Hughes, Shirley 1927–

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HUGHES, Shirley 1927–

PERSONAL: Born July 16, 1927 (some sources say 1929), in Hoylake, near Liverpool, England; daughter of Thomas James and Kathleen (Dowling) Hughes; married John Sebastian Papendiek Vulliamy (an architect), 1952; children: two sons, one daughter. Education: Attended Liverpool Art School and Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts, Oxford University. Hobbies and other interests: Looking at paintings, dressmaking.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Random House Children's Books, 61-63 Uxbridge Rd., London W5 5SA, England.

CAREER: Author and illustrator of books for children, editor. Visiting tutor in illustration, Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts, Oxford University, Oxford, England. Lecturer in colleges, universities, and libraries and at conferences on children's literature; also appears regularly as a speaker to children. Member of Registrar's Advisory Committee of Public Lending Right, 1984–88, and Library and Information Services Council, 1989–92.

MEMBER: Society of Authors (member of management committee, 1983–86); Children's Writers and Illustrators Group (chairperson, 1994–96).

AWARDS, HONORS: Honor Book, Kate Greenaway Medal, British Library Association, 1968, for Flutes and Cymbals, edited by Leonard Clark; Spring Book Festival Award, 1971, for The Three Toymakers by Ursula Moray Williams; Esther Glen Award, 1973, for The First Margaret Mahy Story Book by Margaret Mahy; commended designation, Kate Greenaway Medal, 1975, and Other Award, Children's Book Bulletin, and award from Children's Rights Workshop, both 1976, all for Helpers; Little, Brown Canadian Award, Little, Brown, 1977, for The Snailman by Brenda Sivers; Kate Greenaway Medal, 1977, for Dogger; Eleanor Farjeon Award, Children's Book Circle, 1984; runner-up, Kurt Maschler Award, 1985, for Chips and Jessie; Honor List, Horn Book, 1986, for Bathwater's Hot; Parent's Choice Award (story book), 1989, for Big Alfie and Annie Rose Story Book; named honorary fellow, British Library Association, 1997; Highly Commended designation, Kate Greenaway Medal, 1998, for The Lion and the Unicorn; Kate Greenaway Medal, 2003, for Ella's Big Chance; named to Order of the British Empire, 1999; honorary doctor of letters from University of East Anglia and University of Liverpool, both 2004; honorary fellowship, Liverpool John Moores University, 2004.


(Compiler) Mother and Child Treasury, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy, Collins (London, England), 1998.

A Life Drawing (memoir), Bodley Head (London, England), 2002.

A Brush with the Past: The Years That Changed Our Lives, Bodley Head (London, England), 2005.


The Trouble with Jack, Bodley Head (London, England), 1970.

Sally's Secret, Bodley Head (London, England), 1973, Merrimack Book Service, 1980.

Helpers, Bodley Head (London, England), 1975, published as George the Babysitter, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1977.

Dogger, Mulberry (New York, NY), 1977, published as David and Dog, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1978.

It's Too Frightening for Me!, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1977, published as Haunted House, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1978.

Moving Molly, Bodley Head (London, England), 1978, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1979.

Clothes, Merrimack Book Service, 1979.

Up and Up (wordless book), Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1979.

(Editor) Over the Moon: A Book of Sayings (maxims), Merrimack Book Service, 1980.

Chips and Jessie, Bodley Head (London, England), 1985, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1986.

Another Helping of Chips, Bodley Head (London, England), 1986, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1987.

Out and About, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1988.

Stories by Firelight, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1993.

Enchantment in the Garden, Bodley Head (London, England), 1996, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1997.

The Lion and the Unicorn, Bodley Head (London, England), 1998, DK Publications (New York, NY), 1999.

Let's Join In: Four Stories, Walker (London, England), 1998, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1999.

(Editor) Mother and Child Treasury, Collins (London, England), 1998.

Abel's Moon, DK Publications (New York, NY), 1999.

The Shirley Hughes Collection, Bodley Head (London, England), 2000.

Things I Like: First Rhymes and Stories, Walker (London, England), 2001.

Ella's Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella, Bodley Head (London, England), 2003, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.

Olly and Me, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Hughes's books have been translated into Japanese, Swedish, Danish, and Welsh.


Lucy and Tom's Day, Scott (New York, NY), 1960.

Lucy and Tom Go to School, Gollancz (London, England), 1973.

Lucy and Tom at the Seaside, Gollancz (London, England), 1976.

Lucy and Tom's Christmas, Gollancz (London, England), 1981, reprinted, 2002, Viking Kestrel (New York, NY), 1986.

Lucy and Tom's ABC (also see below), Gollancz (London, England), 1984, Viking Kestrel (New York, NY), 1986.

Lucy and Tom's 1, 2, 3 (also see below), Viking Kestrel (New York, NY), 1987.

Lucy and Tom's World (omnibus), Gollancz (London, England), 1993.

Lucy and Tom's 1 2 3 and ABC, Ted Smart (London, England), 1999.


Here Comes Charlie Moon, Bodley Head (London, England), 1980, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1986.

Charlie Moon and the Big Bonanza Bust Up, Bodley Head (London, England), 1982, Merrimack Book Service, 1984.

The Charlie Moon Collection (omnibus; contains Here Comes Charlie Moon and Charlie Moon and the Big Bonanza Bust-Up), Red Fox (London, England), 1998.


Alfie Gets in First (also see below), Bodley Head (London, England), 1981, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1982.

