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Colin Hawkins (1945–) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

Born 1945, in England; Education: Attended Blackpool Art School.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, DK Publishing Inc., 95 Madison Ave., 10th Fl., New York, NY 10016.


Author and illustrator. Daily Express, London, England, reportage illustrator, 1971; teacher at Medway and Norwich, England, Art Schools.



Witches (also see below), Granada (London, England), 1981, Silver Burdett (Morristown, NJ), 1985.

It's a Fact and It's Very Funny, ITV Books (London, England), 1982.

How to Look after Your Cat, Evans (London, England), 1982.

(With Enid Von Bluoton) Vampires (also see below), Granada (London, England), 1982, Silver Burdett (Morristown, NJ), 1985.

Spooks (also see below), Granada (London, England), 1983, Silver Burdett (Morristown, NJ), 1985.

What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?, Heinemann (London, England), 1983, as What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf?, Putnam (New York, NY), 1983.

Adding Animals, Putnam (New York, NY), 1983, reprinted, Mathew Price (Dorset, England), 2004.

Pat the Cat, Putnam (New York, NY), 1983.

Baby Boo!, Pepper (London, England), 1983, published as Boo! Who?, Holt (New York, NY), 1983.

Take Away Monsters, Putnam (New York, NY), 1984, reprinted, Mathew Price (Dorset, England), 2004.

The Monsters Go on a Picnic, Beanstalk, 1984.

The Monsters Visit Granny, Beanstalk, 1984.

The Granny Book, Granada (London, England), 1984.

Snap! Snap!, Putnam (New York, NY), 1984, reprinted, Egmont (London, England), 2004.

Mig the Pig, Putnam (New York, NY), 1984.

Old Mother Hubbard, Piccadilly (London, England), 1984, Putnam (New York, NY), 1985.

I'm Not Sleepy, Walker (London, England), 1985, published as I'm Not Sleepy!, Crown (New York, NY), 1986.

Where's My Mummy?, Walker (London, England), 1985, published as Where's My Mommy?, Crown (New York, NY), 1986.

Hush Now, Baby Bear, Random House (New York, NY), 1985.

My First Book, Viking (New York, NY), 1985.

'Round the Garden, Viking (New York, NY), 1985.

This Little Pig, Viking (New York, NY), 1985.

Jen the Hen, Putnam (New York, NY), 1985.

Incy Wincy Spider, Viking (New York, NY), 1985.

Shriek! A Compendium of Witches, Vampires and Spooks (includes Witches, Vampires, and Spooks), Granada (London, England), 1985, expanded as The Monster Book of Witches, Vampires, Spooks, and Monsters (includes Witches, Vampires, Spooks, and Monsters,) Collins (London, England), 1997.

Mr. Wolf's Week, Heinemann (London, England), 1985.

The Elephant, Viking (New York, NY), 1985.

Zoo Animals, Methuen (London, England), 1985, expanded as Zoo Animals; Park Animals, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1990.

Dip, Dip, Dip, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1986.

One Finger, One Thumb, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1986.

Oops-a-Daisy, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1986.

Farmyard Sounds, Crown (New York, NY), 1986, Walker (London, England), 1990.

Where's Bear?, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1986, published as a pop-up book, Orchard (London, England), 2005.

Tog the Dog, Putnam (New York, NY), 1986.

Jungle Sounds, Crown (New York, NY), 1986.

Max and the Magic Word, Viking (New York, NY), 1986.

Busy ABC, Viking (New York, NY), 1987.

The Wizard's Cat, Warner (New York, NY), 1987.

Pirates, Collins (London, England), 1987.

Terrible, Terrible Tiger, Warner (New York, NY), 1987.

(Reteller) I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Methuen (London, England), 1987, published as There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Putnam (New York, NY), 1987.

Mr. Wolf's Birthday Surprise, Heinemann (London, England), 1987.

Here's a Happy Elephant, Walker (London, England), 1987, Warner (New York, NY), 1988, published as a board book, Good Books (Intercourse, PA), 2004.

