It's My Birthday Cover Image

About the Author: Helen Oxenbury

Married to John Burningham

Growing up in Ipswich, England, Helen Oxenbury loved nothing more than drawing. As a teenager, she entered art school and basked in the pleasure of drawing, and nothing but drawing, all day. During vacations she helped out at the Ipswich Repertory Theatre workshop, mixing paints for set designers. It was there that she decided her future lay in theater design.

While studying costume design, however, Helen Oxenbury was told by a teacher, "This is hopeless, you know. You ought to go and do illustrations--you're much more interested in the character, and we don't know who's going to play the part!"

But sets and scenery, not books, remained Helen Oxenbury's preoccupation for several more years as she embarked on careers in theater, film, and TV. After marrying John Burningham, another of the world's most eminent children's book illustrators, and giving birth to their first child, at last she turned to illustrating children's books. "When I had babies," Helen Oxenbury says, "I wanted to be home with them and look for something to do there."

Today, Helen Oxenbury is among the most popular and critically acclaimed illustrators of her time. Her numerous books for children include the Greenaway Medal-winning ALICE'S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND and its companion, ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, both by Lewis Carroll; Smarties Book Prize-winning FARMER DUCK by Martin Waddell; SO MUCH by Trish Cooke; as well as her classic board books for babies. More recently, she collaborated with author Phyllis Root on the jubilant, no-nonsense tall tale BIG MOMMA MAKES THE WORLD. "As I read Phyllis's text, I imagined Big Momma as part Buddha, part housewife," she says. "It was intimidating to create a whole world, but very enjoyable."

And what does she love most about her work? Thinking up new ideas? Seeing the finished book? Not at all. For Helen, "The best part is when I think I know what I'm doing and I've completed a few drawings. In fact, when I get about a third of the way through, and I feel I'm on my way, then I'm happy. It's like reading a good book--you don't want it to end."

Helen Oxenbury and her husband make their home in London, where the illustrator works in a nearby studio. She is also an avid tennis player.

Other books by Helen Oxenbury

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Goodreads rating: 3.68

Paperback, Published in Aug 2010 by Walker & Company

ISBN10: 1844287882 | ISBN13: 9781844287888

Page count: 21

Includes a recipe for making your very own birthday cake!
Now in padded board book edition! It’s one lucky toddler’s birthday, and of course there must be a cake. So the child asks some animal friends to gather ingredients, one by one: the chicken an egg, the bear some flour, the cat the butter and milk, the pig a pinch of salt, the dog some sugar, and the monkey a bunch of cherries for the top. After they all share the fun of making the cake, it’s even more fun to eat it! Helen Oxenbury’s winsome illustrations and simple, repetitive text make this an ideal gift for the youngest of children.
Now in a padded board book edition! What could be better than sharing a birthday cake with the friends who helped to bake it?

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