Alfie's Feet (also see below), Bodley Head (London, England), 1982, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1984.

Alfie Gives a Hand (also see below), Bodley Head (London, England), 1983, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1983.

An Evening at Alfie's (also see below), Lothrop (New York, NY), 1984.

The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Story Book, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1989.

The Big Alfie Out of Doors Story Book, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1992.

The Alfie Treasury (omnibus; contains Alfie Gets in First, Alfie's Feet, Alfie Gives a Hand, and An Evening at Alfie's), Bodley Head (London, England), 1993, published as The Alfie Collection, Morrow (New York, NY), 1993, and All about Alfie, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1997.

Rhymes for Annie Rose (verse), Lothrop (New York, NY), 1995.

Alfie and the Birthday Surprise, Bodley Head (London, England), 1997, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1998.

Alfie's Alphabet, Bodley Head (London, England), 1997, published as Alfie's ABC, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1998.

Alfie's Numbers, Bodley Head (London, England), 1999, published as Alfie's 1 2 3, Lothrop (New York, NY), 2000.

Alfie Weather, Bodley Head (London, England), 2001.

Annie Rose Is My Little Sister, Bodley Head (London, England), 2002, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

Alfie Wins a Prize, Bodley Head (London, England), 2004.


Bathwater's Hot, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1985, reprinted, Walker (London, England), 2000.

When We Went to the Park, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1985, Walker (London, England), 2000.

Noisy, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1985, Walker (London, England), 2000.

All Shapes and Sizes, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1986.

Colors, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1986.

Two Shoes, New Shoes, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1986.

The Nursery Collection, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1993.

Bouncing, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1993.

Giving, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1993.

Hiding, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1994.

Chatting, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1994.

Being Together, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1997.

Playing, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1997.

Helping, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1999.

Keeping Busy, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1999.


Angel Mae (also see below), Lothrop (New York, NY), 1989.

The Big Concrete Lorry (also see below), Walker (London, England), 1989, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1990.

The Snow Lady (also see below), Lothrop (New York, NY), 1990.

Wheels (also see below), Lothrop (New York, NY), 1991.

Tales of Trotter Street (omnibus; contains Angel Mae, The Big Concrete Lorry, The Snow Lady, and Wheels), Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1997.


E. H. Lang, The Curious Adventures of Tabby, Barnes (New York, NY), 1959.

Hans Christian Andersen, Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales, retold by Elizabeth Jean Robertson, Blackie (London, England), 1961, shortened edition published by Pan (London, England), 1974, Schocken (New York, NY), 1979.

Barbara Softly, Place Mill, Macmillan (London, England), 1962, Collins (London, England), 1981.

Helen Morgan, Meet Mary Kate, Faber (London, England), 1963, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1985.

Nina Bawden, The Witch's Daughter, Gollancz (London, England), 1966, Chivers (Bath, England), 1988.

Barbara Ireson, editor, The Faber Book of Nursery Stories, Faber (London, England), 1966, reprinted, 1984.

Margaret Storey, The Smallest Doll, Faber (London, England), 1966.

Donald Bisset, Little Bears Pony, Benn (London, England), 1966.

Helen Morgan, Mary Kate and the Jumble Bear: And Other Stories, Faber (London, England), 1967, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1982.

Margaret Joyce Baker, Porterhouse Major, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1967.

Sara and Stephen Corrin, editors, Stories for Six-Year-Olds, Faber (London, England), 1967, Watts (New York, NY), 1969, revised version published as Stories for Six-Year-Olds and Other Young Readers, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1976.

Margaret MacPherson, The New Tenants, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1968.

Helen Morgan, Mrs. Pinny and the Blowing Day, Faber (London, England), 1968, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1991.

Elizabeth Cheatham Walton, Voices in the Fog, Abelard-Schuman (New York, NY), 1968.

Ursula Moray Williams, A Crown for a Queen, Meredith (New York, NY), 1968.

Ruth Sawyer, Roller Skates, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1968.

Mabel Esther Allan, The Wood Street Secret, Methuen (London, England), 1968, Abelard-Schuman (New York, NY), 1970.

Margaret J. Baker, Porterhouse Major, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1969.

Irma Chilton, Goldie, Hamilton (London, England), 1969.

Leonard Clark, Flutes and Cymbals, Crowell (New York, NY), 1969.

Helen Morgan, Mrs. Pinny and the Sudden Snow, Faber (London, England), 1969.

Sara and Stephen Corrin, editors, Stories for Seven-Year-Olds, Watts (New York, NY), 1969.

Helen Griffiths, Moshie Cat: The True Adventures of a Mallorquin Kitten, Hutchinson (London, England), 1969, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1970.

Ruth Ainsworth, The Ruth Ainsworth Book, Watts (New York, NY), 1970.

Mabel Esther Allan, The Wood Street Group, Methuen (London, England), 1970.

Hans Christian Andersen, More Fairy Tales, retold by Elizabeth Jean Robertson, Blackie (London, England), 1970, published as More Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales, Pan (London, England), 1976.

Helen Cresswell, Rainbow Pavement, Benn (London, England), 1970.

Helen Axford Morgan, Satchkin Patchkin, Smith (Philadelphia, PA), 1970.

Helen Morgan, Mary Kate and the School Bus: And Other Stories, Faber (London, England), 1970, reprinted, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1985.

Mary Stewart, The Little Broomstick, Brockhampton (Leicester, England), 1971, reprinted, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2001.

