Emma Chichester Clark (1955-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1955, in London, England; present surname, Falloon); Education: Chelsea School of Art, B.A. (with honors), 1978; Royal College of Art, M.A. (with honors), 1983.
Agent—Laura Cecil, 17 Alwyne Villas, London N1, England.
Author, illustrator, and editor of children's books, 1983–. Worked in a design studio and as a freelance illustrator of newspapers, periodicals, and book jackets. Visiting lecturer at Middlesex Polytechnic and City and Guilds School of Art, 1984-86. Exhibitions: Exhibitor at the Thumb Gallery, England, 1984 and 1987.
Chelsea Arts Club.
Mother Goose Award, 1988, for Listen to This; Golden Duck Award, 1999, for Noah and the Space Ark; Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist, 1999, for I Love You, Blue Kangaroo!; Kurt Maschler Award shortlist, 1999, for Elf Hill: Tales from Hans Christian Andersen.
SELF-ILLUSTRATED PICTURE BOOKS
Catch That Hat!, Bodley Head (London, England), 1988, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.
The Story of Horrible Hilda and Henry, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1988.
Myrtle, Tertle, and Gertle, Bodley Head (London, England), 1989.
The Bouncing Dinosaur, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1990.
Tea with Aunt Augusta, Methuen (London, England), 1991, published as Lunch with Aunt Augusta, Dial (New York), 1992.
Miss Bilberry's New House, Methuen (London, England), 1993, published as Across the Blue Mountains, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1993.
Little Miss Muffet Counts to Ten, Andersen (London, England), 1997, published as Little Miss Muffet's Count-Along Surprise, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.
More!, Andersen (London, England), 1998, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.
I Love You, Blue Kangaroo!, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.
Follow My Leader, Andersen (London, England), 1999.
Where Are You, Blue Kangaroo?, Andersen (London, England), 2000, Random House (New York, NY), 2001.
It Was You, Blue Kangaroo!, Andersen (London, England), 2001, Random House (New York, NY), 2002.
No More Kissing!, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2002.
What Shall We Do, Blue Kangaroo?, Random House (New York, NY), 2003.
Mimi's Book of Opposites, Charlesbridge (Watertown, MA), 2003.
Mimi's Book of Counting, Charlesbridge (Watertown, MA), 2003.
Follow the Leader!, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Up in Heaven, Andersen (London, England), 2003, Random House (New York, NY), 2004.
Merry Christmas to You, Blue Kangaroo!, Random House (New York, NY), 2004.
No More Teasing, Andersen (London, England), 2005.
Several of Clark's books have been translated into Spanish.
Laura Cecil, compiler, Listen to This, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1987.
Janet Lunn, Shadow in Hawthorn Bay, Walker (London, England), 1988.
Laura Cecil, compiler, Stuff and Nonsense, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1989.
Primrose Lockwood, Cissy Lavender, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1989.
James Reeves, Ragged Robin: Poems from A to Z, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.
Margaret Ryan, Fat Witch Rides Again, Methuen (London, England), 1990.
Laura Cecil, compiler, Boo! Stories to Make You Jump, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1990.
Jane Rohmer, Rock-a-Bye Baby, 1990.
Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach, Unwin Hyman (London, England), 1990.
(And compiler) I Never Saw a Purple Cow and Other Nonsense Rhymes (anthology), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.
Pat Thomson, Beware of the Aunts!, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York), 1991.
Margaret Mahy, The Queen's Goat, Dial (New York, NY), 1991.
Diana Wynne Jones, Wild Robert, Mammoth (London, England), 1991, Chivers North America, 1992.
Diana Wynne Jones, Castle in the Air, Mammoth (London, England), 1991.
Jenny Nimmo, Delilah and the Dogspell, Methuen (London, England), 1991.
Laura Cecil, compiler, A Thousand Yards of the Sea, Methuen (London, England), 1992, published as A Thousand Yards of Sea, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1993.
