Julia and Malcolm Donaldson
are The Owl & The Pussy Cat from The Owl and the Pussy-cat , (1871), by Edward Lear
Julia Donaldson grew up in London and loved playing imaginary games with her sister, Mary. After studying Drama and French at Bristol University, she went travelling and busking with Malcolm, whom she later married. The busking led to folk-club performances and songwriting for children’s television, and in 1993 the words of her song “A Squash and A Squeeze” were made into a book, the first of many illustrated by Axel Scheffler. As well as continuing to write and perform songs, Julia has written nearly 200 books, including rhymes and stories for younger children, novels for older readers and teenagers, plays for schools, and a reading scheme called Songbird Phonics. She is best known for The Gruffalo, voted the nation’s favourite bedtime story, which has sold over 10 million copies and appeared on stage and screen. While Children’s Laureate (2011–2013), Julia campaigned to protect libraries, to promote books for and about deaf children, and to encourage children to perform stories, plays and poems. Malcolm Donaldson is a consultant and lecturer specialising in child health.