Here's a Happy Pig, Warner (New York, NY), 1988, published as a board book, Good Books (Intercourse, PA), 2004.

Zug the Bug, Putnam (New York, NY), 1988.

This Old Car: A Counting Book, Orchard (London, England), 1988, published as How Many Are in This Old Car?: A Counting Book, Putnam (New York, NY), 1988.

Cosmic Cat and the Pink Planet, Collins (London, England), 1988.

Cosmic Cat and the Space Spider, Collins (London, England), 1988.

Crocodile Creek, Collins (London, England), 1988, published as Crocodile Creek: The Cry in the Night, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1989.

Pets, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1989.

I Spy: The Lift-the-Flap ABC Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1989, published as The Amazing Lift-the-Flap ABC, Mathew Price (Dorset, England), 2005.

Noah Built an Ark One Day, Putnam (New York, NY), 1989.

Mr. Bear's Plane, Orchard (London, England), 1989.

The House That Jack Built, Putnam (New York, NY), 1990.

When I Was One, Viking (New York, NY), 1990.

Knock! Knock!, Walker (London, England), 1990, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1991.

How to Look after Your Dog, Walker (London, England), 1991.

Old MacDonald Had a Farm, Putnam (New York, NY), 1991.

Monsters, Collins (London, England), 1991.

The Numberlies, eleven volumes, Bodley Head (London, England), 1991, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2000.

Max and the School Dinners, Viking (New York, NY), 1992.

Hey Diddle Diddle, Walker (London, England), 1992, published as Hey Diddle Diddle: Five Fingerwiggle Nursery Rhymes, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1992.

Humpty Dumpty, Walker (London, England), 1992, published as Humpty Dumpty: Five Fingerwiggle Nursery Rhymes, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1992.

Meet Zero, Bodley Head (London, England), 1992.

Come for a Ride on the Ghost Train, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1993.

Colin and Jacqui Hawkins' Word Book, Simon & Schuster (Hemel Hempstead, England), 1994.

Grannies, Granada (London, England), 1994.

School, Collins (London, England), 1994.

Ghosts, Reader's Digest, 1994.

Pirate Ship: A Pop-up Adventure, Cobblehill (New York, NY), 1994.

How to Look after Your Hamster, Walker (London, England), 1995.

How to Look after Your Rabbit, Walker (London, England), 1995.

Here's a Happy Kitten, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1996, published as a board book, Good Books (Intercourse, PA), 2004.

Here's a Happy Puppy, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1996, published as a board book, Good Books (Intercourse, PA), 2004.

Aliens, Collins (London, England), 1996.

Mr. Wolf's Sticker Ticker Time, Heinemann (London, England), 1997.

Whose House?, Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 1998.

An ABC Picture Gallery, Butterworth-Heinemann (London, England), 1999.

Daft Dog, HarperCollins (London, England), 1999.

Greedy Goat, HarperCollins (London, England), 1999.

One, Two, Guess Who?, Collins (London, England), 2000, Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 2001.

Crazy Cow, Collins (London, England), 2000.

Rude Rabbit, Collins (London, England), 2000.

Alien Diaries: Zorb Zork, Stardate 9921, Collins (London, England), 2001.

Bad Bear, Collins (London, England), 2001.

Aliens Joke Book, Collins (London, England), 2001.

Vampires Joke Book, Collins (London, England), 2001.

Creepy Castle, Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 2001.

Vampire Diaries: The Gorys, Collins (London, England), 2001.

Happy Horse, Collins (London, England), 2001.

Pirate's Log: The Diary of Captain Ben Blunder, 1740, Collins (London, England), 2001.

Pirates Joke Book, Collins (London, England), 2001.

The Dance of the Dinosaurs, Collins (London, England), 2002.

Bruno and the New Plane, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

Bruno and the Old Car, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

Hungry Baby, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

Playful Baby, Orchard (London, England), 2004.

Sleepy Baby, Orchard (London, England), 2004.

Soapy Baby, Orchard (London, England), 2004.

Fairytale News, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Mr. Wolf's Nursery Time, Egmont (London, England), 2005.