Mabel Esther Allan, The Wood Street Rivals, Methuen (London, England), 1971.

Frances Margaret Fox, The Little Cat That Could Not Sleep, Faber (London, England), 1971.

Barbara Sleigh, The Smell of Privet, Hutchinson (London, England), 1971.

Helen Griffiths, Federico, Hutchinson (London, England), 1971.

Sara and Stephen Corrin, editors, Stories for Eight-Year-Olds and Other Young Readers, Faber (Boston, MA), 1971, published as Stories for Eight-Year-Olds, 1989.

Helen Cresswell, A Day on Big O, Benn (London, England), 1971.

Robina Beckles Willson, Dancing Day, Benn (London, England), 1971.

Charles Perrault, Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper, Walck (New York, NY), 1971.

Ursula Moray Williams, The Three Toymakers, Nelson (Camden, NJ), 1971.

Helen Morgan, Mother Farthing's Luck, Faber (London, England), 1971.

Jo Rice, Robbie's Mob, World's Work (Tadworth, England), 1971.

Helen Morgan, Mrs. Pinny and the Salty Sea Day, Faber (London, England), 1972.

Helen Morgan, Mary Kate, Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1972.

Mary Stewart, The Little Broomstick, Morrow (New York, NY), 1972.

Ursula Moray Williams, Malkin's Mountain, Nelson (New York, NY), 1972, revised edition, Hamilton (London, England), 1976.

Margaret Mahy, The First Margaret Mahy Story Book, Dent (London, England), 1972.

Mary Cockett, Rolling On, Methuen (London, England), 1972.

Jenny Overton, The Thirteen Days of Christmas, Faber (London, England), 1972, Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1974.

Margaret Kornitzer, The Hollywell Family, Bodley Head (London, England), 1973.

Sara and Stephen Corrin, editors, Stories for Five-Year-Olds and Other Young Readers, Faber (London, England), 1973.

Mabel Esther Allan, The Wood Street Helpers, Methuen (London, England), 1973.

Margaret Storey, The Family Tree, Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1973.

Ruth Ainsworth, Another Lucky Dip, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1973.

Nina Bawdin, Squib, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1973.

Sara and Stephin Corrin, editors, Stories for Under Fives, Faber (London, England), 1974.

Joan Drake, Miss Hendy's House, Brockhampton (Leicester, England), 1974.

Alison Farthing, The Gauntlet Fair, Chatto and Windus (London, England), 1974.

Jean Sutcliff, Jacko, and Other Stories, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1974.

Ruth Ainsworth, The Phantom Fisherboy: Tales of Mystery and Magic, Deutsch (London, England), 1974.

Mabel Esther Allan, Away from Wood Street, Methuen (London, England), 1975.

Donald Bisset, Hazy Mountain, Kestrel (Harmondsworth, England), 1975.

Marjorie Lloyd, Fell Farm Campers, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1975.

Margaret Mahy, The Third Margaret Mahy Story Book, Dent (London, England), 1975.

Mabel Esther Allan, Fiona on the Fourteenth Floor, Dent (London, England), 1976.

Ruth Tomalin, The Snake Crook, Faber (London, England), 1976.

Noel Streatfeild, New Town: A Story about the Bell Family, White Lion (London, England), 1976.

Noel Streatfeild, The Painted Garden: A Story of a Holiday in Hollywood, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1976.

Winifred Finlay, Tattercoats, and Other Folk Tales, Kay and Ward (London, England), 1976, Harvey House (New York, NY), 1977.

May Byron, J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan and Wendy (retelling), Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1976, reprinted, 1995.

Helen Cresswell, Donkey Days, Benn (London, England), 1977.

Alison M. Abel, compiler, Make Hay While the Sun Shines: A Book of Proverbs, Faber (London, England), 1977.

Helen Young, A Throne for Sesame, Deutsch (London, England), 1977.

Sara and Stephen Corrin, editors, More Stories for Seven-Year-Olds and Other Young Readers, Faber (Boston, MA), 1978.

Nancy Northcote, Pottle Pig, Kay and Ward (London, England), 1978.

Ruth Ainsworth, The Phantom Carousel, and Other Ghostly Tales, Follett (Chicago, IL), 1978.

Oliver G. Selfridge, Trouble with Dragons, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1978.

Brenda Sivers, The Snailman, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1978.

Alison Uttley, From Spring to Spring: Stories of the Four Seasons, Faber (London, England), 1978.

Sara and Stephen Corrin, editors, Stories for Nine-Year-Olds and Other Young Readers, Faber (Boston, MA), 1979.

Ursula Moray Williams, Bogwoppit, Beaver (London, England), 1980.

Mary Welfare, Witchdust, Murray (London, England), 1980.

Ruth Ainsworth, The Pirate Ship: And Other Stories, Heinemann (London, England), 1980.

Rikki Cate, A Cat's Tale, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1982.

Barbara Ireson, editor, The Faber Book of Nursery Stories, Faber (Boston, MA), 1984.

Margaret Mahy, Mahy Magic: A Collection of the Most Magical Stories from the Margaret Mahy Story Books, Dent (London, England), 1986.

Margaret Mahy, The Horrible Story and Others, Dent (London, England), 1987.

Noel Streatfeild, The Bell Family, Swift (Bath, England), 1988.

Margaret Mahy, The Boy Who Bounced and Other Magic Tales, Puffin (London, England), 1988.

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, Viking Kestrel (New York, NY), 1989.

