Shirley Hughes was born and grew up in West Kirby, near Liverpool. She studied at Liverpool Art School and at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford, before embarking on a career as a freelance illustrator. At first she worked as an interpretive illustrator, but she began to write and design her own picture books when her children were very young. Her first book, Lucy and Tom's Day, was published in 1960. Now living in London's Notting Hill, Shirley Hughes has illustrated over two hundred children's books. She was honoured with an O. B. E. in 1999 for her outstanding contribution to children's literature and has been the recipient of the Other Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal and the prestigious Eleanor Farjeon Award.