Shirley Hughes is a pioneer for children’s books and is one of the most liked authors and illustrators today. She has written over 70 books, which incorporate the Dogger and Alfie collection and illustrated lots more by other authors. Shirley continues to be published worldwide and decades of kids have grown up enthralled and reassured by her books, and which over the years has won her major awards.
Shirley has won the Kate Greenaway Medal twice and has been given the OBE for her eminent service to kid’s publications. In 2007, Dogger was voted the UK’s favourite Kate Greenaway Medal-winning book of all time.
Dogger will strike a chord with any kids aged 3 and above who have ever misplaced their much loved cuddly toy. Dogger is a shabby dog with funny shaped ears and a cute face who means a great deal to Dave, so when he is lost, Dave is devastated. Children’s picture books are ageless and Dogger hasn’t lost any of its attraction and continues to be a story to which all children and their parents will relate.
Shirley’s inspiration for drawing and thinking up tales began in her childhood years during the second world war in the Wirral, Lancashire, which developed into a lifelong interest in illustrations that told stories. Her love of drawing and writing is attributed to the idyllic childhood she had, where a lot of time was spent thinking up imaginary worlds and now and then going to the cinema.
Hero on a Bicycle was her debut novel. This is a thrilling and tender story with a dash of romance, set against a dramatic backdrop of Italy during the war. Based on Hughes’ personal experience of visiting Florence not long after World War II, it’s a friendly, gentle story of courage against the odds, that deals frankly with the viciousness of war, however maintains a distinctive warmth and lightness of touch. Superbly presented in a purposely retro, melancholy manner, it also features Hughes’ recognisable black and white pictures.
Her books about Alfie get their charm from familiar elements. At the same time, they illustrate how experimental an artist and designer Shirley Hughes is. Starting with Up and Up, her wordless picture book, via the split-screen technique of Alfie Gets in First, to the lavish cinemascope of Enchantment in the Garden, Hughes never stops innovating.
Alfie is brilliant at teaching kids their numbers and the alphabet. Counting with Alfie couldn’t be more straightforward because his world is full of numbers. By using their fingers and toes and playing with Alfie, little children may learn to count. The same simplicity is attached to Alfie’s alphabet book as well, starting with A for Alfie, B for bedtime and Shirley walks every child through the complete alphabet representing things that can be found in Alfie’s world that start with every letter.
By Sun and Candlelight boasts wonderful pictures and this amazing collection of prose and poetry will be a perfect present for adults and children alike. This collection commemorates the riches of a generation with writings and poems to mark all of the key milestones, just like childhood, young adulthood, falling in love, family life, growing older and death.
The board books and picture books of Shirley Hughes are popular for their beautifully detailed illustrations which capture all the wonder and excitement of a young kid’s world. From teatime treats to covert adventures, she has a flawless appreciation of the things that enchant kids.