The Snowman illustrator dies at 88

August 11, 2022 2:37 pm

[Source: BBC]

Author-illustrator Raymond Briggs, best-known for his 1978 classic The Snowman, has died at the age of 88.

His death was confirmed by his family, who said he “was much loved and will be deeply missed”.

“We know that Raymond’s books were loved by and touched millions of people around the world, who will be sad to hear this news,” they said, in a statement on Wednesday.

Article continues after advertisement

The Snowman was turned into a Bafta TV award-winning animated TV film in 1982.

Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said: “Raymond’s books are picture masterpieces that address some of the fundamental questions of what it is to be human, speaking to both adults and children with a remarkable economy of words and illustrations.”

Briggs’ original wordless children’s picture book, The Snowman, finished the runner-up for the Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year’s best children’s book illustration by a British writer.

It has gone on to sell more than 5.5m copies in various formats around the world.

The TV film adaptation, which also received an Oscar nomination for best animated short film, told the story of a young boy, waking up after a heavy snowfall and building a large snowman who later magically comes to life.

It was first broadcast on Boxing Day 1982, Channel 4’s inaugural year, and has been shown almost every Christmas since.

The film, directed by Dianne Jackson and produced by John Coates, was wordless apart from the hit song taken from it, Howard Blake’s Walking in the Air, sung by St Paul’s Cathedral choirboy Peter Auty.

A recorded version performed by Welsh choirboy Aled Jones reached the UK top five in 1985.

Jones reacted to the news of Briggs’ death on his Classic FM radio show on Wednesday, telling listeners: “What a legacy he leaves behind. “His books have touched millions of people all around the world, and what a debt of gratitude I owe to his greatest creation of all,” he added. “Thank you, Raymond.”

Children’s authors Michael Rosen and Cressida Cowell both also paid tribute to Briggs online.

Rosen, who wrote We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, tweeted the late writer was “fantastic”. While How To Train Your Dragon author Cowell said: “His books brought so much joy and inspired so many, touching, hilarious and heartbreaking work.”