10 February 2008

My Brown Bear Barney is a much-loved book

The 2008 Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a much-loved book has been awarded to the classic picture book by Dorothy Butler and Elizabeth Fuller - My Brown Bear Barney.

Barney is a favourite around the world, this book being the first in a series that sees a young girl going through her everyday life with her teddy bear companion. Young children love to see their own lives reflected in the books they read and that's a major reason for the popularity of these titles. Dorothy is a great advocate of keeping stories for young children simple and her many picture books have strived to do just this - creating books that are treasured and re-read many times.

My Brown Bear Barney was published by Reed Methuen in 1988, followed by two sequels, My Brown Bear Barney at School (1994) and My Brown Bear Barney at the Party (2001).

Dorothy Butler, who lives at Karekare Beach in West Auckland, has been a foremost author and advocate for children’s books for more than 40 years, with her children's bookshop in Auckland providing quality books for children for many years, and her acclaimed books on reading to babies and young children Babies need Books and Five to Eight offering guidance to parents on how to share books with their children and her many picture books including the Barney series. Dorothy's in her eighties now but still writing with two new picture books in the Tales of Old New Zealand series published in the last two years.

Elizabeth Fuller is well known for her images for Joy Cowley’s international best-seller Mrs Wishy-Washy, along with many school reader titles and her other bear stories by Diana Noonan - The Best-dressed Bear and The Best-loved Bear and another of Dorothy's books O'Reilly and the Real Bears.

The award will be presented at the Storylines annual Margaret Mahy Day in Auckland on Saturday 29 March 2008, which will also include the Margaret Mahy Lecture from Kids' Lit Quiz quizmaster Wayne Mills, and other Storylines awards. An enjoyable day for anyone interested in children's books. See www.storylines.org.nz for more info about this event.

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