Margaret Mahy, Chocolate Pudding and Other Stories, Puffin (London, England), 1989.

Penelope Leach, The Baby Pack, Cape (London, England), 1990.

Alison Uttley, Rainbow Tales, Young Piper, 1991.

Margaret Mahy, The Girl with the Green Ear: Stories about Magic in Nature, Knopf (New York, NY), 1992.

Edith Nesbit, The Railway Children, Holt (New York, NY), 1994.

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, Puffin (London, England), 1994.

Helen Morgan, Meet Mary Kate and Other Stories (omnibus), Faber (London, England), 2000.

Also illustrator of The Hill War, written by Olivia Fitzroy.


My Naughty Little Sister, Methuen (London, England), 1962, reprinted, Egmont (London, England), 2002.

My Naught Little Sister's Friends, Methuen (London, England), 1962, reprinted, Egmont (London, England), 2002.

When My Naughty Little Sister Was Good, Methuen (London, England), 1968, reprinted, 1989.

All about My Naughty Little Sister, Methuen (London, England), 1969, reprinted, 1992.

More Naughty Little Sister Stories, Methuen (London, England), 1970, reprinted, Egmont (London, England), 2002.

My Naughty Little Sister and Bad Harrry, Methuen (London, England), 1974, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1981, reprinted, Mammoth (London, England), 1990.

My Naughty Little Sister Goes Fishing, Methuen (London, England), 1976.

My Naughty Little Sister and Bad Harry's Rabbit, Methuen (London, England), 1977.

My Naughty Little Sister at the Fair, Methuen (London, England), 1979.

My Naughty Little Sister Storybook, Clarion (New York, NY), 1991.

The Complete My Naughty Little Sister, Methuen (London, England), 1997.

My Naughty Little Sister: Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration, Egmont (London, England), 2002.

ADAPTATIONS: David and Dog was released as a filmstrip by Weston Woods Studios in 1979; the video "Shirley Hughes" was released as part of the "Author Bank" series in 1993; The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Storybook (combination book and tape pack) was released by Red Fox (London, England) in 1994; Here Comes Charlie Moon and It's Too Frightening for Me! were released on audio cassette by Chivers North America. Along with two other illustrators, Hughes was featured in the video Making Children's Picture Books, a production of the "Writers Talk: Ideas for Our Times" series by the Roland Collection.

SIDELIGHTS: An English author and illustrator who is both popular and prolific, Shirley Hughes is one of the most celebrated contemporary creators of children's literature. Lauded for her ability to describe a full range of childhood experiences with honesty, warmth, and humor, she characteristically depicts the world of preschoolers and early primary graders in picture and concept books. Most of her works outline real situations with which youngsters can identify, such as the first day of school, the fun of trying on new boots, and the loss of a favorite toy. In addition, Hughes is recognized for her sensitive depiction of the imaginative life of children, such as describing what happens when a little girl is given the gift of flight. Her protagonists, ordinary boys and girls who are usually rumpled and tousled, are sometimes naughty but always full of life. An artist who consistently depicts multicultural characters, Hughes is credited for placing her protagonists in recognizable, universal situations that accurately reflect urban and suburban neighborhoods. She is perhaps best known for her series of books about two respective sets of siblings, Lucy and Tom and Alfie and Annie Rose. Hughes is also well known for her "Nursery Collection" books, which introduce small children to acts such as giving and helping as well as to basic language and spatial and number concepts, and for her "Trotter Street" series of stories about a group of children and their families in a working-class London neighborhood. In addition to the books she has both written and illustrated, Hughes has provided the pictures for a wealth of titles, mostly for children, by such authors as Louisa May Alcott, Hans Christian Andersen, Honore de Balzac, Nina Bawden, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Helen Cresswell, Margaret Mahy, William Mayne, E. Nesbit, Charles Perrault, Mary Stewart, and Noel Streatfeild; she is also the illustrator of two series, the ten-volume "Naughty Little Sisters" stories by Dorothy Edwards and the five-volume "Wood Street" books by Mabel Esther Allan.

As an illustrator, Hughes's naturalistic style is considered immediately recognizable. She favors watercolor, black and white line, chalk, and gouache as mediums. Although she fills her pictures with activity and detail, Hughes is acknowledged for her ability to individualize her characters as well as for her delicate use of color. She is also lauded for her technical virtuosity and for her skills as a designer. Hughes often lays out her books so that each page leads readers to a surprise, and she is acclaimed for her inventive use of cartoon strips, speech balloons, margin drawings, double-page spreads, and endpapers. Her artistic approach is often praised for helping to ease the transition between picture books and chapter books for children.

As a literary stylist, Hughes uses understated but cadenced prose. Although she has been criticized for weak plots and stiff writing as well as for some stereotypical characterizations in her early works, Hughes is considered an author and artist whose engaging books present a joyful yet unromanticized view of childhood, reflect her understanding of and affection for children, and make something special out of the familiar. Chris Powling of Books for Keeps called her "our foremost chronicler of the life of ordinary households," while Marcus Crouch of the Junior Bookshelf claimed, "No one explores the comedy or ordinary life more accurately or more hilariously than Shirley Hughes." A reviewer in Kirkus Reviews proclaimed, "If childhood has an illustrator laureate, it must be Hughes; no one else captures emotions, concerns, and body language with such sensibility and affection." Writing in School Librarian, Margaret Meek stated, "I cannot imagine the last twenty-five years unenlightened by her artistry and good sense nor pay sufficient tribute to her devotion to children and books." Meek concluded in Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, "Two generations of readers, at least, have reason to be grateful to Shirley Hughes."

