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Judith Kerr - 1923-2019
July 2016 Judith Kerr wins a Book Trust Lifetime Achievement Award. She received the award at London Zoo, at a ceremony hosted by former Children’s Laureate and BookTrust President, Michael Morpurgo. Judith Kerr said: "I am honoured and delighted that I have been chosen to receive the BookTrust’s Lifetime Achievement Award. I thank them very much, and as the presentation is to be at London Zoo, I’ll also be able to thank the tigers in the tiger enclosure who started it all."
Judith Kerr was born in Berlin in 1923 but escaped from Hitler’s Germany with her parents and brother in 1933 when she was nine years old. Her father was a drama critic and distinguished writer whose books were burned by the Nazis, because he dared to speak out against the regime. The day after the family left Berlin, the authorities came to arrest them, and throughout the war there was a price on her father’s head. Judith and her family passed through Switzerland and France before finally arriving in England in 1936. Judith wrote about her experiences in her classic autobiographical story, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.
Judith won a scholarship to the Central School of Arts in 1945, and since then has worked as an artist, television scriptwriter and, for the past thirty years, as an author and illustrator of children’s books. Judith was married to the scriptwriter Nigel Kneale, who died in 2006, most famous for the hit sciâ€fi series Quatermass. Her son is the writer Matthew Kneale who won the Whitbread Book Award for The English Passengers. Judith lives in south west London.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea was Judith’s first picture book and was published in 1968. She wrote it after telling the story at bedtime to her daughter Tracey and son Matthew. Lady Antonia Fraser was one of the first people to review the book and called it, “a dazzling first book,” that would make children “scream with delicious pleasure at the dangerous naughtiness of the notion.” The book has become a classic and appeared in the Telegraph’s list of top children’s books of all time. It has sold over 5 million copies, and celebrated its 40th Anniversary in October 2008. The Tiger Who Came to Tea was recently made into a stage play written by David Wood and produced by Nick Brooke, which has toured the UK.
Emily Gravett on Judith Kerr:
'I read The Tiger Who Came to Tea when I was a child and loved it. I remember being obsessed with the bit where the tiger came and drank all the water in the tap. I think it was the domesticity of it, that this person was at home and that this could actually happen. It was so matter-of-fact. Nothing really happens but it's still somehow magical.
'Kerr keeps the text very simple, and the illustrations give you clues as to how you should read it. In her Mog books, you can look at Mog's face to see how shocked or dramatic the action is. He is just a funny cat, with a woebegone expression.'
A review for Mog the Forgetful Cat A classic story about a loveable cat who saves the day in an amazing way. Mog always seems to be in trouble. She is not especially clever and she is very forgetful with the result that she often ends up doing all kinds of things that she shouldn’t. In fact, she almost always seems to be in trouble. But when Mog disturbs a burglar stealing the silver she is suddenly the best cat in the world! A warm-hearted story, which captures the very special relationship of a family pet.
A life-enhancing book and even more amazing because this is the late author's own story, telling of her and her family's flight from Nazi Germany from their home and everything they knew to become refugees, first in Switzerland and then in Paris. - Michael Morpurgo This unforgettable story of a Jewish family fleeing Germany before the Second World War is now available in a special hardback celebratory 50th anniversary edition.
August 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2019 | Best-selling author and illustrator Judith Kerr tells a wonderfully warm and funny story about the very many things that go wrong when Tommy’s little sister Angie brings home the school rabbit. Snowflake is the star attraction in Angie’s class: he is at the centre of every subject in the curriculum and Angie adores him. But Tommy does not. (And he doesn’t adore Angie very much either…) Tommy recounts the terrible things that go wrong when Snowflake is in the house starting with him peeing on the trouser leg of a visiting famous actor. As far as Tommy is concerned it would be much better if Snowflake went back to school. But luckily for all Snowflake accidently brings Angie and Thomas’s family huge and unexpected good luck! A new family story full of all Judith Kerr’s hallmark good cheer, this will delight readers of all ages.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2019 | The much-loved author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea has written and illustrated a delightful new story that is perfect for all the family. When lonely Mr Cleghorn adopts Charlie, an orphaned seal, after a visit to the seaside he has no idea quite how difficult it will be to look after him! Luckily, his neighbour Miss Craig loves animals too and is more than willing to help him! Together, the pair do everything they can to keep the little seal pup happy. And keeping the little seal pup happy makes them very happy too in this touching and funny story. A new gem and a classic in the making from Judith Kerr to delight readers young and old.