D. J. Enright, The Way of the Cat, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.
Anne Fine, The Haunting of Pip Parker, Walker (London, England), 1992.
Ben Frankel, Tertius and Plinty, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1992.
Geraldine McCaughrean, reteller, The Orchard Book of Greek Myths, Orchard (London, England), 1992, published as Greek Myths, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 1993.
Peter Dickinson, Time and the Clockmice, et cetera, Doubleday (London, England), 1993, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1994.
Rosemary Sutcliff, The Princess and the Dragon Pup, Walker (London, England), 1993, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1996.
Ann Turnbull, Too Tired, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1993, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1994.
Laura Cecil, The Frog Princess, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 1994, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1995.
Laura Cecil, compiler, Preposterous Pets, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1994, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1995.
Charles Ashton, Ruth and the Blue Horse, Walker (London, England), 1994.
Kate McMullan, Good Night, Stella, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1994.
William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, I Have a Song to Sing, O!: An Introduction to the Songs of Gilbert and Sullivan, selected and edited by John Langstaff, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 1994.
Laura Cecil, Piper, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 1995.
Something Rich and Strange: A Treasury of Shakespeare's Verse, compiled by Gina Pollinger, Larousse Kingfisher Chambers (New York, NY), 1995, published as A Treasury of Shakespeare's Verse, Kingfisher (New York, NY), 2000.
Allan Ahlberg, Mrs. Vole the Vet, Puffin (London, England), 1996.
(And editor with Catherine Asholt and Quentin Blake) The Candlewick Book of First Rhymes (anthology), Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1996.
Henrietta Branford, Dimanche Diller at Sea, Collins (London, England), 1996.
Ian Whybrow, Miss Wire and the Three Kind Mice, Kingfisher (London, England), 1996.
Sam McBratney, editor, Little Red Riding Hood, 1996.
Emma Alcock, Sinan, 1996.
Laura Mare, Mehmet the Conqueror, 1997.
Laura Cecil, Noah and the Space Ark, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1997, Lerner (New York, NY), 1998.
Geraldine McCaughrean, reteller, The Orchard Book of Greek Gods and Goddesses, Orchard (London, England), 1997.
Jane Falloon, reteller, Thumbelina, Pavilion (London, England), 1997.
The Little Book of Shakespeare, compiled by Gina Pollinger, Kingfisher (London, England), 1997.
John Yeoman, The Glove Puppet Man, Collins (London, England), 1997.
Adrian Mitchell, reteller, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Marian, Orchard (London, England), 1998.
Mathew Price, Where's Alfie?, Orchard (London, England), 1999.
Mathew Price, Don't Worry, Alfie, Orchard (London, England), 1999.
Naomi Lewis, Elf Hill: Tales from Hans Christian Andersen, Star Bright Books, 1999.
Mathew Price, Patch and the Rabbits, Orchard (London, England), 1999, Orchard (New York, NY), 2000.
Mathew Price, Patch Finds a Friend, Orchard (New York, NY), 2000.
Laura Cecil, compiler, The Kingfisher Book of Toy Stories, Kingfisher (New York, NY), 2000.
Geraldine McCaughrean, reteller, Roman Myths, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Michael Morpurgo, The McElderry Book of Aesop's Fables, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor of illustrations to Tom's Pirate Ship and Other Stories and Mostly Animal Poetry, both Heinemann (London, England), 1997, and Alphabet Gallery, Mammoth (London, England), 1999. Illustrations have also appeared in newspapers and periodicals, including the London Sunday Times, Cosmopolitan, and New Scientist.