Born in Hoylake, a town near Liverpool, England, Hughes wrote in Fifth Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators, "I liked books as a child, but mostly for the pictures. I doted on comics, too, and was also much given to bursting out from the sitting-room curtains expecting applause." Hughes recalled that since there was not much entertainment available during wartime, "One had to combat boredom by making things up, an ideal breeding ground for creative endeavour." As a young girl, Hughes drew often and wrote stories and plays, often on the backs of envelopes. She also bicycled to a seaside cinema where she would sit during air raids and watch movies over and over until the all-clear signal was given.

While a student at Liverpool Art School, Hughes explored her theatrical bent. She worked as a dogsbody in a repertory company during a summer vacation, painting scenery and mending costumes. However, once she began attending the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts at Oxford University, she decided to focus on illustrating books. She settled in London to look for freelance work and in 1950 got her first commission, illustrating The Hill War by Olivia Fitzroy.

In 1952, Hughes married architect John Sebastian Papandiek Vulliamy. Hughes and John Vulliamy have three children, a girl and two boys. She wrote, "I started to write my own picture-books when my three children were very young, about the age to be read to." With the publication of Lucy and Tom's Day in 1960, Hughes began her career as an writer and artist for children; she also continues to integrate illustrated works by other authors with her own books.

Lucy and Tom's Day is a picture book that outlines the activities of two young siblings from morning until night; the children are shown at meals and at play, alone and with their parents. Writing in the School Librarian, G. Taylor commented that Lucy and Tom's Day "is a quite outstanding picture book" before concluding that "[e]very nursery school should have a copy of this book." Jane Ann Flynn of Social Education added that American children will "feel a real closeness to Lucy and Tom." The characters reappear in Lucy and Tom Go to School, a book that shows both the pleasant and unpleasant aspects of a child's initial introduction to school. Hughes depicts the delights of making new friends, playing dress-up, and listening to stories while showing the difficulties of saying goodbye to a parent and dealing with schoolyard bullies. Writing in Children's Book Review, Edward Hudson said that Hughes produced a book "which should render every mother with this approaching problem grateful to her"; Hudson concluded that Hughes has filled "a long-felt need in a superlative way with a book of universal appeal." Elizabeth Crawthorne of the School Librarian pronounced Lucy and Tom Go to School "from cover to cover a gem."

In additional books about Lucy and Tom, Hughes depicts the children at the beach during the summer and at Christmas during the winter. In a review of Lucy and Tom's Christmas, School Librarian reviewer Jill Bennett stated, "Warmth and homeliness are hallmarks of all Shirley Hughes's books, and this one positively overflows with both." Noting that the work is "one of the few titles [about Christmas] to touch on the religious aspects of the holiday," Judith Gloyer of School Library Journal concluded, "Like a special Christmas treat, this is a story chockful of delights."

Hughes has also published two concept books featuring Lucy and Tom. The first of these, Lucy and Tom's ABC, is an alphabet book in which the activities of the characters—going to the playground and the market, jumping on the furniture, having a bedtime story read to them—are used to illustrate the letters of the alphabet. Writing in the School Librarian, Gabrielle Maunder claimed, "This is an ABC but it works at so many levels that to discuss it merely in terms of the alphabet would be to miss the point." Lucy and Tom's 1, 2, 3 is a counting book that shows the characters preparing for their grandmother's birthday party; along the way, their cat has kittens. In her pictures, Hughes invites children to figure out when the next number occurs in sequence. Writing in Books for Keeps, Chris Powling said that Hughes's presentation is so fresh that "it takes a while to persuade yourself you won't be smudging the ink as you turn the pages." Marcus Crouch of Junior Bookshelf added that the text and pictures "both press home gently a lesson in counting, but you would hardly be aware that you were being 'got at.'"

Helpers, which was published in the United States as George the Babysitter, is one of Hughes's most critically acclaimed picture books. When their mother goes out, George, a long-haired teenager, comes to baby sit three small children. The book shows the events of the day, which starts off calmly but escalates into a flurry of activity in which the children "help" George clean the house and go shopping. Marcus Crouch of the Junior Bookshelf commented, "Among the small band of picture book artists who choose to depict the real world Shirley Hughes is supreme"; Crouch concluded that in Helpers the environment of the children "is seen through the eyes of a master." Margaret Meek, writing in School Librarian, added that Helpers "is a treasure of a book, not only for the young but for a sympathetic teenager who has shared this problem and would be glad to read about it."

Another of Hughes's most highly regarded works is Dogger, which was published in the United States as David and Dog. The title character is a small boy whose constant companion is a well-loved stuffed dog. When Dogger is lost and turns up on a jumble table at the local summer fair, David's older sister Bella sacrifices a raffle prize in a swap and retrieves David's beloved toy. Writing in Books for Your Children, Anne Wood stated, "There are few better books than this for two and three and four-year-olds entirely on the child's side." Barbara Ann Kyle of the Babbling Bookworm called Hughes "as good a storyteller as she is an artist"; she added that when David loses his companion "you really want to help him find it—and when he does but can't get it back, you REALLY empathize."

