British children’s authors pay tribute to ‘fantastic’ Raymond Briggs

The influential writer and illustrator has died at the age of 88.
The influential writer and illustrator has died at the age of 88. The influential writer and illustrator has died at the age of 88.

Children’s authors Michael Rosen and Cressida Cowell have led tributes to The Snowman creator Raymond Briggs following his death.

The author and illustrator, who also wrote Father Christmas, Fungus The Bogeyman and When The Wind Blows, died on Tuesday morning at the age of 88, his family announced.

Former Children’s Laureate Rosen, who wrote We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, tweeted: “Raymond Briggs… RIP xxxx. You are fantastic…”

How To Train Your Dragon author and fellow former Children’s Laureate Cowell tweeted: “Deeply sad to hear of the death of Raymond Briggs.

“What a magnificent legacy he leaves, from his iconic Father Christmas and the Snowman to the terrifying Where The Wind Blows.

“His books brought so much joy and inspired so many, touching, hilarious and heartbreaking work. RIP.”

British author Lara Maiklem, who worked with Briggs, tweeted alongside a picture of his illustration of Fungus The Bogeyman: “So sad to hear about Raymond Briggs this morning.

“A huge fan since I was a child, I had the great fortune of working with him a few years ago. Grumpy and difficult, he was nonetheless a genius.

“Nothing is permanent but woe.”

Stand-up comedian and Mock The Week regular Angela Barnes said: “Anyone that knows me knows how much I love the brilliantly satirical When The Wind Blows, the book and film, despite the recurring nightmares they provide.

“And of course no childhood is complete without The Snowman or Fungus The Bogeyman. RIP Raymond Briggs. I adore your work.”

Poet and author Salena Godden hailed Briggs’ 1982 graphic novel When the Wind Blows, about a nuclear attack on Britain by the Soviet Union from the viewpoint of a retired couple.

She tweeted: “When this was first published and read it I felt understood. I was a kid but here was an adult eloquently voicing my teenage concerns and greatest fears, one of my biggest fears was that the people will be lied to and killed in their beds. Visionary. Rest in power!”

The official Twitter account of The Snowman tweeted: “It’s with great sadness that we share the passing of Raymond Briggs.

“Raymond’s best known work is The Snowman, a pioneering picture book, a radical and beautiful innovation: a picture book without words.”

Book-seller Waterstones said its staff were “deeply saddened” to hear the news and described Briggs as “a fearless innovator and true original in his field”.

A tweet added: “From Fungus The Bogeyman to Father Christmas, Where The Wind Blows to the iconic The Snowman, he will live on in these books that have enchanted us all for decades.”

Diana Gerald, chief executive of BookTrust, said: “Everyone at BookTrust is devastated to hear the news about Raymond Briggs. The author and illustrator of The Snowman, Fungus the Bogeyman and so many other wonderful books have shaped the childhoods of generations of children, and inspired so many families to find the joy of sharing stories together.

“Raymond had an illustrious career and won The BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He was unashamed to tackle life’s tough challenges through his books in a natural and engaging way, enabling children to feel less alone.

“He will live on in his iconic books, which have brought so much joy to so many, and we are so grateful that he chose to share his incredible gifts with us.”