A popular and prolific author, illustrator, and anthologist, Emma Chichester Clark is considered one of England's most distinguished picture-book creators. Cited alongside noted illustrators Beatrix Potter, Edward Ardizzone, Tony Ross, and Quentin Blake—her former teacher—she has written and illustrated many of her own picture books while also creating accompanying artwork for numerous stories, picture books, anthologies, and retellings by other writers, including Roald Dahl, Anne Fine, Peter Dickinson, Allan Ahlberg, Rosemary Sutcliff, Sam McBratney, Diana Wynne Jones, John Yeoman, Naomi Lewis, Matthew Price, Janet Lunn, Jenny Nimmo, and Geraldine McCaughrean. In her own books, which include Up in Heaven, The Story of Horrible Hilda and Henry, and the award-winning I Love You, Blue Kangaroo!, she features child, adult, and animal characters in situations that, although usually humorous and fantastic, provide realistic portrayals of human feelings and foibles. Gwyneth Evans noted in an essay for the St. James Guide to Children's Writers that Chichester Clark's original stories "are reassuring, but have an underlying toughness." Their protagonists—boys and girls, older women, and anthropomorphized animals ranging from donkeys to lemurs—are not perfect: they fight, tease, overeat, and are greedy and absent minded. However, they ultimately make positive choices and; at the end of their adventures, return home, satisfied with their situation.
As an artist, Chichester Clark is praised for her distinctive, easily recognizable style, as well as for her use of color and her ability to evoke action and emotion. She often works in watercolor and pen, and her pictures range from bucolic scenes in gentle pastels to luminous, vivid paintings teeming with activity. "While her illustrations often suggest the serenity and charm of a timeless world," stated Evans, "her work has a vitality and a multicultural perspective which also makes it contemporary."
Born in London, England, Chichester Clark was brought to Ireland at the age of three and grew up in an old, white farmhouse surrounded by fields. Her family kept many pets, including dogs, roosters, mice, rabbits, and, as the artist wrote in Ladybug, "a very old pony who was pretty vicious." Because she lived a long way from any other children, Chichester Clark and her siblings "had to entertain ourselves, which was easy there. I used to draw a lot, houses with windows jammed into the four corners and people with no necks." She also made her own small books, "with proper spines that my mother sewed up for me." "All the way through school," she added, "it didn't ever occur to me that I would do anything other than illustrate books when I was 'grown up.'"
In 1975, Chichester Clark left Ireland to attend the Chelsea School of Art in London. After graduating with honors, she began to submit original picture books to publishers. When two of them were rejected, she suspended her quest to work in a design studio. Instead, she designed book jackets and submitted illustrations to newspapers and magazines. A few years later, she enrolled at the Royal College of Art, where she was taught by Quentin Blake and prominent author/illustrator Michael Foreman. After receiving her master's degree, again with honors, she received a phone call from an editor at London publisher Bodley Head, who had found copies of the drawings Chichester Clark had submitted several years previously. She was asked to illustrate the story anthology Listen to This, which began her fruitful collaboration with the book's editor, Laura Cecil.
Listen to This contains thirteen stories, including works by Rudyard Kipling, Philippa Pearce, Virginia Hamilton, Margaret Mahy, and the Brothers Grimm. Writing in the Times Educational Supplement, Jenny Marshall noted that Chichester Clark's colorful illustrations "have verve and wit," while Lesley Chamberlain concluded in the Times Literary Supplement that the artist "has brought an energetic and unsentimental streak to very varied material." In response to her work the illustrator received the Mother Goose Award in 1988, acknowledging her position as the most exciting newcomer to British children's book illustration.
Chichester Clark and Cecil have continued their collaboration on several well-received compilations, as well as original stories by Cecil. Noah and the Space Ark, Cecil's picture book with an environmental theme, places the Biblical character in a future in which Earth is so polluted that people and animals are in danger of extinction. Noah builds a rocket ship and takes the small animals—the larger ones have already died out—into space to find a new home. After they find a planet that resembles Earth, they disembark and vow to take better care of it than the stewards of Earth had done.
