John Burn­ing­ham, author of chil­dren’s books, dies at 82

Texarkana Gazette - - RECORDS / ADVCE -

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.

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