Judith Kerr's Creatures: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr by Judith Kerr

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Judith Kerr's Creatures: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr by Judith Kerr

Category: Autobiography
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Judith's own story, told with humour and honesty - and her art. It's a gem of a book to treasure. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: June 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0007513215

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In children's literature there are some authors whom you know are not just reliable, but always impressive. One of those names is Judith Kerr. For decades she's been delighting our children (and grandchildren) but it still came as something of a surprise to discover that she would be ninety in June 2013. To celebrate this, Harper Collins have published Creatures in which Judith tells not just her own story but that of the creatures - the characters in her books and her family - who have contributed to her inspirational life. It is, though, far more than just an autobiography with a marvellous collection of paintings, drawings and memorabilia.

Judith Kerr seems so quintessentially British that it comes as something of a shock to realise that she was born in Berlin, but had to leave, along with her mother and brother, after her father - the noted drama critic, Alfred Kerr, had criticised the Nazis. He had managed to escape just days earlier and the family were reunited in Switzerland, then moved to Paris and eventually arrived in England, where Kerr would eventually become a naturalised British citizen. There's a photograph of the family as a frontispiece to the book and the happiness of the children shines out.

The other point which shines out is that Judith had an enormous artistic talent from an early age. On the face of it this book should be quite a speedy read as there are a lot of illustrations compared to text, but - be warned - you will lose yourself in the illustrations, some of which Judith's mother thought to bring with her when the family fled Germany. There's a wealth of detail even in the early pictures along with a wonderful ability to capture movement. It's worth pointing out too that Harper Collins have not stinted on producing this book - it's printed on high-quality, glossy paper which shows off the illustrations to best advantage. It's a book to enjoy and to treasure.

There's all the background to her iconic books such as Mog and The Tiger Who Came to Tea along with some wonderful illustrations and book covers. When I first looked at this book I wondered about the target audience, given that it's published by Harper Collins Children's Books - but the answer to that it simple: anyone who enjoys a good story or loves looking at gorgeous pictures will enjoy it. You might buy it because it will make you nostalgic for childhood - but you'll keep it because it's a gem. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For another well-written book about art and family, you might enjoy The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal.

Buy Judith Kerr's Creatures: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr by Judith Kerr at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Judith Kerr's Creatures: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr by Judith Kerr at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Judith Kerr's Creatures: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr by Judith Kerr at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Judith Kerr's Creatures: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr by Judith Kerr at Amazon.com.


Booklists.jpg Judith Kerr's Creatures: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Judith Kerr by Judith Kerr is in the Top Ten Autobiographies and Biographies of 2013.

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