Shirley Hughes turns 90 this week, and Dogger – the touching story of a toy dog lost (and, of course, eventually found) – is 40. The real Dogger, whose story first made Hughes’s name, sits comfortably on a box in the sitting room. A much-loved childhood companion of Shirley’s oldest son Ed (the journalist, Ed Vulliamy), Dogger has a few bald patches, but is as bright-eyed as Hughes herself. “He’s been on show in several museums,” she smiles, “but he has retired from the celebrity circuit now.”
They were both born in 1926, developed a mutual admiration and became two of Britain’s most loved figures, but they had never managed to meet until today.
Happily, Her Majesty the Queen and Winnie-the-Pooh have finally come face to face in a new adventure for the “Bear of Very Little Brain” published to celebrate their joint 90th birthday year.
The story, which is written by Jane Riordan and illustrated by Mark Burgess, after the style of the instantly recognisable drawings by E. H. Shepherd, makes reference to the fact that Christopher Robin had visited Buckingham Palace once before – when he went “down with Alice” to see the changing of the guard in a 1924 poem by Milne.
The Guardian prints some favourite Michael Rosen quotes to help celebrate his 70th birthday.
And a very happy 70th birthday, Mr Rosen, from ACHUKA
Happy 70th birthday to poetry and prose pro Michael Rosen – here are some of our favourite quotes to celebrate the big day
Got a burning questions for the author of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt? You can ask on Twitter #KidsAskMichaelRosen or email firstname.lastname@example.org and Michael will answer his favourites
With a string of celebrity endorsements from Britain’s best loved children’s writers, including Philip Pullman, Michael Morpurgo and Jacqueline Wilson, the success of The Phoenix marks the welcome return of the classic British comic. Launched in 2012, and rated ‘the second best comic in the world’ by Time Magazine, 30th October 2015 will be a defining moment for The Phoenix when it publishes Issue 200; the first independent comic in the country to reach that issue since 1969.
“The Phoenix Comic is such a treat. Each week, there are stories and illustrations to appeal to all tastes. The stories are funny, thrilling, colourful and a joy to read. It truly is a comic for everyone. Here’s to the next 200 issues and beyond. Happy reading!”
MALORIE BLACKMAN, Children’s Laureate 2013-2015
“I love the Phoenix. It stimulates the mind, sharpens the appetite, refreshes the soul. It celebrates that wonderful marriage between words and pictures that gave birth to the comics form at the very beginning of the twentieth century, and which has produced so much delight ever since. Its blend of excitement and wit and sheer raucous fun is exactly what readers need today and will go on needing as long as human beings love stories. Viva The Phoenix!!”
“Happy 200th issue Phoenix ..wishing you many many happy returns and hoping that today is as packed with fun and brilliance as … well as a copy of the Phoenix!”
FRANK COTTRELL BOYCE
“I don’t know if you can describe how I feel when I see a new Phoenix. It’s like there’s a big firework inside me and it goes off, and I just have to read it.”
MATHILDE, AGED 8
A milestone in the history of the British comic, The Phoenix 200th issue celebrations will include an array of exciting new comic strips, exclusive strips from young Phoenix readers, new partnerships and involvement from the most celebrated names in British publishing. As well as endorsements and support from children’s authors including Philip Pullman, Malorie Blackman and Frank Cottrell Boyce, issue 200 will feature an exclusive front cover created by Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell and a trail for a new strip launching in 2016 called Philip Pullman’s John Blake by Philip Pullman and Fred Fordham.
Alongside established favourites like Mega Robo Bros by Neill Cameron, The Adventures of Von Doogan by Lorenzo Etherington, Corpse Talk by Adam Murphy and Evil Emperor Penguin by Laura Ellen Anderson, Issue 200 of The Phoenix will feature two new series; a new action comedy called Battle Suit Bea about a girl who finds a robot-suit from Bunny Vs Monkey artist Jamie Smart; St. Georgia and the Ends of the World by Robin Boyden, a story set in a medieval world and featuring Georgia, a genius inventor girl plus two exclusive strips from young Phoenix readers, Jordan Vigay, 14 and Jonny Toons, 11 who are already creating their own comics inspired by The Phoenix. Their involvement will launch a new Phoenix Search for a Star competition where a young Phoenix reader will see their story published in the magazine in early 2016. Entries are open from Issue 200 and will close by the end of November. Further information will be available on www.thephoenixcomic.co.uk
Tom Fickling, Editor of The Phoenix says: “One of the most important things to us at The Phoenix is to encourage children to use their imaginations to create their own comic stories. Jordan and Jonny are both young talents who have a passion for making comics and I’ve lost count of the amazing number of things they’ve sent in or shown me. Issue 200 is a chance for us to support them and inspire other children to get creating!”
The Phoenix is also delighted to announce a new partnership with children’s charity READATHON, which encourages millions of children to read and raises money for children in hospital through its sponsored reading event in schools. Copies of The Phoenix will be inserted into Readathon schools kits with special subscription rates and a free prize draw that will include comic workshops and goody bags of Phoenix Presents books titles. In addition, The Phoenix will announce a designated comic artist who will take the Readathon in Residence role working with children in a hospital for one year.
Tom Fickling, Editor of THE PHOENIX says: “Readathon have a long and proud heritage of helping children to develop the reading habit. As raising literacy levels for all children is a central goal for The Phoenix I can’t think of a better partner for us to work with. Comics are a great tool for encouraging reluctant readers and research shows that reading leads to a happier and healthier life. So it is vital we establish the reading habit when we are young!”
Justine Daniels, Chief Executive of READATHON says: “We are delighted to be partnering with The Phoenix, a beacon in children’s comics who, like us, recognises there are all sorts of ways for children to start a life-long love of reading. At Readathon, we believe that reading should be fun and that all reading is of value. The Phoenix is a fantastic comic that sparks a child’s imagination and makes reading fun. We encourage pupils to read whatever they fancy when taking part in Readathon’s sponsored read, and for some children, comics are just the ticket.”
The 200th issue also sees The Phoenix being stocked in WH Smith for the first time and the launch of a loyalty scheme for those children who buy the comic weekly from independent booksellers and a twitter takeover by Phoenix artists using the #HappyPhoenix200 hashtag.
A birthday tribute to Richard Adams in the Irish Times
HarperCollins is to mark Michael Morpurgo’s 70th birthday with a month-long celebration in collaboration with Egmont, Macmillan, Random House, Templar and Walker.
“Morpurgo Month” in November will see 30 of Morpurgo’s 100 books highlighted in a “first-of-its-kind” promotion.
Schools, libraries and bookshops will be invited to focus, week by week, on the themes of Animals, War, Legends and Voyages, as represented in Morpurgo’s writing. One book will be highlighted each day of the month via social media.
English author and poet Edith Nesbit would have been 155 today and she has been honoured with a Google doodle.
She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children but her most famous work was the The Railway Children.
The illustrations of renowned childrens author Maurice Sendak, who would have turned 85 on Monday is the subject of Googles latest doodle.The doodle is an animation of the illustrations contained in some of his best-selling books such as Where the Wild Things Are, which has sold around 17 million copies worldwide, mostly in the US.Mysterious creatures are seen dancing around in a bizarre set of colourful outfits.