Chichester Clark serves as compiler and illustrator of I Never Saw a Purple Cow, and Other Nonsense Rhymes, which includes over one hundred poems by such writers as Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, and Hilaire Belloc. Filled out by an additional selection of traditional rhymes, riddles, limericks, and ballads, the book is arranged according to animal species and behavior. A Kirkus Review critic dubbed Chichester Clark's witty illustrations "just right" and called I Never Saw a Purple Cow a "delightful compilation, handsomely presented." Writing in School Librarian, Joan Nellist claimed that Chichester Clark matches the rhymes and poems "with a beautiful simplicity which is sure to please young and old alike." While she has illustrated many works by others, Chichester Clark has gained much of her following for her original stories. She began her writing career with the picture book Catch That Hat!, published in 1988. In this work, which is written in rhyme, Rose loses her pink hat to the wind as she chases a cat. As she retrieves and then again loses her hat, Rose is aided by animals such as a cow, a rabbit, and a kangaroo, as well as by a boy. Her hat finally lands in a monkey puzzle tree that no one can climb. A cockatoo lands on the hat and makes a nest, which pleases Rose even as she sheds a tear for her lost chapeau. At the end of the story, Rose's friends give her a new hat, complete with a ribbon to tie under her chin, that is even better than the old one. Booklist contributor Barbara Elleman predicted that children "will enjoy the whimsy of this airy, light-as-a-breeze tale."
Called "bibliotherapy at its best" by School Library Journal reviewer Rosalyn Pierini, Up in Heaven tackles a subject that almost every child has to face at some point: the death of a beloved pet. Arthur spends much of his play time with the family dog, Daisy, but eventually the elderly Daisy starts to sit out the most rambunctious games on the sidelines. When Daisy finally passes away, she looks down from Doggy Heaven and sees how sad Arthur is, so sends the young boy a dream to let him know that she is happy and that it is okay to give his affection to a new puppy. Martha V. Parravano praised the story in Horn Book as "comforting and uplifting but not in the least saccharine," while in Booklist Hazel Rochman noted that in her "joyful fantasy" Chichester Clark presents a forthright way to view the loss of a loved one; because Up in Heaven "never denies the child's sorrow and loss, the hopeful, loving scenes will help preschoolers move on," Rochman added.
The Story of Horrible Hilda and Henry is a cautionary tale in picture-book form about a brother and sister who like to misbehave: They trash their house, squirt their parents with a hose, have food fights, and tease each other unmercifully. Finally, the children's parents send them to the zoo. After annoying the animals, Hilda and Henry are placed in a cage with Brian, a bad-tempered lion who frightens the siblings so much that they become model children. Their parents take Brian home along with Hilda and Henry, hoping that the lion will act as insurance; however, Clark's last picture shows the children reverting back to their former disobedient ways. Writing in Booklist, Ilene Cooper noted that Chichester Clarks's use of "comic-book strips, full-page pictures, and two-page spreads" all work to relay her humorous story "to good effect," while a Kirkus Reviews critic claimed that young readers will enjoy the "gleefully exaggerated pranks here, which [Chichester] Clark illustrates with her usual zest."
Tea with Aunt Augusta—published in the United States as Lunch with Aunt Augusta—is one of Chichester Clark's most popular works. The story outlines what happens when Jemima, a ring-tailed lemur who is the youngest in her family, goes with her two older brothers to visit their beloved Aunt Augusta. After Jemima gorges herself on the lavish variety of mixed fruits provided by Aunt Augusta, the little lemur cannot keep up with her older brothers on their way home. Lost in the dark, she is rescued by a group of friendly fruit bats, who carry her home in a leaf sling. Jemima is lectured by her parents on overeating, but they welcome her with hugs and kisses. Her brothers, on the other hand, are sent to bed without supper for abandoning their sister in the jungle. Calling Chichester Clark's illustrations "delightfully vivid, witty, and tender," Times Educational Supplement reviewer Andrew Davies concluded, "I've never given ring-tailed lemurs much thought before. Now I wish I owned one. In fact I wish I was one." A Publisher Weekly reviewer noted the book's "unique and captivating cast" and "playful artwork," while in Booklist Hazel Rochman concluded that, "with all its nonsense … this satisfying story combines the small child's fear of being lost with the dream of adventure."
