Did you know that Alfie, that endearing little character created by Shirley Hughes in the 80′s, turns 30 this year?
I adore Alfie, actually all of Shirley Hughes’ work really. Dogger, which I have written about before on the blog, is one of those books that I can remember vividly from my childhood.
I was thrilled a year or so ago when I picked up a copy of The Alfie Treasury in an op shop in amazing condition for a couple of dollars. Ned has treasured it.
The reason that Alfie is endearing is because he is so like every pre school child. Children can relate to him as his stories are normal everyday occurrences in their lives. He gets new shoes, gets locked in the house, he gets babysat, goes to a birthday party and plays with his little sister, Annie Rose.
Shirley’s illustrations are comforting and homely. Her detail is delightful, there is always so much going on in each picture that you can pour over for hours and still see something new.
Each story has connections from another story. For example when Alfie is being babysat by Mrs MacNally’s Maureen his new yellow boots from the previous story Alfie’s Feet are sitting in the hall next to the stroller.
Our favourite Alfie story has to be Alfie Gets In First. Alfie and mum and Annie Rose are coming home from the shops. Annie Rose is tired, mum is flustered and Alfie runs through the front door banging it behind him leaving mum and Annie Rose on the front steps.
Alfie can’t reach the handle to open the door and soon the whole neighborhood is involved in trying the get the door open.
I love this story because I know how mum feels and how easily this could happen to us and Ned loves it for the same reason. He totally relates to Alfie’s predicament and we often talk about what it would be like if it did happen to us.
Last month children’s book museum, The Illustration Cupboard in London, had an exhibition to celebrate 30 years of Alfie.
Watch this clip of Shirley Hughes explaining some of the illustrations displayed in the exhibition – one of which is one of the illustrations from Alfie Get’s In First.
Happy birthday Alfie! We love you.
If you’d like some more Alfie then pop over to the website that publisher Random House UK have set up for the 30th anniversary. The website has some great colour and activity printables that are perfect for the school holidays.