Join everyone's favourite pet, and learn to count with MOG! Mog is the forgetful cat that everybody loves, and now you can learn to count with her in this brand new book for very young readers. This delightful book is the perfect introduction to counting and with its gorgeous illustrations and Mog's unique humour it's sure to remain a favourite for years to come. Perfect for very young readers from ages two and up.
Share in fifty years of magic... The classic story of Sophie and her extraordinary teatime guest is loved by millions of children and was first published fifty years ago. Now available in a new, cased board book format. A wonderful story, about believing in the unexpected and magical. When a tiger turns up on the doorstep one day, the little girl and her mother just welcome him right in and offer him tea. He sits neatly at the table and eats his way quietly through every scrap of food in the house and every drop of drink, too. Then, just as politely, he takes his leave. When Dad comes home, there’s nothing left for him so he takes the whole family out for supper. August 2013 Guest Editor, Lauren St John "I fell in love with the smiley, chubby tiger in Judith Kerr’s classic picturebook during one hot Zimbabwe summer when I had to read it four or five times a day to my niece. If it had been up to her I’d have read it even more frequently. Each time I got to the end, she pleaded for us to begin again. This is another wish fulfillment story, only for toddlers. A tiger turns up at the door and is invited in for tea by Sophie’s mum. It proceeds to eat its way through everything in the kitchen and pantry before departing with the same enigmatic smile. Sophie’s father turns up, graciously accepts that a fully-grown tiger has eaten his dinner and takes Sophie and her mum out for a meal. Pure genius."
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2017 Fans of the adventures of Judith Kerr’s Mog will adore this magical story about the best-selling author’s latest very special cat Katinka. Snowy white except for her stripy tail, Katinka is a homey cat providing companionship and entertainment for her elderly owner. But Katinka has a secret! Katinka’s sparkling magic lights up life for all her friends – and for her owner! Wonderful illustrations and the sprinkling of golden magic make this a book to treasure. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for November 2017 Christmas Dinner of Souls by Ross Montgomery Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers Katinka's Tail by Judith Kerr Lucky Button by Michael Morpurgo Pick A Pine Tree by Patricia Toht The Stone Bird by Jenny McCartney The Lion and the Unicorn and Other Hairy Tales by Jane Ray The Song from Somewhere Else by A. F. Harrold
This delightful book is the perfect introduction to the alphabet and with its gorgeous illustrations and Mog's unique humour it's sure to remain a favourite for years to come.
Mog is now firmly established as one of the true classic characters of children’s picture books, alongside Ardizzone’s Little Tim or Quentin Blake’s Mrs Armitage. This handsome treasury brings together six favourite stories including the very first, Mog the Forgetful Cat. Each story follows a recurring but satisfying pattern: Mog faces some disturbance to her routine that she doesn’t understand, causes chaos for the Thomas family as a result, but comes out on top without ever knowing why. There’s now a delightful period feel to the stories, in the clothes worn for example, but the family feelings depicted so perfectly are absolutely timeless. A perfect gift, and a lovely book to own. ~ Andrea Reece
The much-loved author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea has written and illustrated a delightful new story that is perfect for all the family. When lonely Mr Cleghorn adopts Charlie, an orphaned seal, after a visit to the seaside he has no idea quite how difficult it will be to look after him! Luckily, his neighbour Miss Craig loves animals too and is more than willing to help him! Together, the pair do everything they can to keep the little seal pup happy. And keeping the little seal pup happy makes them very happy too in this touching and funny story. A new gem and a classic in the making from Judith Kerr to delight readers young and old. One of our Books of the Year 2015- now out in with accompanying CD.
Mog is made for board books. Judith Kerr’s illustrations look particularly attractive on the square white boards, and toddlers will love these four little stories of ordinary, everyday adventures. Mog and the little boy have fun together playing in the house and the garden, and with Mog’s somewhat naughty kittens. Mog is the ideal companion for the very young, always ready for fun, and a comforting presence when one is needed. There’s lots to look at and talk about on every page and every single one of Mog’s facial expressions is a story in itself. ~ Andrea Reece