Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Elusive Es and Fascinating Fs - by Lynne Benton

The only reason Es are elusive is because I could find only two children's authors whose surnames begin with E (though I'm sure someone will come up with others I've missed.)  So this month I've decided to combine Es with Fs, of which there are a few more.

DOROTHY EDWARDS is probably best-known for her series of books about “My Naughty Little Sister” (illustrated by Shirley Hughes.)  She dreamt up these stories to keep her daughter quiet whilst on a family holiday in 1950, basing the character on her younger sister, Phyllis, and went on to write  five books about her naughty little sister, the last one in 1971.  Although slightly dated these days, the stories are still funny, and some of the words she used, such as her description of the four-year-old as coming back from the shop “all draggy and moany” are still spot-on!

EDWARD EAGER was the only other E author I could find.   He was born in the US, and in the 50s he wrote several books for children, introducing magic into the lives of ordinary children as E. Nesbit had done in England half a century earlier.  His first book, “Half-Magic”, published in 1954, about cousins who, while on holiday together, stumble into magical doings.  It was a great success, so he wrote six further books in the series.

 Now, on to the Fs...

ANNE FINE is a well-published author who writes for adults as well as children, but it is for her children’s books that she is best-known.  She has won the Carnegie medal twice (for “Flour Babies” and “Goggle-Eyes”) and became the second ever Children’s Laureate in 2003.  In the same year she received an OBE and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.  “Goggle-Eyes” was made into a television series in the 1990s, and “Madame Doubtfire” was made into a film (called “Mrs. Doubtfire”, with Robin Williams).  Her books tackle many of the problems faced by modern children, such as step-parents in “Goggle-Eyes”, the responsibilities of looking after a baby in “Flour Babies” and gender differences in “Bill’s New Frock”.

ANNE FRANK is famous for one book only – her diary.  But Anne was only 13 when she wrote it, hidden away from the Nazis in a secret annexe in Amsterdam during WW2.  She was Jewish, and as such the target of Hitler’s terrible regime, and her diary, published after her death in Auschwitz in March 1945, has become one of the most famous accounts written during the time.  The Diary of a Young Girl has sold over 25 million copies world-wide, and it continues to bring to life Anne's extraordinary courage and struggle throughout her ordeal.

VIVIAN FRENCH has written over 250 books: picture book texts, novels, plays, and non-fiction for children and young adults, including the picture book Oliver's Vegetables (1995) and "The Tiara Club"series of chapter books illustrated by Sarah Gibb (from 2005), which have sold more than three million copies. Another series, "Tales from the Five Kingdoms", has been described as "hilarious adventures with wicked witches, trolls, bats and fairy-tale magic" (Books for Keeps) and the Sunday Telegraph has called French "a sublime story-teller". Her picture book, "The Most Wonderful Thing in the World" (2015) illustrated by Angela Barrett, has received universal acclaim.  She lives in Edinburgh.

PENELOPE FARMER has written many books for children, but probably her best-known is “Charlotte Sometimes”, first published in 1969.  “Falling asleep on her first day at Boarding school, Charlotte wakes up to find that the girl in the bed next to her is not the person who was there the evening before.”  This is the start of a thoughtful and dreamlike time-slip adventure.  She lives in Westerham, Kent.

MICHAEL FOREMAN is a prolific writer and illustrator of books for children.  He has frequently worked with such writers as Michael Morpurgo and Terry Jones, but in 1989 he wrote “War Boy”, an illustrated autobiographical memoir, filled with memorable tales from WW2, which won the Kate Greenaway medal for illustration (his second.)  This was followed by “War Game” about WW1, and then by many other children's books about other subjects.  He lives in London.

ELEANOR FARJEON, who died in 1965, is now best-known for the hymn “Morning has Broken”, for which she wrote the words.  However, she also wrote many other poems and books for children, and in 1955 and 56 she won both the Carnegie medal and the Hans Andersen medal for “The Little Bookroom”, a collection of 27 of her stories for children with illustrations by Edward Ardizzone.

I hope you will all find some old favourites here, as well as, possibly, some new ones.  Next month I'll be writing about some Glorious Gs.


Helen Larder said...

Thanks again, Lynne xxxx

Abbeybufo said...

There's Elizabeth Enright, too - the Melendy family series - but about the same vintage as Eager, and also from US. More recent is Canadian Sarah Ellis ... and do look up Nancy Farmer to ad to your Fs

Penny Dolan said...

Your list certainly starts me thinking ... Thanks, Lynne.