Goodbye, Judith

I was terribly sorry to learn of the death of the wonderful Judith Kerr, author and illustrator of the Mog books, When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit and sequels, and my eternal favourite, The Tiger who Came to Tea.

I never got to meet her, and I’m not sure what I would have done if I had. I’ve loved her books all my life- quite literally, since I was born the year that Tiger was published. I wish, however, I could have told her how that picture book led me to my path as children’s literature researcher. You see, this image from Tiger has stayed with me for probably 45 years:

Sophie, Mummy and Daddy walk down a street in the eveening. Car and bus lights are on, and a ginger striped cat is under a street light

Although I now know that Judith Kerr and her family lived in West London, and the bus is a red London bus, that street could have been the High Street of my small home town. The cafe that Sophie, Mummy and Daddy go to could have been the Golden Egg cafe where I used to eat egg and chips dowsed in salt and vinegar, with a slice of bread, and my Nana would let me make a chip butty. Therefore, adventures like a visit from a tiger could happen to me! Inclusivity, diversity and all children seeing themselves in stories is my passion, and what I research.

May Judith’s memory be a blessing to all who loved her and her books. Thank you, Mog and the Tiger, for my happy hours of reading your books to myself, to my classes and to my stepson, who loved Mog’s Christmas Calamity that we read it as a bedtime story for nearly 5 months.

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