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LONDON (AP) — British children’s author and illustrator Raymond Briggs, whose creations include “The Snowman” and “Fungus the Bogeyman,” has died. He was 88. © Provided by The Canadian Press
Briggs' family said he died Tuesday, and thanked staff at Royal Sussex County Hospital, near his home in southern England, “for their kind and thoughtful care of Raymond in his final weeks.”
“We know that Raymond’s books were loved by and touched millions of people around the world, who will be sad to hear this news,” the family said in a statement released Wednesday through Publisher Penguin Random House.
Born in London in 1934, Briggs studied art and briefly worked in advertising before starting a decades-long career as a children’s illustrator. He won a Kate Greenaway Medal — considered the Oscars of children’s publishing — in 1966 for illustrating a book of nursery rhymes, “The Mother Goose Treasury.”
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He tweaked a fairy-tale story with “Jim and the Beanstalk,” published in 1970, and won a second Greenaway award for “Father Christmas.” Published in 1973, it featured a grumpy but genial Santa Claus and — like many of Briggs' books — was adapted for television.
“Fungus the Bogeyman,” which charted a day in the life of a scary subterranean monster, disgusted and delighted children in equal measure after its publication in 1977.
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The next year came “The Snowman,” a bittersweet story in which a boy’s wintry creation magically comes to life. The wordless book has sold more than 5.5 million copies around the world, and a 1982 animated adaptation has been shown on British TV every Christmas since.
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Far more somber was 1982's “When the Wind Blows,” a story about the aftermath of a nuclear attack on Britain imbued with melancholy and anger. It was adapted as an animated film in 1986, with music by David Bowie and others.
Briggs’ anti-nuclear stance made him unpopular with members of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. So did “The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman,” a picture-book satire on the Falklands War.
Later works include “Ethel & Ernest,” a poignant graphic novel based on the lives of Briggs’ parents, published in 1998.
Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said Briggs was “unique” and “inspired generations of creators of picture books, graphic novels and animations.”
“Raymond’s books are picture masterpieces that address some of the fundamental questions of what it is to be human, speaking to both adults and children with a remarkable economy of words and illustrations,” she said.
Briggs family said he “lived a rich and full life" and felt lucky to have had both his late wife and his late partner of over 40 years in it.
Briggs wife, Jean, died in 1973 and his partner, Liz, died in 2015. He is survived by a stepson and stepdaughter and their families.
Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
How to make the perfect playlist for a loved one .
It seems that the days of painstakingly recording mixtapes and burning CDs are over, but the art of making a playlist for someone you love will never die! Indeed, it’s a beautiful and accessible gift to both construct and give to someone, and it will last the test of time better than any bath bomb set or tech trinkets you might otherwise buy. But the process is more than just throwing songs together at random—or at least it should be, since the careful thought behind each song, their order, and the presentation are what make it such a special gift. Intrigued? Click through to see the greatest tips on how to make the perfect mixtape/playlist.