With Up and Up, Hughes creates a wordless picture book—a fantasy in which a little girl finds that she can fly after eating a huge chocolate egg—that is considered one of her finest works. Hughes shows the little girl's initial surprise and ultimate joy at her new ability, which allows her to fly around her town, causing mischief and having fun, before returning home for breakfast. Drawn in a comic-strip format that places an ivory tint over black-and-white pictures, Up and Up is generally considered a truly original work, one comparable in quality to such classic picture books as Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and The Snowman by Raymond Briggs. Calling Hughes "an illustrator who inspires affection as well as admiration," Aidan Chambers of Horn Book commented that she does the kind of illustrations "that make you smile because the artist so clearly loves people and possesses the best of all gifts, the ability to show what is extraordinary and absorbing about everyday life." Chambers concluded by saying that with Up and Up "I'm seven once again, slumped comfortably on the floor, utterly mesmerized by a book so filled with details of people, places, and events, all lorded over by a protagonist of such commanding personality and charm that I search each page for hours on end." A revised edition of Up and Up was published in the United States in 1986; this version restored the panoramic double-page spread of the little girl's town, drawn from an aerial view, that had appeared in the British edition.

Hughes creates one of her most popular characters with Alfie, a little boy who, throughout the series about him and his younger sister Annie Rose, grows from a well-meaning but sometimes rash four year old to a kind, sensible boy who is helpful to his family and friends. Evaluating the series, New York Times Book Review contributor Mary Gordon said, "To please a child, yet introduce him to beautiful things, the Alfie books are a happy solution," while Marcus Crouch of the Junior Bookshelf called Alfie "everyone's favourite little boy." In the initial volume of the series, Alfie Gets in First, Alfie runs into the house before his mother and sister and slams the door shut, inadvertently locking himself in. Although he is upset at first, Alfie climbs on a chair and opens the door to find a group of neighbors—including the milkman and a window cleaner with a long ladder—gathered outside; at the end of the story, everyone is invited for tea. School Library Journal contributor Joan W. Blos concluded that, as the start of a projected series, Alfie Gets in First is "an auspicious beginning by an accomplished author-artist."

In the next two books in the series, Alfie's Feet and Alfie Gives a Hand, Alfie enjoys a new pair of yellow Wellington boots and goes to a birthday party, where he gives up his security blanket so that he can hold the hand of his little friend Min. In her review of the latter work for Horn Book, Mary M. Burns maintained: "Honest, forthright, and engaging, the story—like its predecessors—is a gem, a successful blending of twentieth-century genre painting with a brisk, matter-of-fact text." In An Evening at Alfie's, the protagonist hears dripping in the house when his parents are away; he tells the babysitter, who sees the flood and calls for help, and comforts frightened Annie Rose. A critic in Kirkus Reviews commented that Hughes "so insinuates us into the scene, with her confiding storyteller's voice and her keenly characterized figures, her vibrantly furnished interior, that any small incident becomes an event."

In addition to individual stories about Alfie and Annie Rose, Hughes has published two collections that depict the characters in both prose and verse. The Big Alfie Out of Doors Story Book shows Alfie camping in his grandmother's garden and involved in escapades in the country and at the seaside. Writing in Books for Keeps, Trevor Dickinson called this work "a miracle of a family book…. All [of the stories] centre delicately, and with unfailingly benign touch, upon Alfie's growing grasp of the world around him." In The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Story Book, Hughes selects an indoor setting; in this work, Alfie helps Annie Rose learn to talk, acts as a pageboy in a wedding, and listens to his grandmother's reminiscences of when she was a little girl. Moira Small of Books for Keeps noted, "Every family or classroom with small children should have a copy of this lovely book."

Rhymes for Annie Rose is a collection of verses written from the viewpoint of popular toddler Annie Rose. The rhymes, which also feature big brother Alfie, reflect Annie Rose's inner and outer lives. Writing in School Library Journal, Sally R. Dow called the book a "welcome collection," while Hazel Rochman of Booklist noted the "wonderful domestic detail" of the pictures and stated that the words "have a physicalness and a beat that children will love."

Alfie and the Birthday Surprise revolves around the death of Smoky, the cat belonging to Alfie's neighbors, the McNallys; Alfie is proud to be asked to take care of Smoky's replacement, a kitten that is the surprise at Bob McNally's birthday party. Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books reviewer Pat Mathews commented, "It is extraordinary how expertly Hughes has crafted a collection of homely little story details into such a vivid set of particulars." A reviewer in Horn Book proclaimed, "If ever there was an alchemist, it's Shirley Hughes. Again and again she mines familiar plots and transforms them into pure gold. This time is no exception." In Annie Rose Is My Little Sister, Alfie talks forthrightly about what it is like to have a little sister—how annoying she can be sometimes, but also how good he is at knowing what she wants and cheering her up when she gets cranky. Annie Rose Is My Little Sister is a "loving book about family relationships," Judith Constantinides explained in School Library Journal, and, as a Kirkus Reviews critic wrote, it "model[s] an ideal but not unrealistic closeness."

As she did with her characters Lucy and Tom, Hughes puts Alfie and Annie Rose into concept books with Alfie's Alphabet, published in the United States as Alfie's ABC, and Alfie's Numbers, published in the United States as Alfie's 1 2 3. In the former book, each letter shows part of the children's environment, and as with the concept books about Lucy and Tom, young viewers are invited to locate the named items within the illustrations. School Library Journal contributor Shelley Woods called Alfie's ABC "a definite asset to concept-book collections," while Hazel Rochman of Booklist concluded, "Children will be drawn into the exuberant pictures and will pore over the loving, active details again and again. They will learn the alphabet and the joy of reading about themselves in a book." Alfie's 1 2 3 is notable, Laura Santoro wrote in School Library Journal, because "unlike most counting books, many numbers are given more than one page."

