I have to say, with no exaggeration, that I have been a great fan of this author for well over 20 years. I was lucky enough to meet her in the late 1990s, when she came to do an event for Bristol Libraries, talking to a large group of school children. It is one of my earliest experiences of an author event in a public library, but I think I have made up for it since then.
This link to an interview with the wonderful Jake Hope is a fascinating look at the author and her beautiful collection of work. https://www.cilip.org.uk/blogpost/1637344/354662/An-Interview-with-illustrator-Ruth-Brown
This latest book is a totally delightful re-working of the old counting rhyme that has been popular with young children for so many generations. We start out with ten small puppies of assorted varieties and through the book we count down, as one by one they are caught out by their adventurous behaviour. As you would expect, the text is in rhyme and I am delighted by the way that Ruth Brown has maintained the rhyming structure and yet has brought the language up to date. I love the way that the author has moved the action between different pages; the backgrounds range from the seaside to the park and also the various back gardens. We see the puppies playing with sticks, garden hoses, food bowls and even chasing butterflies, as well as being nipped by a crab at the seaside. This gives a superb opportunity for discussion with the children about their experiences with puppies, or they might not have had any contact but will be fascinated by the antics of those they see on the page.
Anyone who has ever come into contact with small dogs will recognize the body language that the author portrays in her illustrations. The images are full of energy and the excitement in life that young dogs have in abundance. The situations that they find themselves in is very believable and I am sure that most dog owners will have seen some of these hilarious events. The humour and the movement are elements that really stand out and make this a book that will become a favourite in years to come; both for reading to groups and as a book to enjoy with a child or grandchild.
I was recently looking through a folder of old newspaper cuttings and came across the one relating to Ruth’s visit to Bristol Libraries; it was in the “Bristol Observer” for Friday 13th November 1998. Ruth was there to help us launch the start of the “Bookstart” project in Bristol
Ruth Brown is the creator of some of Britain’s best loved children’s books. She was born in Devon and now lives in London and Kent. Ruth’s books are translated in many languages around the world, and she has won the Earthworm Award, the English Association Award, the Prix Sorcière and been shortlisted 3 times for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Scallywag Press
“Brown, whose exceptional draughtsmanship makes all her books a feast, visits a gallery with a difference in this picture book about cats and artists. A book to lead readers to 13 painters from Mondrian to Munch and Kahlo to Klimt.” Sunday Times Culture Magazine