NYRB News


Quentin Blake’s Birthday

This week marks the birthday of Quentin Blake, one of the most celebrated children’s book illustrators working today. Along with The New York Review Children’s classics, Uncle and Uncle Cleans Up by J.P. Martin, he illustrated more than three hundred books by such authors as Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, and Roald Dahl. He was also a prolific writer of books for children himself, and in 1999, was appointed the first Children’s Laureate of England. If you’re unfamiliar with Uncle, and think Babar is the only storybook elephant with a cult following, then you’re in for a treat. Dressed in his trademark purple gown, Quentin Blake’s illustrations bring to life a wild fictional universe and its presiding pachyderm—securing him accolades from children and adults for going on fifty years.

Perfect for reading aloud, pick up a copy of Uncle today and explore his world of Homeward, where the good guys always come out on top, and once a year, everybody, good and bad, sits down together for an enormous Christmas feast.

The books are very funny, installing a large cast of unlikely characters…in a world of mildly squiffy logic…And the illustrations are among Quentin Blake’s best work, scrawls and splotches that finally and unarguably distill character. But most important, this is political satire of a high order—Animal Farm for pre-teens, but wittier and more relevant to our own world. — The Independent (London)

I’ve never met a child who didn’t love Quentin Blake. — Daily Telegraph