British author/illustrator Shirley Hughes is a big favorite around our house... Her stories about young Alfie and his little sister, Annie Rose, are some of the sweetest, most gentle stories about the toddler/preschool age group you'll ever find. Both Alfie and Annie Rose are such sweet little kids, full of innocence, bewilderment and an unquenchable eagerness to please... Although as characters they are a bit idealized, the stories are lovely and magical, and also intelligently written -- if you are looking for longer narratives that don't veer off into premature irony, violence or yucky-gross humor, you will definitely want to check these books out. Hughes also dabbles in poetry, crafting short pieces that are often from the perspective of Annie or Alfie, celebrating rainy weather or falling leaves or trips to the market. It's lovely stuff, ideal for parents stressing nonviolence, kindness and good behavior... Here's a quick look at her work:




Shirley Hughes Bibliography
Books By Author | Books By Title | Main Index



"Alfie Gets In First"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1982)

The first of the "Alfie" books, in which our young hero dashes into the house ahead of his mom, and unintentionally locks her and his baby sister outside on the front steps. Stranded with the groceries in hand, Mom first tries to explain to Alfie how to open the door, and when that fails, she calls her neighbors for help. Just when someone is about to climb a ladder and break one of the windows to get in, Alfie finds a chair and reaches up to turn the doorknob, letting everyone in. This entire series is delightful, with artwork that is both realistic and gauzy; most of all, it's Hughes' perfect grasp of the preschool world, where discovery and wonder is matched by awkwardness, innocence and timidity. A sheer delight. (This story is also included in an anthology book, listed below.) (A)


"Alfie's Feet"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1982)

(A)


"Alfie Gives A Hand"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1983)

One of the sweetest books in this series, in which a shy, quiet Alfie is invited to a birthday party for the very first time, armed with his security blanket, but winds up setting it aside so he can help cheer up a little girl who is more even timid than he... The story, the artwork, the pacing are all perfect, as is the ambiance of the story -- you really feel like you're there with Alfie, seeing things through his eyes... For little readers, this can be a real eye-opening book, modeling simple (but potentially challenging) social interactions, and defusing some of the anxiety shy kids might feel at parties and similar events. A really charming story in which Alfie emerges as a gentle hero. Recommended! (A)


"An Evening At Alfie's"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1984)

A babysitting gig goes awry when the pipes burst and water floods the house... As Maureen the babysitter scrambles to clean things up, Alfie innocently ambles about, putting his toy boats in the water buckets and splashing in the puddles... But in the end, he's the only one who knows how to get his little sister, Annie Rose, to stop crying and go back to sleep. An action-packed story, but a very human, realistic scale, with Hughes' trademark artwork perfectly complimenting the text. Sweet. (A-)


"Bath Water's Hot"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Walker/William Morrow, 1985)

(Part of Hughes's "Nursery Collection" series.) (-)


"Colours"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Walker, 1985)

(Part of Hughes's "Nursery Collection" series.) (-)


"Noisy"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Walker, 1985)

(Part of Hughes's "Nursery Collection" series.) (-)


"Two Shoes, New Shoes"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Walker, 1985)

(Part of Hughes's "Nursery Collection" series.) (-)


"The Big Alfie And Annie Rose Storybook"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Lathrop, Lee & Shepard, 1988)

This book combines poems and stories -- not necessarily the best of the Alfie and Annie Rose ouvre, but if you love the characters, this gives you more material to plow through. The siblings share breakfast, look through a family photo album and go to a wedding... Best of all, there's a story featuring Alfie's friend, Bernard, who comes over for a visit and charms little Annie Rose. (A)


"Tales Of Trotter Street"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Lathrop, Lee & Shepard, 1988)

Aimed at an older crowd than the Alfie books, this volume collects four stories set in Trotter Street, with a new cast of characters, bigger kids who are no less intrigued by the adult world. The stories are much denser and the characters less compelling -- overall, I'd say this is less interesting than Hughes' other work, a bit lumbersome, actually. Stories include "Angel Mae," "The Big Concrete Lorry," "Wheels" and "The Snow Lady," none of which really held our interest. (C+)


"The Big Alfie Out Of Doors Storybook"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Lathrop, Lee & Shepard, 1992)

Another nice, though late, entry in the Alfie and Annie Rose ouvre. This includes four nice stories with outdoorsy themes... "Shop" features the kids setting up an imaginary store in their back yard, using leaves, twigs and seeds as their means of exchange. In "Alfie Goes Camping," Alfie and Dad set up a tent in a field near Grandmother's country home -- the field already has an occupant, though, an inquisitive pig who won't go away, causing the lads to pack up camp in the middle of the night. "Lost Sheep" is less gripping, although also true to life, as far as farmyard stories go: Alfie and Gran go for a walk and find a neighboring sheep that has slipped out of its meadow. They try to herd the ewe back into the field, but every time they try to approach it, it scampers farther away -- finally they leave the sheep alone, and it finds its own way home. The jewel of this book is a story called "Bonting," in which Alfie finds a pretty rock that he gives a name and takes with him whereever he goes. When he takes Bonting to the beach, though, he learns a lesson in forgetfulness and loss (although the story still has a happy ending!) There are also a couple of poems, though they seem rather incidental. Overall, a nice book, worth checking out if you liked all the others. Lovely artwork. (B)


"Olly And Me: Giving"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Walker/Candlewick, 1993)

(-)


"Olly And Me: Bouncing"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Walker/Candlewick, 1993)

(-)


"Olly And Me: Hiding"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Walker/Candlewick, 1994)

A preschooler-age girl plays hide-and-seek all through the house with Olly the toddler, and they look at other things that hide all around them -- the sun behind the clouds, flowers under the ground, daddy behind the morning paper, the family dog when it's time to take a bath. Another perfect book with Hughes' mix of warmth, whimsy and wonderful artwork. (A)


"Olly And Me: Let's Join In"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Walker/Candlewick, 1993)

(-)


"Rhymes For Annie Rose"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Lathrop, Lee & Shepard, 1995)

Poems -- some of the most lavish use of Hughes' artwork, with expansive two-page spreads attending the text... Nice stuff! (A)


"All About Alfie"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Lathrop, Lee & Shepard, 1997)

This handsomely bound book gathers several of the smaller books together: Alfie Gets In First, Alfie's Feet, Alfie Gives A Hand, and An Evening At Alfie's. Great stuff...! (A)


"Alfie's Numbers"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Bodley Head, 1999)

(Also called Alfie's 1-2-3.) (-)


"Things I Like"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Walker, 2001)

(-)


"Alfie Weather"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Bodley Head, 2001)

(-)


"Annie Rose Is My Little Sister"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Candlewick, 2004)

Another Hughes classic -- a family portrait told from Alfie's point of view, showing Annie Rose through his eyes... Sometimes she's a pest, but mostly she's a companion, and a witness to Alfie's own discovery of life. (A)


"Olly And Me"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Candlewick, 2004)

(B)


"Alfie Wins A Prize"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Bodley Head, 2004)

(-)


"Alfie And The Big Boys"
Written by Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Shirley Hughes
(Transworld Publishers, 2007)

(-)




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