With Little Miss Muffet Counts to Ten—published in the United States as Little Miss Muffet's Count-Along Surprise—Chichester Clark extends the traditional nursery rhyme in a concept book that teaches basic mathematics. Instead of frightening Miss Muffet away, the spider asks her politely to stay. The arachnid is pleased when her animal friends—including bears with chairs and puffins with muffins—arrive to give her a surprise birthday party. When two crocodiles with greedy smiles show up, things get tense; however, they are just bringing the cake. Writing in School Librarian, Sarah Reed termed the book a "successful combination of a counting book, traditional rhyme, repetition, a chain story, all beautifully illustrated," while FamilyFun reviewer Sandy MacDonald wrote that "The rhymes are tightly sprung, the imagery deliciously imaginative." A critic for Kirkus Reviews concluded by calling Little Miss Muffet's Count-Along Surprise "a wonderful variation on the nursery rhyme that for once will frighten no one away."
In More! little Billy stalls, demanding one more story, one more ice cream, one more game to avoid the dreaded bedtime. When his mother refuses, Billy stomps off to his room, gathers his stuffed toys and the life-size lion that lives behind the curtain, and goes off to the center of the Earth, where he gets more rides, more spins, and more lollipops than he could ever want. Billy becomes over-saturated and finally realizes that all he wants to do is to go home to bed, which he does. School Librarian critic Jane Doonan raved that, with More!, "she succeeds in picturing the indescribable."
Shortlisted for the coveted Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration, I Love You, Blue Kangaroo! begins a series that includes some of Chichester Clark's most popular books. Lily loves her stuffed blue kangaroo more than any of her other toys, but when she receives new stuffed animals, Blue Kangaroo is pushed to the side. The toy eventually makes his way to the crib of Lily's baby brother, where he is welcomed joyfully. Not surprisingly, when Lily sees Blue Kangaroo in her brother's arms, she realizes that she still loves him and wants him back. Ultimately, Lily comes up with a mutually beneficial plan: she trades all of her new stuffed toys to her baby brother in exchange for her beloved Blue Kangaroo. Writing in the Times Educational Supplement, William Feaver stated that Chichester Clark "has perfect pitch as an author/illustrator" and hailed Blue Kangaroo as "a winner." Stephanie Zvirin, writing in Booklist, praised the book's illustrations, noting that they "can open the way to parent-child discussions of selfishness and generosity." A reviewer for School Library Journal called I Love You, Blue Kangaroo! a "heartwarming story … wholly satisfactory."Other books featuring Blue Kangaroo include Where Are You, Blue Kangaroo?, It Was You, Blue Kangaroo!, and What Shall We Do, Blue Kangaroo?, the last which finds Lily and her favorite toy thinking about ways to pass some free time, and ultimately host a garden tea party to which all of the household toys are invited. Noting that Chichester Clark's technique of depicting the kangaroo's face close up "pulls [readers] … into his perspective" and presents a view of childhood from the toy's perspective, Horn Book contributor Christine M. Heppermann praised the author/illustrator's use of an "appealingly repetitive text and joyful spring-like colors" throughout the "Blue Kangaroo" series. Citing the "can-do message" of What Shall We Do, Blue Kangaroo?, Lisa Dennis added in her School Library Journal review that the illustrations "show a cozy, idealized domestic setting…—the perfect place for a preschooler to develop a bit of independence."
A pair of young monkeys are the focus of several books by Chichester Clark. In No More Kissing! Momo ducks the kisses of relatives, and decides that even among his own affectionate family, there's just too much smooching going on. Realizing that not only monkeys but also lion, snake, and even crocodile families engage in this off-putting practice, Momo goes to the extreme of wearing a sign pronouncing "No More Kissing" when he walks through the jungle, as a way to make his point. However, his attitude starts to change when a new baby brother enters the family, causing School Library Journal contributor Linda M. Kenton to note that No More Kissing! provides parents with "a fresh approach to introducing a new baby in a family." In the board books Mimi's Book of Opposites and Mimi's Book of Counting Momo's older cousin is introduced, presenting basic concept to toddlers with the help of several family members. Momo returns to share center stage with his cousin in the picture-book No More Teasing!, as Mimi becomes exasperated by Momo's constant joking and just plain pestering. Fortunately, Grandma comes to the rescue and together the two hatch a plot that the impish Momo will not forget. Although their solution involves a cape and a scary mask, Chichester Clark's art "with its happy colors and exotic locale, is not so terrifying as to curdle young readers' blood," concluded a Kirkus Reviews contributor.
