Axel Scheffler

Axel Scheffler (German b. 1957)

Axel Scheffler was born in 1957 in Hamburg, Germany. He went on from school to study History of Art at the University of Hamburg – but he didn’t like the course and decided to leave. He then moved to England to study illustration at the Bath Academy of Art. After graduating with a first class degree, Axel moved to London where he began illustrating for a variety of English and German advertising companies. His first commission was from Faber to illustrate The Piemakers by Helen Cresswell and The Bottle Rabbit by Bernard McCabe. In 1989, Walker asked Axel to illustrate a text by Jon Blake, You’re a Hero, Daley B.

A writer called Julia Donaldson was also writing songs for Playdays at this time and her song A Squash and a Squeeze (reissued to celebrate 10 years of the award winning partnership in June 2003) was commissioned to be a picture book. Axel Scheffler was recommended as an illustrator for the text and an award-winning team was created. Their next book, The Gruffalo, was published in March 1999 and has already become a modern classic, selling more than 2 million copies worldwide and translated into over 20 languages. It was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal, and it won the 1999 Smarties Gold Medal Award for picture books and the 2000 Blue Peter Award for The Best Book to Read Aloud. It was followed by Monkey Puzzle, also nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal, and Room on the Broom was published September 2001 and also won the 2002 Blue Peter Award for The Best Illustrated Book to Read Aloud. Axel Scheffler has achieved worldwide acclaim for his humorous illustrations, and his books have been translated into over 29 languages. He has enjoyed particular success in his award-winning picture book collaborations with Julia Donaldson, but is also the best-selling illustrator of novelty books such as The Bedtime Bear.