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Fiona French was born in Bath. She was taught by illustrator Charles Keeping at Croydon College of Art and worked as an assistant to the artist Bridget Riley from 1968 to 1973. Her first picture book, Jack of Hearts, was published in 1968. She won the Greenaway Medal in 1986 for Snow White in New York.
Since then she has written and illustrated other brilliantly coloured and imaginatively conceived picture-books including Anancy and Mr Dry-Bone and Little Inchkin, many of which remain in print after several decades. She lives, and paints, in Norfolk.
Photo credit: Claire Tait
Although the original tale of the wild wolf and proud girl is known to have a sad ending this has been retold for this version giving a hopeful outcome. Wild Wolf is the guardian spirit to his people, wise in knowing that people can be very proud and cruel in their actions. When Proud Girl refuses many suitors one, Bravest Warrior, seeks revenge by making her fall in love with a creature built from ice and scraps.As Proud Girl follows Ice Man, she is separated from all she knows, until Ice Man melts in the sun. Proud Girl might also perish, except for the care of the spirit wolf who helps keep her warm until Bravest Warrior finds her and keeps her alive, ultimately winning her hand, though they had both gone through many changes.A simple but very tough story of revenge, pride and forgiveness told in bold pictures with bright, vibrant colours. Each double spread has few words and big illustrations with bold blocks of colour filling the page. The wolf has an almost hypnotic stare, you could imagine him as a truly great guardian spirit in a harsh natural world. A moral fable for our times.
This delightful trickster tale based on characters from traditional Caribbean and West African folk-tales is brought to vivid life with vibrant illustrations. Poor Anancy and rich Mr Dry-Bone both want to marry Miss Louise, but she wants to marry the man who can make her laugh. She does not laugh at Mr Dry-Bone's conjuring tricks and acrobatics so Anancy decides to ask the animals for help in winning her over.
This is the tale of Snow White, transposed to New York in the 1920s. Snow White's wicked stepmother uses her position of influence in the city's underworld to contract the killing of Snow White. But the hired gun cannot shoot Snow White and abandons her instead to wander the streets. She stumbles into a club where the seven jazz-men take pity on her and she joins their band. A reporter who hears her sing propels her into the headlines . . . but her fame puts her once again in the sights of her evil stepmother. She is poisoned with a cocktail cherry. A shocked city mourns the death of the beautiful and talented Snow White but as her coffin is carried up the church steps by the grief-stricken jazz-men, Snow White's eyes open and her gaze is met by the reporter. They fall in love and live happily ever after. Fiona French's iconic re-imagining of a classic fairy tale, with stunning Art Deco illustrations, won the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1986.