Witch Pigs, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2005.


Foxy and the Spots, HarperCollins (London, England), 1995.

Foxy Goes to Bed, HarperCollins (London, England), 1995.

Foxy in the Kitchen, HarperCollins (London, England), 1995.

Foxy Loses His Tail, HarperCollins (London, England), 1995.

Foxy Plays Hide and Seek, HarperCollins (London, England), 1996.

Foxy and His Naughty Little Sister, Collins (London, England), 1997.

Foxy and Friends Go Racing, Collins (London, England), 1998.

Foxy Bakes Some Cakes, Collins (London, England), 2001.

Foxy Feels Unwell, Collins (London, England), 2001.


Peter Eldin, The Armada TV Quiz Book, Armada Books (London, England), 1976.

(With Brian Robins) James Webster, Webster's English Workbook, four volumes, Nelson (Sunbury-on-Thames, England), 1976.

John M. Hughes, Sounds in Sentences, four volumes, Nelson (Sunbury-on-Thames, England), 1977.

Christopher Maynard, Father Christmas and His Friends, W. H. Allen (London, England), 1979.

Stewart Cowley, The Social Climbing Cat: How to Catch the Right Owner, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1981.

Tony Bradman, See You Later, Alligator, Dial (New York, NY), 1986.


The "Foxy" stories were adapted as a British television series, 1999.


Together with wife Jacqui Hawkins, author and illustrator Colin Hawkins has created a wide array of unique picture books that appeal to both youngsters and their parents. Often saturating their work with a sense of humor that borders on the impish, the Hawkinses have entertained a legion of young fans with tales of foxes, bears, pigs, and other creatures engaged in all manner of activity. With titles like Greedy Goat, Daft Dog, and Boo! Who?, books by the Hawkinses have been translated into several languages, and have also found their way onto television. The "Foxy" stories, which are based on the exploits of the couple's own two children, were developed into an animated series airing in Great Britain in the late 1990s. A Books for Keeps contributor noted that the "combination of zany illustration with the ability to pinpoint absurdity is a potent mix" used to excellent effect in Colin and Jacqui Hawkins's many books.

Although Colin and Jacqui spent many holidays during their childhood at their family's farms, which were only a mile apart, they did not formally meet until they were in their mid-teens, and they were married in 1968. Both had a background in the graphic arts, and at the time of their marriage Colin worked as an illustrator for London's Daily Express newspaper. When the newspaper went through some hard times a few years later, he lost his job and became a freelance illustrator. In the mid-1970s, after their first child was born, the couple began to assemble ideas for children's picture books. With Colin's flair for cartoon drawings and Jacqui's graphic sense and dogged persistence, they put together a collection of drawings that they collectively titled Witches. The proposed book didn't get an immediate response from publishers, so the Hawkinses started another project, and then another. Witches eventually attracted the attention of not one publisher, but four, and upon its release in 1981, the Hawkinses' career took off.

Most of the Hawkinses' picture-book creations involve their audience in a learning activity, but with so much fun surrounding the lesson, no one is any the wiser. In What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?, children are taught the basic techniques of telling time through the antics of a scruffy wolf. Mr. Wolf makes a return engagement in Mr. Wolf's Week, as the behaviors of weather are explained. As Books for Keeps contributor Liz Waterland described it, an "ungainly wolf blunders his way through the days of the week…. Dressing for the extraordinary changes of climate he encounters." In addition to providing an introductory lesson in vocabulary, the book "encourage[s children] to memorise … details … and to connect cause and effect—weather and appropriate clothing," added a Junior Bookshelf reviewer. Mr. Wolf's adventures continue in Mr. Wolf's Birthday Surprise, Mr. Wolf's Sticker Ticker Time, and Mr. Wolf's Nursery Time.

