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The Story of Janet and Allan Ahlberg...
Allan Ahlberg was born in Croydon in 1938, but grew up in Oldbury, near Birmingham. From the age of twelve, his dream was to be a writer. Before he fulfilled his ambition, he tried his hand at a variety of other jobs including postman, grave digger, plumber's mate and teacher.
Janet Hall was born in 1944 and spent her childhood years in Leicester. She went to Sunderland to train to be a teacher. Allan Ahlberg had enrolled on the same course.
They married in 1969. Janet decided against teaching as a career and turned instead to graphic design. While Allan worked full time as a teacher, Janet's first work was published. She began urging Allan to write a text for her to illustrate. Hard though it is to believe, their submissions to publishers were met with rejection slips. Then, in one week, Penguin took The Old Joke Book, A & C Black took The Vanishment of Thomas Tull and Heinemann took Burglar Bill. The Ahlbergs had arrived and there would be no looking back. In 1978, Janet's artwork for Each Peach Pear Plum won her the Kate Greenaway Medal. The following year there were celebrations for an altogether different reason -- the Ahlbergs' daughter, Jessica, was born.
By the 1980s, the Ahlbergs were big news, not just in Britain but all around the world. Their books were translated into twenty-one languages - from Catalan to Finnish; from Hebrew to Japanese. But it was The Jolly Postman, published in 1986, that brought Janet and Allan their greatest success. The book was five years in the making but the effort paid off with awards, including the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Emil/Kurt Maschler Award, and sales of over five Million copies worldwide for The Jolly Postman and its successors, The Jolly Christmas Postman and The Jolly Pocket Postman.
December 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.Good Reading for Christmas by Philippa Gregory... 'To the children in my life, I will give Peepo!, the great classic by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, where the England of the Second World War is seen through a baby’s eyes. I adore the memorable text and evocative wartime illustrations.' The Lovereading view... Fabulous illustrations, wonderful rhyming text with not a word out of place; this is a book that no nursery bookshelf can be without. This sturdy board book is guaranteed to have huge appeal with babies and young toddlers. It’s definitely the kind of book that will live long in the mind of children and parents for it’s a pleasure for parents to read and children to listen to or as they get older read for themselves.