He has worked with Michael Morpurgo on many
occasions, and has written books that are nearly all set in,
or after, World War II, such as War Boy.
Michael Foreman is possibly one of the most popular
and prolific illustrators of modern children's books.
Born in Pakefield, Suffolk in 1938, he grew up near
Lowestoft and studied at Lowestoft School of Art
and later at the Royal College of Art, where he won
a scholarship to the U.S. After graduating,
he lectured at St Martin's School of Art and then
moved to Chicago where he worked as Art director
of Playboy. He later returned to London and worked
as Art Director of King. He returned to lecturing in 1967
and has since worked at the Royal College of Art, the
London School of Printing and the Central School of Art.
His career as an illustrator began in 1961 when he
illustrated the Comic Alphabet written by Eric Partridge
and published by Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Over the years he has illustrated books by Charles Dickens,
Oscar Wilde, Roald Dahl, Rudyard Kipling and many
others as well as writing and illustrating his own books.
He has also designed Christmas stamps for the
Post Office and regularly contributed to
American and European magazines.
Foreman has over 180 books to his name.
His array of prizes including the
Kate Greenaway Medal (twice), the Smarties Book Prize,
the Kurt Maschler Award, the Children's Book Award,
the Bologna Book Prize and the Francis William's
Illustration Award (twice). Exhibitions of his work
have been held in Europe, America and Japan.
His colorful book War and Peas is about a king
(depicted as a lion wearing a suit of armor) who
begs food from a rich nation, only to have to battle
the Fat King's army men amid towering piles of
oversized food. The book can be seen as a parody
of the struggle between Great Britain and
Northern Ireland. Penni Cotton notes in
Picture Books Sans Frontières the way that Foreman
has the king and his impoverished subjects
appear washed-out and faded in the beginning.
Fox Tale is a children’s book about a litter of Foxes
who live an urban life rather than a rural life.
This is particularly appropriate considering the
number of Foxes that now live in the cities.
”Mother always kept us warm
and safe. Father went hunting
in the night and brought us food}
I will never forget the first time
I peeped outside the den. The air
was so fresh it took my breath away.
The birds were singing to the
rising sun and a cool breeze rustled
the leaves of early spring”
Trains are known in this children’s book as whirlwinds.
Mother’s advice was very sound
“Never, ever, go on the tracks of the whirlwinds”