After my Bloomsbury ‘detour’ on Saturday, I headed up to Camden to meet my knitting friend Lucy at the Jewish Museum to see the Judith Kerr retrospective.
I have no doubt, that just like me, so many of you were first introduced to Judith Kerr’s writing at school, through her hugely important book, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and is one of first books I have a clear memory of reading over and over again.
About 8 years ago, when I was running a children’s book department, Judith’s first illustrated children’s book, the wonderful The Tiger Who Came to Tea and her later Mog series, were some of the most popular books and I was very lucky that she agreed to come and do a public book signing one Christmas. She arrived rather late and was actually quite ill with a nasty cold, but being a true professional she didn’t want to let her readers down. There was quite a queue of people waiting for her, including Lucy who I then didn’t know as I hadn’t yet rediscovered knitting – it was the following year at Skip North that we made the connection…such a small world we live in!
Chatting to Judith is a joy; she is gracious, kind, funny and a true lady who exudes a warmth that makes you want to sit down beside her and listen to all the stories she could tell – she’s absolute inspiration and I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to meet her.
This retrospective was first on display at Seven Stories in Newcastle and has toured to other cities around the country. It is packed with original illustrations which Judith donated to the Seven Stories archive for safekeeping and so they would be accessible to the nation – she is an absolute treasure!
There are drawings from her early childhood, through her teenage and art school years, along with designs for textiles, her early illustrated books right up to recently published work. Her stories are all very personal and hugely touching and she has never shied away from telling children about the darker side of life but in her own gentle way.
A few spoilers for you…
The exhibition is incredibly child friendly with a giant Tiger set up in his own kitchen with lots and lots to eat!
There’s also Mog outfits for dress-up and a huge cat basket to curl up in and read stories. Lucy had a go…
I highly recommend the show and know a few of you have already mentioned visiting it whilst it was on display elsewhere and only have good things to say about it. The entrance fee includes access to the rest of the displays at the museum and I will talk about a few of those at a later date. Tiger, Mog and Pink Rabbit: A Judith Kerr Retrospective runs until 14th October 2015 at the Jewish Museum.
After such a busy morning we felt we deserved a treat and headed up to Camden Lock where broknots and beards abound at Chin Chin Labs, and their signature liquid nitrogen powered ice cream is made to order right in front of you:
I went for the strawberry and hay with an extra topping of properly honey flavoured honeycomb:
Lucy indulged in Valrhona chocolate with fleur de sel caramel sauce that gave me a certain amount of food envy!
I miss London terribly but the city streets aren’t too far away and visiting is always a pleasure:
Thank you Lucy for being a good sport and agreeing that everyone should see you in a Mog outfit, and if you ever think your signed copy of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit needs a new home then you know where I am!