Hughes introduced another brother-and-sister pair in Olly and Me, about big sister Katie and her little brother. Rather than a straight-forward picture book, Olly and Me is instead comprised of a variety of prose poems, all written from Katie's perspective as she and Olly experience Katie's ballet class (which Olly crashes), a trip to the natural history museum, and other events in their lives. "This warm and cozy collection," as Wanda Meyers-Hines described it in School Library Journal, is "a treat." As always, Hughes's artwork for the book was highly praised by critics; "No one captures the body language, expressions, and slightly tousled look of young children quite like Shirley Hughes," Carolyn Phelan declared in her review of the book for Booklist.

Hughes's "Nursery Collection" of informational and board books for very young children is one of her most well-received series. The multivolume collection encompasses a wide variety of activities designed to introduce children to concepts that are considered distinctive in books of this type. Using the daily activities of preschool children as her context, Hughes introduces youngsters to such subjects as heat and cold, shapes and sizes, colors, bouncing, giving, hiding, and chatting. The series is noted for its charm, its sound educational basis, and its appeal to children. Writing in Booklist, Carolyn Phelan commented, "Hughes's understanding of preschool concerns and her captivating drawings of real-world children are what give these books their irresistible appeal." Heide Piehler, writing in School Library Journal, stated: "The success of these seemingly simple books is due to Hughes's ability to portray childhood concerns and behavior in a style that children recognize and appreciate."

Not all of Hughes's books are for the pre-school set. With her "Tales of Trotter Street" series, Hughes presents older children with a collection of realistic picture books about a group of black, white, and Asian children who live with their families on a London street. Assessing the omnibus volume Tales of Trotter Street in Books for Keeps, Judith Sharman stated, "These stories are beautifully crafted to work on every level, visually and through the story line. Sensitive use of characterisation and the sort of detail that encourages revisiting are matched with stories of universal appeal." Carolyn Phelan of Booklist added, "Few picture books capture the everyday lives of families as well as Shirley Hughes's 'Trotter Street' Books."

Ella's Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella, although still a picture book, is a highly sophisticated one that, as a Publishers Weekly contributor noted, "may prove daunting to a younger audience." The story updates the traditional Cinderella fairy tale for the flapper era of the 1920s, one of the first times in history when women began to think of themselves as "liberated." Ella Cinder's single father owns a dress shop, which is staffed by himself, Ella, and their assistant Buttons. Everything is wonderful until Mr. Cinders marries Madame Renee, who dominates him, overworks Ella, and sets her two daughters up as dress models. As in the traditional tale, a fairy godmother dresses Ella up and sends her to a ball, where she meets a handsome duke and then runs away, leaving her shoe behind. However, when the duke discovers that Ella is the girl he met and proposes marriage, Ella instead decides to marry Buttons, who has treated her well her entire life. The two leave Ella's father and step-mother behind, starting their own dress shop and presumably living happily ever after. "This self-empowered Cinderella makes for an interesting change of pace," Ilene Cooper wrote in Booklist, and a Kirkus Reviews contributor declared that "few illustrators could so stylishly dress up the tale of Cinderella with the dash and glitter of the roaring '20s" as well as Hughes.

Hughes is also the author of another picture book for older readers, The Lion and the Unicorn. Drawing on her own experiences of the Blitz as a child during World War II, Hughes writes about Lenny Levi, a Jewish boy who, like thousands of other children, was evacuated from London and sent to live in relative safety in the English countryside, away from the incessant German bombing of the city. Lenny is scared and homesick. He is worried about his father, who is a soldier, and his mother, who remained in London; and he does not like the other boys in his new town, who tease him about wetting the bed. But he eventually meets a returned soldier who was seriously wounded in the war, and from this man, Mick, Lenny learns how to have courage himself. The text is accompanied by "amazing narrative watercolors," as Hazel Rochman described them in Booklist, which "show Lenny's loneliness and how his quiet mentor helps him be brave." The book is "ambitious," thought a Publishers Weekly contributor, and Lenny is a "quietly appealing protagonist."

Aidan Chambers, writing in Horn Book, described Hughes as "essentially a dramatist." In the Fifth Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators, Hughes noted that she differs from other artists "by having a narrative turn of mind, with strong theatrical overtones. Designing a picture-book, after all, is like being a whole company of actors, producer, stage designer, and lighting manager, all in one. That's why it's so enjoyable." Writing in Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, Hughes added, "In conceiving a story, I tend to think in pictures rather than words, and the text develops out of these, like captions to a silent film." She continued, "My own books have grown out of real situations with which very small children can identify, perhaps even at an age before they can fully appreciate the tales. They are mostly set in a city back-ground—my own part of London, to be exact. The domestic details are very local and English, but I hope the themes are fairly universal." In an essay for Children's Books and Their Creators, Hughes concluded, "While I am working on a book, I am running on two tracks, controlling the technique (or trying to) and at the same time inhabiting my characters. It is important to build on detail, to beguile the reader with reassuring familiarity, but at the same time tell him or her something new with each story, to reveal just a little more about this imaginary but very 'real' world. All this is underpinned by making careful observations from life, keeping sketchbooks, cultivating an eye for a telling gesture, a figure in motion, the way people (especially children) group together when absorbed in a game or conversation. But in the end you go home and make it all up. There seems to be no limit to the possibilities offered by the pages of a picture book. It's an adventure without end."



