English author Philippa Pearce is probably best known for her classic book, Tom's Midnight Garden and while I have some very good readers not many of them are ready for this by the end of Year 2. However, I do make sure my good readers meet Philippa Pearce. They read The Little Gentleman, a lovely story about a talking mole and The Battle of Bubble and Squeak, a story about a family who have two gerbils. Philippa's last book, A Finder's Magic was written for her two grandsons. It is illustrated by the boys' other grandmother Helen Craig. What lucky boys! This book is not action-packed enough for the children I have recommended it to. Like many of her books it is about the relationship between the young and old and perhaps my readers are still too young to appreciate this theme.
Helen Craig has a connection to the other birthday girl too. She is the illustrator of American author Katharine Holabird's Angelina Ballerina very successful series of books. Every little girl who comes into the library gives the Angelina doll a hug and goes through the box of Angelina books looking for one that they haven't taken home before. Katharine moved to England when she married and worked as a journalist. This is when she met Helen Craig. Now Angelina Ballerina is a marketing phenomena with books, toys, television programs and videos.