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Robert Crowther (1948-) Biography

Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

Born 1948, in Leeds, England; Education: Norwich School of Art, diploma in art and design, 1970; Royal College of Art, M.A., 1973. Politics: "Liberal Democrat." Religion: Church of England (Anglican). Hobbies and other interests: Fine art, reading, cycling, following soccer.


Freelance designer, 1973-87, including work with Madame Tussaud's Group, London, England. Part-time teacher at Oxford Polytechnic, Leicester Polytechnic, Exeter College of Art, and Norwich School of Art. Freelance author and illustrator.


Federation of Children's Book Groups, British Society of Authors.

Honors Awards

Runner-up for Mother Goose Award for best newcomer to children's illustration, 1978; runner up for Parents magazine award for best novelty book, 1997; honorable mention at Bologna-Ragazzi Awards, 2000, for Deep down under Ground.



The Most Amazing Hide-and-Seek Alphabet Book, Viking Kestrel (London, England), 1978.

The Most Amazing Hide-and-Seek Counting Book, Viking Kestrel (London, England), 1981.

Pop Goes the Weasel, Walker Books (London, England), 1987.

Pop-up Machines, Walker Books (London, England), 1988.

Who Lives on the Farm?, Walker Books (London, England), 1989.

How Many Babies Live on the Farm?, Walker Books (London, England), 1990.

All the Fun of the Fair, Walker Books (London, England), 1991.

Who Lives in the Garden?, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992.

Who Lives in the Country?, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992.

Little Red Car, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992.

A Night to Remember, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992.

Animal Rap!, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1993.

Animal Snap!, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1993.

Little Red Car to the Rescue, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1994.

Robert Crowther's Pop-up Animal Alphabet, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1994.

The Most Amazing Night Book, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1995.

Robert Crowther's Pop-up Olympics: Amazing Facts and Record Breakers, Walker (London, England), 1995.

Tractors and Trucks, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.

Dump Trucks and Diggers, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.

My Oxford Pop-up Surprise ABC, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

My Oxford Pop-up Surprise One Two Three, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

Deep down under Ground, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.

Robert Crowther's Most Amazing Hide-and-Seek Alphabet Book, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.

Robert Crowther's Most Amazing Hide-and-Seek Numbers Book, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.

Robert Crowther's Amazing Pop-up House of Inventions: Hundreds of Fabulous Facts about Where You Live, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Football!, Walker (London, England), 2001, published as Soccer: Facts and Stats; The World Cup and Superstars and Games with Pop-Ups, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Colors, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Shapes, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.

Let's Cook!, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Opposites, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.


Highly praised paper engineer and author Robert Crowther has enjoyed drawing ever since he was taught by his father how to trace the Three Little Pigs. Among his many works are a series of intriguing pop-up books that includes Pop-up Olympics: Amazing Facts and Record Breakers and Incredible Animal Alphabet.

Crowther's work in Pop-up Olympics was lauded by a Publishers Weekly critic who commented that "Crowther rustles up an impressive number of Olympics-related facts and figures"; his text and illustrations reflect "genuine enthusiasm," the critic added, "and he aims high, squeezing in as much trivia and activity as will fit on a page." In a review of Incredible Animal Alphabet , another of Crowther's engineered pop-up books, another Publishers Weekly critic stated that ""P" should stand for playful in this clever compendium of concealed critters.…Ina crowded field, this book definitely jumps out."

"My primary motivation is to make books that will encourage reluctant readers," Crowther once commented. "At art college, the work of Seymour Chwast influenced the way my style developed. These days, talking to the children I meet in schools and libraries influences the sort of subjects I choose to make as pop-up books.

"The creative process behind a pop-up book involves, first, coming up with a suitable theme. Then I make individual black-and-white working 'roughs' of mechanics suitable for the book. The best of these ideas are then designed into a rough dummy of the complete book, colored with felt-tip pens. After the rough is approved by the publisher, I do the art work in black line and watercolor. The mechanical pieces (usually about one hundred separate bits) are painted separately from the backgrounds.

"Mostly the subjects I've chosen have been colorful and packed with action. For example, I've used fair-grounds, building sites, and the Olympics. Otherwise I've chosen educational themes, such as alphabets or numbers."

Discussing his art, Crowther more recently noted to Something about the Author: "I'm attempting to alter my style of illustration in order to give my upcoming titles a different visual look. Instead of using a black outline for the drawings and coloring in with water-color, I am now using cut paper in a precise way. I have just finished illustrating a pop-up train book which contains 9,500 separate pieces of cut paper. These pieces are cut from pre-painted sheets of watercolor.

"After twenty-five years spent illustrating pop-up and flap books I feel it is time to try something fresh. My recent book Let's Cook, published in 2004, uses photographs rather than drawings to give a super-real feel to the images."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, December 1, 2000, Ilene Cooper, review of Amazing Pop-up House of Inventions, p. 728.

Publishers Weekly, May 11, 1992, review of All the Fun of the Fair: A Pop-Up Book, p. 72; September 20, 1993, review of Animal Snap!, p. 70; September 20, 1993, review of Animal Rap!, p. 70; May 20, 1995, review of Incredible Animal Alphabet, p. 59; August 7, 1995, review of The Most Amazing Night Book, p. 459; April 1, 1996, review of Pop-up Olympics: Amazing Facts and Record Breakers, p. 77; August 16, 1999, "Up with Pop-ups," p. 87; October 30, 2000, review of The Scientific Method, p. 78; January 10, 2005, review of Snow Day Fun, p. 58.

School Library Journal, July, 2001, Joy Fleishhacker, review of Colors, p. 93; March, 2004, Andrew Medlar, review of Pop-up Olympics, p. 68.


Walker Books Web site, http://www.walkerbooks.co.uk/(August 15, 2005), "Robert Crowther."

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