Few people have contributed as much to children’s books as Helen Oxenbury. Best known for illustrating Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, she has also won the Kate Greenaway Medal twice (most recently for her wistful, contemporary take on Alice in Wonderland) and pioneered (arguably invented) picture board books for babies.
Tiny Tim is a quirky book of poems collected by Jill Bennett and published by Picture Lions in 1984. With stylistically varied contributions from Michael Rosen, James Reeve and Joan Aiken’s dad Conrad. It’s a great showcase for Oxenbury’s work.
Both words and pictures are inventive, witty and varied in style. Full page watercolours sit opposite simple characterful figures set against a plain white background, a trademark Oxenbury technique that works brilliantly with the text.
The collection ranges from silly to scary.
To the hilariously macabre.
And the downright bizarre.
If there was still any doubt remaining about the intentions of Oxenbury’s famous bear, look no further.
10 thoughts on “Tiny Tim by Helen Oxenbury”
Very interesting post that shows the style evolution of the illustrator. How at that time she had a big influence on the Eighties’ trends and John Burningham to develop later on and find her on voice and genuine style. Very inspiring post for illustrators. Thank you.
I’m looking for a poem whose first line is ‘Alice Morris had a voice that you could hardly hear ‘, which, along with these poems and ‘New shoes, New shoes’, I read to my children in the early eighties. I believed it was called the big book of poems but I haven’t been able to find it. Any suggestions please? ☺
Afraid I don’t know Lindsay, perhaps someone else will recognise the line?
The next lines are ‘Her parents found it quite beyond the range of human ear / she used it when she wanted things and then she’s moan “it’s mine” / oh Alice dear, that reedy voice is what we call a whine! / Whining does a funny trick of turning inside out / and stopping people giving you the thing you’re on about’
(I am also looking for this book and can’t find it!)
I have this book, The new shoes new shoes one is in it
The New Shoes one is on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCn_y0xb_aI&ab_channel=Angela
Thank you Ivy.. what a treat to see the illustration too.
I am also looking for this ‘Alice Morris’ poem, as my dad read it to me as a child and would like to pass it on (late 80’s) I can’t believe it’s not on the internet!?
I would love to find this poem too, I’ve looked everywhere but can’t find it – I think it was in a collection of poems about naughty children? Let me know if you have any luck!
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Just found it! It was in ‘A Child’s book of Manners’, by Helen Oxenbury and Fay Maschler.
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