Biographical and Critical Sources
St. James Guide to Children's Writers, edited by Sara and Tom Pendergast, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999, pp. 230-232.
Booklist, April 15, 1989, Ilene Cooper, review of The Story of Horrible Hilda and Henry, p. 1464; May 15, 1990, Barbara Elleman, review of Catch That Hat!, pp. 1797-1798; May 1, 1992, Hazel Rochman, review of Lunch with Aunt Augusta, p. 1606; January 1, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, review of I Love You, Blue Kangaroo!, p. 886; November 1, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of It Was You, Blue Kangaroo!, p. 504; May 15, 2003, Gillian Engberg, review of What Shall We Do, Blue Kangaroo?, p. 1669; February 1, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Up in Heaven, p. 979.
Books for Keeps, January, 1998, p. 18.
FamilyFun, November, 1997, Sandy MacDonald, review of Little Miss Muffet's Count-Along Surprise.
Horn Book, March-April, 2002, Martha V. Parravano, review of No More Kissing!, p. 201; March-April, 2004, Martha V. Parravano, review of Up in Heaven, p. 169; September-October, 2003, Christine M. Heppermann, review of What Shall We Do, Blue Kangaroo?, p. 492.
Independent (London, England), May 14, 1998. Sally Williams, review of More!
Junior Bookshelf, April, 1996, p. 56.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1989, review of The Story of Horrible Hilda and Henry, p. 622; April 15, 1991, review of I Never Saw a Purple Cow and Other Nonsense Rhymes; September 15, 1997, review of Little Miss Muffet's Count-Along Surprise, p. 1454; December 15, 2001, review of No More Kissing!, p. 1755; February 14, 2004, review of Up in Heaven, p. 175; January 1, 2005, review of No More Teasing!, p. 50; June 1, 2002, review of It Was You, Blue Kangaroo!, p. 802.
Ladybug, March, 1997, "Meet the Artist: Emma Chichester Clark," p. 39.
Magpies, September, 1998, p. 28; November, 1998, p. 26.
Publishers Weekly, January 6, 1992, review of Lunch with Aunt Augusta, p. 65; January 20, 2003, review of Follow the Leader!, p. 80.
School Librarian, August, 1987, Sarah Reed, review of Little Miss Muffet Counts to Ten, p. 130; May, 1991, Joan Nellist, review of I Never Saw a Purple Cow and Other Nonsense Rhymes, pp. 681-682; autumn, 1998, Jane Doonan, review of More!, p. 129.
School Library Journal, April, 1999, review of I Love You, Blue Kangaroo!; January, 2002, Linda M. Kenton, review of No More Kissing!, p. 96; May, 2003, Rosalyn Pierini, review of Follow the Leader!, p. 110; July, 2003, Lisa Dennis, review of What Shall We Do, Blue Kangaroo?, p. 88; November, 2003, Olga R. Kuharets, review of Mimi's Book of Counting, p. 90; March, 2004, Rosalyn Pierini, review of Up in Heaven, p. 155.
Times Educational Supplement, November 6, 1987, Jenny Marshall, "Storybook Worlds," p. 27; February 14, 1992, Andrew Davies, "Having a Good Time," p. 27; December 11, 1998, William Feaver, "Leap of Imagination," p. 37.
Times Literary Supplement, December 4, 1989, Lesley Chamberlain, "Igniting the Imagination," p. 1361.
Andersen Press Web site, http://www.andersenpress.co.uk/ (December 2, 2004).*
- Sherryl Clark (1956-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights
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