Book of the week: Portrait of a comic genius

31st October 2003 at 00:00

Raymond Briggs: Blooming Books
Words by Nicolette Jones
The Bodley Head pound;19.99

Raymond Briggs is on record as saying that, as a childless widower, he doesn't have a great knowledge of children - except his partner's grandchildren - he doesn't go into schools, and, above all, he hated to be given books when he was a child. (Hated to be given books! Set that in capital letters on a speech balloon with jagged edges.)

What irony then, that Briggs has created so many perfect presents that find their way into Christmas stockings and class libraries and engage with recipients of all ages: illustrated nursery rhymes, Father Christmas, The Snowman and The Bear for the youngest children; The Man and Ug: boy genius of the Stone Age, for youngsters old enough to relish banter and bathos; Fungus the Bogeyman, especially for bookworms; When the Wind Blows, The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman for the peacekeepers; Ethel and Ernest for budding social historians and their teachers and grandparents; and now there's Raymond Briggs: Blooming Books for anyone curious to know the intentions that lie behind the stories.

Read more in this week's TES Friday magazine

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today