Thursday, January 19, 2017

Babette Cole R.I.P.

Obituary Note: Babette Cole - Shelf Awareness

English children's author and illustrator Babette Cole, who was best known for Princess Smartypants (1986), "a feminist retelling of a traditional fairy tale romance," died January 14, the Bookseller reported. She was 67. Her many books include Mummy Laid an Egg!, The Smelly Book and The Trouble With Mum.

Ron Johns, owner of several of bookshops--including the Falmouth Bookseller and the Padstow Bookseller--said Cole was a "delightful person" and a "comic genius." Johns, who was also her publisher at Mabecron Books (which released The Wild West Country Tale of James Rabbit and the Giggleberries in 2014), added: "In some ways she was as mad as a box of frogs but always very professional. She always submitted her artwork on time. She was completely irreverent and loved challenging authority."

Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Random House Children's, which published the original Princess Smartypants, told the Bookseller that Cole was an "irrepressible force in children's picture book publishing with her witty and anarchic stories and gave children and adults a way to talk about otherwise tricky subjects, through her brave, stereotype-defying humor. The children's book world will be a less colorful place without her."

Anne McNeil, senior publisher at Hodder Children's Books, which published Princess Smartypants and the Missing Princes and the upcoming Princess Smartypants and the Fairy Geek Mothers, said she was "shocked and saddened" by the news of Cole's death: "Her passion and talent as a children's book writer and illustrator will be much missed. She was, in particular, a real leader in developing a more open, humorous and child-friendly way to talking to children about the facts of life in accessible picture-book form. It's difficult to comprehend the loss of someone who was so quintessentially full of life. Our thoughts are with Babette's family and friends."

No comments: