John Burningham, author of children’s books, dies at 82
John Burningham, who wrote and illustrated scores of books that took generations of young children on fanciful journeys full of surprise and heart, died on Jan. 4 in London. He was 82.
His death was announced by his publisher, Penguin Random House Children’s, which did not specify a cause.
Francesca Dow, the publisher’s managing director, called him “a true original, a picture-book pioneer and an endlessly inventive creator of stories that could be by turns hilarious and comforting, shocking and playful.”
Burningham had quick success in the children’s book field: His first published book, “Borka: The Adventures of a Goose With No Feathers,” won the 1963 Kate Greenaway Medal, a British prize that recognizes outstanding children’s book illustration. The story involved a featherless goose who, left behind by her migrating siblings, finds a place in the world nonetheless.
He won the same prize in 1970 for “Mr. Gumpy’s Outing,” in which the title character, about to take his boat out on a river, accedes to requests from his children and a series of animals to come along, with cheerfully waterlogged results.
In his storytelling, he liked to start off quietly, then draw his young readers into the realm of imagination.