As a child
As an adult
As an artist
Gorillas feature in many of Anthony’s books. He says, “I am fascinated by them and the contrast they represent – their huge strength and gentleness. They’re thought of as being very fierce creatures and they’re not.” Anthony’s illustrations also reveal his love of the Surrealist painters, whose pictures often depict strange, dreamlike scenes (look out for all the disguised bananas hidden in Anthony’s books!). When Anthony first has an idea for a picture book, he says, “it’s a strange combination of story and images. Deciding what will be illustrated on the pages of a book is like deciding on the scenes of a film.” Anthony has won many prizes for his work, including the Kate Greenaway Medal (twice) and the Kurt Maschler Award (three times). In 2000, he received the highest international honour for illustration, the Hans Christian Andersen Award, for his services to children’s literature – the first British illustrator to win the prize since 1956. You can view a fun video with Anthony at this link:
Things you didn’t know about Anthony Browne
1. When he was a boy he wanted to be a journalist, a cartoonist, or a boxer.
2. He was once asked to present a programme on children’s books, in a cage with some gorillas – but one gorilla bit him badly on the leg. It didn’t put him off them, but, he says “you wouldn’t catch me going into a cage with one again!”
3. He grew up in a pub and when he was little, would go into the bar, stand on a table and tell stories about a character he’d made up called Big Dum Tackle.
4. He wore short trousers until he was fifteen.
5. He thinks the character, Willy, is based on his own childhood.
6. When he was a boy, he wanted a real trumpet for his birthday, but he got a toy plastic one instead. He says his book, Gorilla, was partly based on that experience.
7. He loves rugby and played as a scrum-half for eighteen years.
8. His book The Tunnel was inspired by a very frightening tunnel he and his brother used to go down when they were boys.
9. When he was a medical artist, he would often eat his lunch in the mortuary.
10. He says he has never found the perfect pair of swimming shorts!