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Helen Craig

Biography

Helen Craig

Helen Craig was born in London in 1934. She moved to the country with her family just before World War II. Many of the images from this country life have been incorporated into her illustrations in the Angelina Ballerina books. As a child, Ms. Craig realized how important children's books were to her: "I would almost enter the pictures and become so absorbed that I would wait, expecting the figures to move. Now that I am an illustrator myself, I try to make my pictures live for the children who look at them."

At the age of 16, Ms. Craig became an apprentice to a commercial photographer in London. She went on to set up her own photographic studio, as well as worked as a freelance potter and sculptor. During all this time, she did drawings only for her own pleasure. It was not until her son, Ben, was born in 1965 that she experimented with ideas for children's picture books. She was inspired by Maurice Sendak's WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE after buying it for Ben. In 1970, Ms. Craig took the advice of a friend and took her drawings to an editor at Macmillan Books. From then on, her career as a children's illustrator took off.

Ms. Craig has now worked on over 60 children's book titles. The most famous are her illustrations for the Angelina Ballerina series written by Katharine Holabird; theirs is a great partnership that has lasted since 1983. The books deal with childhood themes such as jealousy, shyness, happiness, wonder, and dedication. The series has inspired a new animated series, with spin-off titles and a brand-new title, ANGELINA AND HENRY, coming from Pleasant Company in autumn 2002.

Ms. Craig received an award from the Society of Authors (U.S.) in 1977 for THE MOUSE HOUSE ABC and won the Kentucky Bluegrass Award for ANGELINA BALLERINA in 1985. ANGELINA'S CHRISTMAS was selected as the Child Study Association's Children's Book of the Year in 1987; ANGELINA'S BIRTHDAY won a category award at the British Book Design and Production Exhibition in 1990; and THE TOWN MOUSE AND COUNTRY MOUSE was short-listed for England's prestigious Smarties Book Prize in 1992. From one of her other series, This Is The Bear, written by Sarah Hayes, THIS IS THE BEAR AND THE BAD LITTLE GIRL was named a 1995 American Bookseller Pick of the Lists.

Ms. Craig lives in a 300-year-old cottage in Buckinghamshire, England, where she illustrates her books for children.

Helen Craig

Books by Helen Craig

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction, Performing Arts

Angelina is feeling very grown-up. Miss Lilly has asked her to help out in the beginners’ ballet class. So Angelina gives away her babyish toys, including the little rag doll she’s had since she was a tiny mouseling. But what happens when Angelina starts missing her doll? Is it too late to get her back?

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Supernatural

For the first time ever, Angelina is visiting the most famous city in Mouseland: the Big Cheese! She can’t wait to explore the city and perform her fairy ballet. But her cousin Jeanie tells Angelina that tap dancing is much better than ballet. How can the two girls overcome their differences and learn to work together in time for the big show?

written by Katharine Holabird and illustrated by Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction, Performing Arts

Angelina has been invited to a wedding at the summer palace of Mouseland. What could be more exciting?

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction, Performing Arts

Angelina Ballerina is the winner of two tickets to a ballet! Who will she choose to take with her? The answer can be found in the six envelopes inside this book!

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction, Performing Arts

Miss Lilly is having a party, and Angelina wants to look very special. So she borrows her mother’s special locket without asking. Angelina has so much fun at the party, but when it is time to leave, she can’t find the locket! What will Angelina do?

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction

Angelina and Henry visit the Royal Palace of Mouseland to help teach the princesses a special ballet for the King and Queen's wedding anniversary. To Angelina's horror, Miss Lilly is confined to her bed with a terrible cold and Angelina is asked to be in charge. When she finds the 'perfect' princesses squabbling in the ballroom, she realizes they are just like other mouselings and loses her nerves. She soon teaches them to be magic fairies and the ballet is a great success.

written by Katharine Holabird, illustrated by Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction

Come along as Angelina spins, twirls and dances her way through Miss Lilly's ballet class. With instructions for each step, little girls can learn to dance just like Angelina!

written by Katharine Holabird with illustrations by Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction

When Angelina finds an injured butterfly in the park, she takes it home to care for it...then doesn't want to part with it.  It's Henry who sets an adventure in motion that underscores a message all young children can understand.

