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Working for The Spectator


Writing about the death of Michael Rosen's son
Quentin Blake Artist
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He had a beautiful little book called Crocodile Tears, Les larmes de crocodiles, and it was… it was in the shape… the… the crocodile was… was caught in Egypt and sent back to France in a box, a crocodile shaped box, and the book was a long shape like that. In a… in the shape of a box, with… with the stamps and labels on the outside; a very… beautiful thing. And… he also worked… he did… he did a very interesting book with Jacques Prévert, and… what is that book called? It's called des îles Baladar [sic] or something like that. Which… well, you will know… which… I bought some second hand copy, no, not second hand copies, copies outside his publishers, for… for sale, 50 years after it was originally published. But… François worked with Prévert, and all kinds of other writers… very, very… and he did some children's books, but it… it was not in a way the children's books so much as… as the advertising and the… and the magazine illustration and things like that, because he always did it… fearlessly in a way, you know, kind of… and invented something extraordinary, on the… on the… as it were, on the spur of the moment. And he was a very good painter, but strangely, I mean I think as… as an illustrator, or as a graphic artist, he was a genius really, because you couldn't… you couldn’t imagine what it was he was going to do, and it was so, kind of, instinct with life in it; that was very… inspiring.

Quentin Blake, well loved British writer and illustrator, is perhaps best known for bringing Roald Dahl's characters to life with his vibrant illustrations, and for becoming the first ever UK Children's Laureate. He has also written and illustrated his own books including Mr Magnolia which won the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Listeners: Ghislaine Kenyon

Ghislaine Kenyon is a freelance arts education consultant. She previously worked in gallery education including as Head of Learning at the Joint Education Department at Somerset House and Deputy Head of Education at the National Gallery’s Education Department. As well as directing the programme for schools there, she curated exhibitions such as the highly successful Tell Me a Picture with Quentin Blake, with whom she also co-curated an exhibition at the Petit Palais in Paris in 2005. At the National Gallery she was responsible for many initiatives such as Take Art, a programme working with 14 London hospitals, and the national Take One Picture scheme with primary schools. She has also put on several series of exhibition-related concerts. Ghislaine writes, broadcasts and lectures on the arts, arts education and the movement for arts in health. She is also a Board Member of the Museum of Illustration, the Handel House Museum and the Britten-Pears Foundation.

Tags: Crocodile Tears, Egypt, France, Lettre des îles Baladar, André François, Jacques Prévert

Duration: 2 minutes, 5 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008