"This slim volume, a reissue of a 1980 work, has seminal significance in the development of the graphic novel.
"British cartoonist Briggs’s renown rests mainly with his work for children (Fungus the Bogeyman, 2005, etc.). This graphic novel is plainly aimed at adults in its illustrated tale of a toilet cleaner, Jim Bloggs, whose innocence and imagination land
him in trouble, as he tries to conjure a richer future for himself and his wife. 'Something a bit more exciting…more adventurous…something with more of a challenge,' he daydreams as he scrubs and mops. 'There’s not much opportunity for self-
advancement in toilets.' So he begins daydreaming about being a war hero, or a famous painter, or an executive (whatever that is), before returning home to his wife, Hilda, who matches his innocence and hardly serves as a check on his imagination. She’
s ready to follow him to Texas, where he can be a cowboy and she’ll find work as a bar floozy ('Ooh, that would be nice,' says the middle-aged housewife. 'I hope I’m not too old.'), though neither of them seem to realize just how much it might cost
to costume themselves properly, let alone afford the fare overseas to the American Southwest. Jim then decides to become a modern day Robin Hood, robbing from the rich to give to the poor, yet all he can afford are a toy sword, rubber boots and a donkey
instead of a horse. Through a series of hilarious mishaps and misunderstandings, his life changes irrevocably, but not in the way that he’d planned.
"A short, sweet and meaningful volume."
You can see the cover of "The Fairy Tale Treasury" here:
(two Solved Mysteries - one is "The Elephant and the Bad Baby" and the other is "The Fairy Tale Treasury" - and I was the poster who solved the latter title! I was also the one who commented about the elephant's shoplifting and how no one scolds him for
Here's what I posted on his 80th birthday in 2014:
He won the 1966 and 1973 Kate Greenaway Medals and was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1984.
His work never fails to impress, to say the least. He's probably best known for "The Snowman," but I didn't see that until much later. I first saw his illustrations in the mid-1970s - they were in "The Fairy Tale Treasury," edited by Virginia Haviland,
plus "The Elephant and the Bad Baby," written by Elfrida Vipont, and, later, "Father Christmas."
I also found the book "When the Wind Blows" (about an old couple and a nuclear attack) at a yard sale.
From "Contemporary Authors":
...Father Christmas was one of Briggs's first original books to become widely popular. Instead of the usual jolly or saintly image of Saint Nick, Briggs presents a grumbling but dutiful old fellow with very human foibles. Not fond of winter, Father
Christmas dreams of a beach holiday and complains about "blooming chimneys" and "blooming soot." As Briggs observed in Junior Bookshelf, "I think the character of Father Christmas is Very much based on my father," who delivered milk early each morning. "
The jobs are similar and they both grumble a lot in a fairly humorous way." In the Guardian, Briggs described himself as a "miserable git," a fact that suggests that his depiction of "Santa Claus as an over-worked curmudgeon," as Guardian critic Nicholas
Wroe characterized Saint Nick, also works the illustrator's own personality into the story. Briggs also drew on his own past for details of Father Christmas's house and other aspects of his life, sometimes unconsciously. Thirty years after Father
Christmas was published, the characters were featured on stamps for the Royal Mail in the United Kingdom...
Not everyone loves his work. Canadian critic Michele Landsberg has complained his pictures are often misogynist - and regarding the pictures for Cinderella, I'm forced to agree. (You hardly see Cinderella at all - just the stepsisters, who are nasty.)