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Shirley was born in West Kirby, near Liverpool, and studied fashion and dress design at Liverpool Art School, before continuing her studies at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford. She then embarked on a career as a freelance illustrator in London, where she still lives today. She illustrated other writers' work, including Noel Streatfeild, Alison Uttley, Ian Seraillier, Margaret Mahy and notably Dorothy Edwards's My Naughty Little Sister series. Shirley began to write and draw her own picture books when her children were young. Her first book - Lucy and Tom's Day - was published in 1960, and she followed it with, among others, Dogger and the Alfie series. Shirley Hughes has won the Other Award, the Eleanor Farjeon Award, and the Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration twice, for Dogger in 1977 and for Ella's Big Chance in 2003. In 2007 Dogger was voted the public's favourite Greenaway winner of all time. Shirley received an OBE in 1999 for services to Children's Literature, and a CBE in 2017. She is the first recipient of Booktrust's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Shirley Hughes and Alfie are back with this beautiful festive story with Alfie and his family celebrating Christmas. From the opening of the advent calendar, writing Christmas cards, choosing a Christmas tree to all the joyful things they share on the big day itself (including the not so joyful search for last minute batteries). The book has a wonderfully gentle feel to it and explores the importance of family and tradition at this most exciting time of year. Shirley Hughes’ illustrations are instantly recognisable and filled with colour and light; they have a timeless feel and are a pleasure to look at throughout the small hardback book. As always she has a wonderful ability to capture just the right emotion and feeling within each and every illustration. An absolute delight, this will be a wonderful book to share with excited young ones in the run up to Christmas and is sure to become a favourite. ~ Shelley Fallows The Good Book Guide Review. A special Christmas story is perfect to share every year and Alfie’s Christmas sees Alfie and Annie Rose preparing from the big day, choosing secret presents and waking up too early. (Ages 2–5) ~ Fiona Lafferty
Filled with humour and Shirley Hughes' deft touch, this is a book for young readers to tackle by themselves, as well as a delight to read aloud. It’s moving and inspirational on how to cope with a problem situation. Reissued as a special 40th anniversary hardback this is a classic for every bookshelf and it will strike a chord with adults and children everywhere.