‘Shirley must have began the reading lives of so many millions’ | Books | Entertainment

The writer and illustrator, known for her much-loved Alfie series and picture book Dogger, passed away at home after a short illness on Friday.

War Horse author Sir Michael Morpurgo said: “We have all grown up with the stories and drawings of Shirley Hughes deep inside us. We’ve enjoyed them for ourselves, with our children and with our grandchildren.

“Shirley must have began the reading lives of so many millions.”

Writer Michael Rosen tweeted: “You’ve delighted and moved us for years and years and years and will go on doing so.”

Dogger, published in 1977 about a boy who loses his stuffed toy dog, won her the Kate Greenaway Medal for an illustrated children’s book.

In 2017 she said: “Dogger was a present to our son when he was two. His ears flopped over, but Dogger was pressed so lovingly against his owner’s face that one ear was pushed up, so I used him as a model.

“I was told it was too English to be popular abroad. However, it proved to be my big breakthrough and has been published in many languages all over the world.”

Born in West Kirby, the writer learned drawing and costume design at the Liverpool School of Art and studied fine art at Oxford’s Ruskin School of Art. Shirley illustrated around 200 children’s books and sold more than 10 million copies.

She got a CBE in 2017 for services to children’s literature after an OBE in 1999. Author Sir Philip Pullman said: “No other illustrator was ever loved as much.”

Shirley was married to architect John Vulliamy and had three children – Clara, Ed and Tom. The family said: “Shirley’s books are adored by generations of families and she is held in the highest esteem by her peers.”

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