Monday, 14 August 2017

Yet More Brilliant B's by Lynne Benton

Here are a few more great authors whose surnames begin with B. 

Elizabeth Beresford originally worked as a journalist but is now best-known as the creator of the Wombles.  The first book was published in 1968, and after its success on “Jackanory” the BBC decided to make it into an animated series for television.  With their strong theme of recycling, the Wombles became very popular with children across the world, and they remain her best known creation.

Angela Brazil was one of the first British writers of "modern schoolgirls' stories", written from the characters' point of view and intended primarily as entertainment rather than moral instruction.  In the first half of the 20th century she published nearly 50 books of girls' fiction, the vast majority being boarding school stories.  After WW11 books of this type became less popular, but she was still widely read into the 1960s.

Quentin Blake is perhaps best-known for illustrating books by Roald Dahl, but he has also written and illustrated many of his own books.  In 1999 he was created the first ever Children's Laureate, and in 2013 he was knighted.  One of his most popular books is Mister Magnolia.

Jeff Brown’s name is well-known around the world, but especially in the United States, as the creator of Flat Stanley.  Brown created Flat Stanley in a bedtime story for his sons. One was frightened by the possibility that the noticeboard above his bed would fall on him in the night. Brown dismissed the idea but joked that if it did his son would end up flat. The boys loved the idea, so he came up with more “what if” scenarios and eventually turned the stories into a book.  “Flat Stanley” was published in 1964, and was eventually followed by several more books about Stanley, though in most of these Stanley was not flat.

Anthony Browne is an author/illustrator, whose first, and most famous book is Gorilla.  It is the story of Hannah, who is so obsessed with gorillas that she dreams that her toy one turns into a real one, who becomes her special friend.

Judy Blume is another American writer, this time for teenage girls.  Born in 1938, she is credited as one of the first authors to write YA novels about difficult topics particularly relevant to readers.  Because of their subject matter (puberty, periods, masturbation and so on) they were often banned by schools and libraries, and some still consider them to be taboo.  According to Blume, "I wanted to be honest. And I felt that no adult had been honest with me. We didn't have the information we should have had." Perhaps her best-known book is “Are you there, God?  It’s me, Margaret”.

Antonia Barber wrote her most famous book, “The Mousehole Cat”, with beautiful illustrations by Nicola Bayley, based on a Cornish legend.  It is the story of fisherman Tom and his cat Mowzer, and what happens when a terrific storm prevents the fishermen from going out to sea, which means the village will starve.  However, Mowzer decides to tackle the great Storm Cat in order to save Tom and the village.

Henrietta Branford, who died of cancer in 1999, is best known for her book “Fire, Bed and Bone”, a historical novel set during the English Peasants’ Revolt in 1381.  After her death, the Branford-Boase Award for first-time writers was created in her name.

Robert Browning wrote one of the most famous narrative poems in the English language – The Pied Piper of Hamelin.  In 303 lines he tells the legend of a piper who is hired to rid the town of Hamelin of a plague of rats.  When he succeeds in luring the rats to their deaths in the river, however, the mayor refuses to pay him, so the piper lures the town’s children away, and they are never seen again.  Browning died in 1889.

I know there will be many more authors whom I haven’t mentioned, and I'm sorry if I've left out your favourite, but you’ll just have to forgive me.  Next time I’ll be going on to authors whose surnames begin with C.


Mystica said...

You've given a list to think on! thanks.

Joan Lennon said...

I read and read AND READ Mr Magnolia to my boys - we all loved it!

Helen Larder said...

What a great list! Thanks xxxx