggybook, Changes, Willy the dreamer, Look what I’ve got, Hansel and Gretel, Bear Hunt, Willy the Champ, The Shape Game, Willy the Wizard, Through the magic mirror, Willy’s pictures, Bears Magic Pencil, Me and You, The night Shimmy, My Brother, Things I like, King Kong, I Like Books, The Tunnel, Willy’s pictures. (Over 40 books if you include translations)

       

…again too many books to show the covers of all of them

Review:

 Anthony Browne is an internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of children’s books, with nearly 40 titles to his name. He creates strongly narrative watercolours that blend near-photographic realism with fantastical, surreal touches and ingenious visual puns. His skilful use of colour, pattern and background detail subtly conveys an exquisite empathy for his lonely and sensitive child protagonists (both human and ape). 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.’

Children’s laureate website.


Interviews: You can read CBBS’ author spotlight…including questions from kids here.

Video:

Activities from books: Play the Shape game.

Art: book illustration plates available as artworks from the Illustration Cupboard.

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