Julia Donaldson (born in 1948) is an English writer and playwright, best known as author of The Gruffalo and other children's books, many illustrated by German Axel Scheffler. Of her 157 published books, 56 are widely available in bookshops. The remaining 101 are intended for school use and include her "Songbirds" phonic reading scheme which is part of the Oxford Reading Tree. Her book The Snail and the Whale was named by Gordon Brown as one of his favourites. She originally wrote songs for children's television, but has concentrated on writing books since one of her songs, A Squash and a Squeeze was published in 1993. She has also written a number of plays for school drama groups.
Donaldson was born in 1948 and brought up in Hampstead, London with her younger sister, Mary. The family lived in a Victorian three-storey house near to Hampstead Heath where the sisters liked to play. Her parents, sister, and their pet cat named Geoffrey, lived on the ground floor; while an aunt and uncle lived on the first floor, and her granny lived on the second floor.
Donaldson's father studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford before serving World War II, being a...