Friday 29 June 2018

The Ahlbergs - favourites! Hilary Hawkes

June mustn't go by without remembering that it’s the birthday month of the amazing Allan Ahlberg.   

So Happy (albeit belated) 80th birthday Allan Ahlberg!

My children adored Janet and Allan’s gorgeous stories and illustrations when they were young and the books were part of the staple book diet in their primary classrooms. Everywhere we went – day trips, visits to grandparents, holidays – an Ahlberg book came with us. I’ve still got some of them – including a slightly worn out cassette tape of Burglar Bill!

Burglar Bill, The Jolly Postman series and Funny Bones are just two of a long, long list  of  books the pair created and, since Janet’s death from cancer in 1994, Allan has added countless more titles with other illustrators.

It’s partly the brilliantly imaginative, humourous style that made and still makes the Ahlberg stories so successful and popular. They must be jointly responsible for opening up the world of books and reading to thousands upon thousands of children. But you may be surprised to know that  Allan himself grew up in an almost bookless home. The Bucket is about his childhood in the 1940’s Black Country.

So before June is out let’s name our favourite Ahlberg books: mine include Each Peach, Pear, Plum and, of course, Burglar Bill. What about you?

2013 article about Allan Alhberg

Hilary Hawkes


Pippa Goodhart said...

My children grew up on Alan and Janet Ahlberg books too, and I know every word of Bye Bye Baby. 'There was once a baby who had no mummy', etc. Ah, wonderful!
When I took oldest daughter up to look at Newcastle as a possible university to apply for I used the excuse to do my first visit to Seven Stories. It had its Ahlberg exhibition on, and, seemingly, the only other person in the gallery was ... Alan Ahlberg! Did we dare accost him? No. And then he was in the cafe when we were. Did we say hello, we're also from Leicester and we love your books? No. But it all made us very happy.

Hilary Hawkes said...

How wonderful, Pippa. Thanks for sharing - the icing on the cake for your visit to the exhibition :)