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig - Children's, Children's 3-6, Fiction, Holiday, Performing Arts

Angelina loves dancing with her friends and spending time with her family. Find out what else Angelina loves in this charming book!

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina and her grandparents are traveling by boat to the Mouseland Dance Festival! Angelina can't wait to perform, and she's so busy practicing her steps that she has little time to help her grandparents with all the work that needs to be done on board. When she disobeys her grandmother and ruins her festival costume, Angelina is devastated --- until Grandma shows her what it truly means to be the star of the show.

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Uncle Louie takes Angelina and Henry on a camping trip in the Big Cat Mountains. They are both very excited but they soon learn it's hard work climbing a mountain trail and setting up a camp. When Uncle Louie tells them to gather firewood they wander off into the woods to play. Before long Angelina and Henry are lost and it's starting to get dark and stormy!

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina's parents tell her she's going to have a baby sister. Hooray! Angelina can't wait! But after Polly arrives, Angelina is jealous of all the attention her new baby sister is getting. No one seems to notice Angelina at all anymore. Read this charming tale about what happens in the family when a new baby is born, and how her parents and grandparents help Angelina to know that she's still special, too.

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Everyone in the village is getting ready for Christmas. Angelina's mother is baking and decorating, and Angelina is helping. When they decide to take a tree and presents to old Mr. Bell's house, Henry doesn't want to go. He's in tears because he wants to see Father Christmas. How can Angelina and her parent's help Henry learn what the real spirit of Christmas is all about?

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina can't wait for spring to come so she can go to the May Day Fair. When the big day comes Angelina wants to go with her friends, but she's angry when her parents make her drag little cousin Henry along. They ride the Ferris Wheel and the roller coaster, but Henry is scared of going so high and so fast. Angelina decides that Henry would enjoy the Haunted House, but while they're inside Henry disappears! What will Angelina do now?

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

When Angelina and Alice meet at school they become fast friends. They both were really good at doing all kinds of tricks except for one thing. Angelina couldn't do a handstand now matter how hard she tried. Soon the other children were pointing and giggling and Alice is too! Angelina is so hurt and embarrassed she begins to cry. Who will be her partner now in gym class?

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina just loves to twirl and leap and dance all day. But she loves dancing so much it's getting her into trouble, too. She doesn't want to clean her room or go to school, and she's always bumping and jumping into things and breaking them. Mr. and Mrs. Mouseling don't know what to do with her. Then Mr. Mouseling comes up with a plan --- ballet school!

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina decides to enter a bike race just before her birthday with her best friend Alice. But when she has an accident, her bike gets broken. She's really down in the dumps, so her mother suggests she find a way to earn some money for a new bike. Angelina works hard and saves up her money, but little does she know that her birthday is about to be even more special than she had imagined!

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina and her friends are making plans for the New Year's Eve celebration. They are putting on an ice-skating show for the village, so they have to practice hard. When a couple of boys from school start teasing the ballerinas during rehearsal, everyone is upset. But leave it to Angelina to come up with a great idea for having the boys work on the show with them, so it will become a huge success.

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Henry just loves to go to his cousin Angelina's ballet class and pretend to be a dancer. He doesn't do the steps quite right, but he still enjoys himself. One day the teacher, Miss Lilly, tells Angelina she gets to be a magic fairy in a musical. Angelina is thrilled until she learns that Henry is going to be in the show too.

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Miss Lilly's Ballet School is invited to perform for the Princess. Angelina was hoping to be the star, but Miss Lilly puts her into a minor role instead. See how Angelina makes the best of things and helps all the performers to shine!

written by Katharine Holabird; illustrated by Helen Craig

Angelina loves dressing up to go trick-or-treating, and this year she and Alice have decided to be dancing fireflies. Her little sister Polly wants to go with them, so Mrs. Mouseling makes her a little ghost costume. As they dance from door to door they're joined by Spike and Sammy who dare them to go inside a big, empty, spooky house. It's pretty scary, but they all make it back out. Or do they?