Children's Books and Their Creators, edited by Anita Silvey, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1995.

Children's Literature Review, Volume 15, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1988, pp. 118-134.

Fifth Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators, edited by Sally Holmes Holtze, H. W. Wilson (New York, NY), 1983.

Powling, Chris, Shirley Hughes, Evans (London, England), 1999.

Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1995.


Artist, July, 1992, pp. 16-18.

Babbling Bookworm, March, 1979, Barbara Ann Kyle, review of Dogger, p. 1.

Booklist, May 1, 1993, Carolyn Phelan, review of Bouncing and Giving, p. 1603; August, 1995, Hazel Rochman, review of Rhymes for Annie Rose, p. 1952; February 1, 1997, Carolyn Phelan, review of Tales of Trotter Street, p. 946; August, 1998, Hazel Rochman, review of Alfie's ABC, p. 2000; April 1, 1999, Hazel Rochman, review of The Lion and the Unicorn, p. 1428; December 1, 1999, Hazel Rochman, review of Abel's Moon, p. 711; April 15, 2002, Hazel Rochman, Alfie's 1 2 3, p. 1552; March 1, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Annie Rose Is My Little Sister, p. 1201; June 1, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of Olly and Me, p. 1742; November 1, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of Ella's Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella, p. 490.

Bookseller, June 21, 2002, review of A Life Drawing, p. 35; July 5, 2002, "The Appeal of Alfie" (editorial), p. 24; July 5, 2002, Shirley Hughes, "A Life Drawing: Working First as an Illustrator and Then Going on to Create Her Own Picture Books, Shirley Hughes Is One of the Most Widely Recognized Names in the Children's Book World," p. 27; July 16, 2004, Caroline Horn, "Hughes Highlights Power of Illustration," p. 30.

Books for Keeps, May, 1987, Chris Powling, review of Lucy and Tom's 1, 2, 3, p. 27; November, 1990, Moira Small, review of The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Story Book, p. 6; May, 1992, Trevor Dickinson, review of The Big Alfie Out of Doors Story Book, p. 27; March, 1997, Judith Sharman, review of Tales of Trotter Street, p. 19; January, 1998, pp. 22-23.

Books for Your Children, spring, 1979, Anne Wood, "Cover Artist," p. 3.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 1998, Pat Mathews, review of Alfie and the Birthday Surprise, pp. 246-247.

Children's Book Review, December, 1973, Edward Hudson, review of Lucy and Tom Go to School, p. 170.

Horn Book, April, 1980, Aidan Chambers, "Letter from England: Hughes in Flight," pp. 211-214; June, 1984, Mary M. Burns, review of Alfie Gives a Hand, p. 320; May, 1998, review of Alfie and the Birthday Surprise, p. 333.

Junior Bookshelf, February, 1976, Marcus Crouch, review of Helpers, p. 16; December, 1985, Marcus Crouch, review of Chips and Jessie, pp. 258-259; August, 1987, Marcus Crouch, review of Lucy and Tom's 1, 2, 3, p. 159; December, 1988, Marcus Crouch, review of The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Story Book, p. 290.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 1985, review of An Evening at Alfie's, p. J6; May 15, 1993, review of Giving, p. 662; April 1, 1999, p. 534; January 15, 2003, review of Annie Rose Is My Little Sister, p. 142; April 15, 2004, review of Olly and Me, p. 395; October 1, 2004, review of Ella's Big Chance, p. 961.

New York Times Book Review, June 24, 1984, Mary Gordon, review of Alfie Gives a Hand, p. 33.

Publishers Weekly, May 3, 1999, review of The Lion and the Unicorn, p. 76; September 20, 1999, review of Abel's Moon, p. 88; May 3, 2004, review of Olly and Me, p. 191; August 9, 2004, "Carnegie, Greenaway Medals in England," p. 126.

School Librarian, March, 1961, G. Taylor, review of Lucy and Tom's Day, p. 363; June, 1974, Elizabeth Crawthorne, review of Lucy and Tom Go to School, p. 204; March, 1976, Margaret Meek, review of Helpers, p. 32; March, 1982, Jill Bennett, review of Lucy and Tom's Christmas, pp. 26-27; December, 1984, pp. 308-309, Gabrielle Maunder, review of Lucy and Tom's ABC, p. 336; November, 1988, pp. 123-125; November, 1989, Margaret Meek, review of The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Story Book, p. 133.

School Library Journal, March, 1982, Joan W. Blos, review of Alfie Gets in First, pp. 134-135; October, 1986, Judith Gloyer, "Celebrate the Season," p. 110; June, 1993, Heide Piehler, review of Bouncing and Giving, p. 77; September, 1995, Sally R. Dow, review of Rhymes for Annie Rose, p. 194; September, 1998, Shelley Woods, review of Alfie's ABC, p. 174; April, 1999, p. 99; May, 2000, Laura Santoro, review of Alfie's 1 2 3, p. 144; April, 2003, Judith Constantinides, review of Annie Rose Is My Little Sister, p. 122; May, 2004, Wanda Meyers-Hines, review of Olly and Me, p. 114.

Social Education, May, 1961, Jane Ann Flynn, review of Lucy and Tom's Day, p. 266.


National Museums Liverpool Web site, (February 27, 2005), "Shirley Hughes: Alfie, Dogger, and Friends."