Basic math and reading concepts are introduced to the preschool set through such works as Adding Animals, a lift-the-flap book that uses animals to teach counting skills. Praising the book's brightly colored drawings for bringing "an energetic, fun-filled appearance" to a simple math lesson, Booklist contributor Denise M. Wilms noted that while "mathematics is the point," learning basic sums is transformed into something fun through the couple's colorful concoction. In Max and the Magic Word, good manners are taught through the experience of Max the dog. Max's requests are ignored because he does not follow them with "please" and "thank you." School Library Journal contributor Anne Wirkkala praised the book's artwork, noting that Max "is particularly expressive as he becomes more and more frustrated."

Pat the Cat coaches beginning readers in sound-alike words with the help of an obviously overfed feline. Amid illustrations in shades of yellow, orange, and blue are words like "fat", "bat", "cat", "mat", and "sat", with appropriate stress placed on the changing consonant sounds. In her appraisal for Booklist, Denise M. Wilms concluded that Pat the Cat is "fun, and a painless way to absorb some phonics and a sight vocabulary." Sight vocabulary is also taught in a series of books geared toward toddlers and consisting of titles including This Little Pig, Incy Wincy Spider, and The Elephant. First published in the mid-1980s and re-released in both the United States and England, these titles "have stood the test of time delightfully" due to illustrations that Books for Keeps reviewer Roy Blatchford called "witty" and "animated."

While many of the Hawkinses' books have a serious purpose at their core, others are just plain fun. In the lift-the-flap book Boo! Who?, someone or something is hiding out of sight in each picture, and perceptive youngsters can try to guess who or what with the clues provided by the book's creators. "The hiders are all different from what the reader expects," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor, "… a ploy that should keep little ones giggling." The couple also put their unique slant on a traditional nursery rhyme in Old Mother Hubbard, a "romp" that a Publishers Weekly contributor noted "stands out among countless variations" with its lift-the-flap format and silly verses. And school gets the full comic treatment in the Hawkinses' aptly titled School, as jokes and riddles abound while readers meet a "veritable gallery of school stereotypes from bullies, toadies and goody goodies to the all-seeing teacher with
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eyes in the back of his head," according to Julie Blaisdale in School Librarian.

In each of their picture-book projects, the Hawkinses work together as a team, blending their styles to create an indivisible whole. As Colin noted in an interview with Stephanie Nettell in Books for Keeps: "People see the final book, but before that you have lots of roughs, overdrawings, talking, working out working out words." Jacqui loves the beginning stages of their joint projects: "the planning and roughs, going down different routes to solve a problem," as she explained to Nettell. While Colin's illustrations predominate in most of their books, in 1998's Whose House? Jacqui's art takes center stage. "For ever and ever I've seen these beautiful rough … [sketches] coming through," Colin explained of Jacqui's contribution to the story's initial design, but he noted that she always requested that he add his own "slight edge" to them. After enough encouragement from her husband, Whose House? finally made it from roughs to published book with Jacqui's finely detailed artwork intact.

The Hawkinses have published several books on learning to count, including the eleven volume set The Numberlies, originally published in 1991. In 2000, Dorling Kindersley brought the series to an American audience, publishing each volume separately. The series features characters living in Number Town. Each Numberlie is a cartoon version of a number between one and ten. In Number One, the title character searches for a pet that will be just right for him. Number Four, in the book named after him, learns why it's good not to be nosy. The books were considered "a good alternative to traditional counting books" by a reviewer for the Anglia Campus Web site. Another non-traditional counting book by the Hawkinses is One, Two, Guess Who?, in which readers solve riddles about fairy tales to move from one page to the next.

Starting with Alien Diaries: Zorb Zork, Stardate 9921 in 2001, the Hawkinses have produced diaries for aliens, pirates, and vampires, and joke books to go along with each. Zorb Zork is an alien captain of a star ship; the picture book provides a guide to spotting different types of aliens. The accompanying Aliens Joke Book tells of one eyed aliens and provides jokes about what happens when an alien goes to the doctor. The Gory family stars in Vampire Diaries: The Gorys. They seem like a normal family: the children go to school, the father works as an undertaker, and the mother stays home with the baby. But no matter how normal they see, they are vampires. The Gorys guide readers through Vampire Joke Book as well. Captain Ben Blunder takes the stage in Pirate's Log: The Diary of Captain Ben Blunder, 1740. Aboard his ship the Mad Maggott, Bluder guides readers through the details of pirate life, then returns to share traditional pirate banter with readers in Pirate Joke Book, about which a reviewer for the Birmingham Evening Mail asked, "Who can resist such howlers?"

