Sunday, 14 January 2018

A Host of Heavenly Hs by Lynne Benton

Almost all my H authors, it turns out, are Author/Illustrators writing for young children, though I hadn't realised that when I made my list.  I want to start with

PAT HUTCHINS, who sadly died just before Christmas.  She wrote and illustrated over 40 books for young children, but her most famous is probably “Rosie’s Walk”, published in 1968. In this book only 32 words tell the simple story of Rosie the hen who takes a walk round the farmyard.  However, the illustrations show a fox stalking her but being foiled at every turn, so that Rosie returns to her home unscathed and unaware of the danger she has been in.  Many of Pat Hutchins' stories, such as “Titch” and “Where’s the Baby?” contained strong family themes, as did her longer books, including “The House that Sailed Away” and “Stop that Bus!”

TED HUGHES is probably mainly known as a poet, but generations of children were introduced to him via his stories for children, most particularly his science fiction story “The Iron Man”, published in 1968 (and subsequently read on “Jackanory” by Tom Baker.)  This is the story of a man made of iron who is misunderstood by the people among whom he has come to live, except for Hogarth, the boy who wants to help him, and eventually the Iron Man brings lasting peace to the earth.  Ted Hughes died in 1998.

KATHLEEN HALE is best-remembered for her series of books about “Orlando, the Marmalade Cat”.  The first of these was published in the late 1930s, though Orlando's popularity extended well beyond that, and the last in the series was published in 1972. The stories contained Kathleen’s quirky wit, and were all about adventure, friendship and family life.  She was awarded the OBE in 1976 and died in 2000 at the age of 101.

RUSSELL HOBAN was born in Pennsylvania, USA, in 1925, and has written many books for children and adults.  Probably his best-known stories are about the little badger, Frances, whose character and exploits were based on his own children.  “Bedtime for Frances” was published in 1960, and was followed by five sequels.  In 1967 he wrote a darker story for older children called “The Mouse and His Child”, shortly before the family moved to London.  On his divorce from his illustrator wife Lilian, the rest of the family returned to the US, but Russell remained in London for the rest of his life, writing for adults as well as for children.  He died in 2011.

SHIRLEY HUGHES is one of the best-known names in books for young children.  Born in West Kirby in 1927, she trained as an artist and began her career by illustrating books for writers such as Dorothy Edwards (My Naughty Little Sister) and Noel Streatfeild (The Bell Family) before beginning to write and illustrate her own stories.  She has won the Kate Greenaway medal twice for her delightful illustrations, once for “Dogger”, published in 1977, and once for “Ella’s Big Chance” in 2003, but possibly her best-loved books are her stories about Alfie and his little sister Anne-Rose.  She was awarded the CBE in 2017 for services to children’s literature.

COLIN AND JACQUI HAWKINS have created many idiosyncratic children’s books whose impish humour appeals to children and their parents alike.  They both trained in the graphic arts, and their books have an enduring appeal.  Many of their books involve their readers in learning activities, but with so much fun surrounding the lessons that children are unaware they are learning.  Their books have been translated into many different languages.

JANE HISSEY is another writer/illustrator who has written many books for young children about “Old Bear and Friends”, which subsequently became the basis for a BAFTA winning series for children’s television.  The original Old Bear toy was given to her as a child by her grandmother, and became the inspiration for these books.  She lives in Sussex.

Next time I’ll be combining the Is and Js, as there aren't too many of either.


Penny Dolan said...

Enjoying your monthly parade of so many favourite titles.

Lynne Benton said...

Thanks, Penny.

Helen Larder said...

Thanks, Lynne xxxx

Mystica said...

Interesting post.

Andrew Preston said...

A number of years ago, I did some work on a TV series, 'Jam and Jerusalem'. It was filmed in North Tawton, Devon, where Ted Hughes had lived for many years. One of the scenes was set inside a church. During a take, an aircraft flew loudly overhead. This prompted an mmediate... "Cut..." In the pause before the next take, one of the more regulars told me a little story. During a previous episode, filming was repeatedly disturbed by a local resident mowing her lawn with her motor mower. This became a bit of a problem, particularly as the mowing seemed not to take place during breaks in filming. Eventually, one of the production staff spoke with the resident. Widow Mrs Hughes. A financial transaction took place, and the mowing stopped.

Lynne Benton said...

Well well. Thanks for this interesting insight, Andrew.