Spot’s first story was all about his Mum Sally’s search for the mischievous puppy under a series of flaps. Since then the world’s most loveable puppy has had 25 years of fun – he may be the oldest puppy on record but he remains young at heart.
Eric Hill created Spot for his two-year-old son Christopher as a bedtime story. This became the award-winning classic Where’s Spot? published in 1980, featuring the exciting lift-the-flap concept and bold artwork that has made Spot well known the world over.
Claim to Fame
50 million Spot books have been sold worldwide, 15 million books in the UK alone. Spot is read by children in more than 100 countries and has been translated into 65 languages. He is known as Spotty in Italian, Smot in Welsh and Dribbel in Dutch.
‘Many a child has clung to a cuddly toy, but few have had a Spot bought to cheer them up on the day their family moved from Monaco to London – as did Lady Isabella Hervey.’ ( Observer , 10 July 2005 )
The Gruffalo first appeared in the Deep Dark Wood in 1999 and has since roamed through 32 countries, occasionally changing his name (to ‘Grubzon’ in Croatian and ‘Goorgomgai’ in Afrikaans). In 2004 he produced a daughter, the Gruffalo’s Child.
Julia Donaldson created the Gruffalo because she couldn’t think of a rhyme for Tiger. The conception of the Gruffalo’s Child is shrouded in mystery, but there are rumours that the Gruffalo’s mate subsequently deserted him for another of the species.
Claim to Fame
The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child have sold millions and won prizes (Smarties, Blue Peter, British Book Awards), and the Gruffalo play has been on Broadway, but nothing can compare with the glory of receiving a mention on The Archers.
‘You’ll taste good on a slice of bread.’ (In French this is translated as‘Tu seras bon sur un lit d’artichaux.’ )
Thomas the Tank Engine
2005 is the 60th anniversary of Thomas & Friends™. The Thomas brand is now a global phenomenon with 300 licensees featuring Thomas on over 2,000 products from books to jelly shoes, from cross stitch patterns to egg cups.
The really useful engine was born in 1945 thanks to measles. As Reverend Awdry’s young son, Christopher, lay ill in bed, his father tried to cheer him up by making up stories about trains that spoke to each other and had adventures.
Claim to Fame
Over 80 million books have been sold worldwide since the Thomas stories were first published in 1945. Thomas products are sold in hundreds of countries around the world; he’s even on the shelves in Iceland where they don’t have any trains!
‘[The railways and the church] both had their heyday in the mid-nineteenth century; both own a great deal of Gothic-style architecture which is expensive to maintain; both are regularly assailed by critics; and both are firmly convinced that they are the best means of getting man to his ultimate destination.’ ( Rev. W Awdry )