Moving from pirates to princesses, the Hawkinses present a twisted version of common fairy and folk tales in Fairytale News. Jack of beanstalk fame and, in this version, Old Mother Hubbard's son, delivers the local paper to other residents of Fairytale land, including the Three Bears, the Hood family including Little Red Riding, and the Three Little Pigs. Included in the back cover of the book is a copy of the same Fairytale News that Jack delivers, featuring news events that refer back to the fairy tales featured in the book. "Plainly having way too much fun, the Hawkins joggle all the endings into happy ones," according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Julia Eccleshares, writing in the London Guardian, praised the book as a "vibrant and genuinely funny addition" to the already available picture books of fractured fairy tales. "The cartoon-style, line-and-watercolor artwork extends the fun," praised Hazel Rochman in Booklist. How does everything turn out in the end? As Kitty Flynn concluded in her Horn Book review, "You'll just have to read all about it."

The popularity of the Hawkinses' books in both their native England and elsewhere—their works are published worldwide and have been translated into several different languages—have made them almost an industry unto themselves. But, in addition to the availability of a wide range of titles and the high exposure their works receive in bookstores, the reason for the couple's success can be traced to their attitude regarding their craft, and the spirit of fun with which they approach each project. "Their whole philosophy is to make books fun," explained Nettell; "regardless of educational fashions, this, they believe, is the only way to get kids reading."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Birmingham Evening Mail (Birmingham, England), February 20, 2001, review of Pirates Joke Book, p. 24.

Booklist, August, 1983, Denise M. Wilms, review of Pat the Cat, p. 1465; September, 1983, Denise M. Wilms, review of Adding Animals, p. 85; August, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Fairytale News, p. 1942.

Books for Keeps, January, 1988, Liz Waterland, review of Mr. Wolf's Week, p. 16; July, 1988, review of Max and the Magic Word, p. 6; January, 1992, p. 7; March, 1998, Roy Blatchford, review of This Little Pig, Incy Wincy Spider, and The Elephant, p. 18; May, 1999, Stephanie Nettell, interview with the Hawkinses, pp. 12-13.

Guardian (London, England), May 15, 2004, Julia Eccleshares, review of Fairytale News, p. 33.

Horn Book, July-August, 2004, Kitty Flynn, review of Fairytale News, p. 438.

Junior Bookshelf, April, 1986, review of Mr. Wolf's Week, p. 64; February, 1995, p. 36; June, 1995, p. 99.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2004, review of Fairytale News, p. 223.

Publishers Weekly, February 3, 1984, review of Boo! Who? p. 402; March 22, 1985, review of Old Mother Hubbard, pp. 59-60; May 14, 2001, "Concepts Made Fun," p. 85; September 24, 2001, review of Creepy Castle, p. 44; April 19, 2004, review of Fairytale News, p. 60.

School Librarian, November, 1994, Julie Blaisdale, review of School, p. 151; August, 1995, p. 103; winter, 1999, review of Greedy Goat and Daft Dog, p. 186.

School Library Journal, April, 1987, Anne Wirkkala, review of Max and the Magic Word, p. 83; August, 2004, Blair Christolon, review of Fairytale News, p. 88.

Scotland on Sunday (Edinburgh, Scotland), June 17, 2001, Debby McGregor, review of Rude Rabbit, p. 15.

Times Educational Supplement (London, England), October 22, 1999, review of The Spooks and Vampire Diaries: The Gorys, p. 43; April 2, 2004, Anne Faundez, "An End to the Blank Canvas," p. 35.


Anglia Campus Web site, http://www.angliacampus.com/public/feat/books/ (July 13, 2005), review of The Numberlies.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Bob Graham (1942-) Biography - Awards to Francis Hendy Biography - Born to Sew