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As good as ever, excellent transaction and item in best condition. September 2014


or Denys Watkins-Pitchford

Monty Woodpig's Caravan What puzzled me and, I guess, many people when they first come across BB's wonderful illustrations, is - why did Denys Watkins-Pitchford decide to use the pseudonym 'BB'? Well the explanation is quite simple - BB is the size of the lead shot used for goose shooting.

He decided that it was much more memorable than his real name, was instantly recognizable and gave his work an air of mystery. In this he definitely succeeded and the mystery continues for the uninitiated today.

Wild Lone by BBBB was born on 25 th July 1905 , the second son of twins, in Lamport, in the Northamptonshire countryside. His father, a rector, encouraged him to spend much of his boyhood exploring the countryside around the family home, Lamport Rectory, which was a spacious Queen Anne period house. It was at this early stage that BB developed his talent for drawing and painting, and at the age of 15 went to Northampton School of Art.

After art school BB obtained a position as assistant art master at Rugby School where he remained for 17 years. During his weekends at home he completed his first full length story, Wild Lone, about a one eared pytchley fox called Rufus. BB later wrote about this book "the story unfolded with a strange and quite frightening intensity - I could not write fast enough, it was as though my hand was guided by an invisible driving force". He completed the book in just eight weeks, sending it to the publishers Eyre & Spottiswoode along with the story Sportsman's Diary . Most unusually the publisher accepted both works, a great compliment for a young writer.

Little Grey Men by BBBB's fifth book and his first children's book, has the instantly memorable title of The Little Grey Men. It's an enchanting story of four gnomes - Sneezewort, Dooder, Cloudberry and Baldmoney, who live under an oak tree beside Folley Brook. This book was a well deserved winner of the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 1942. BB went on to write some 20 children's books including Down The Bright Stream , a sequel to Little Grey Men, and Monty Woodpig's Caravan - the story of a bachelor hedgehog of settled habits, who one day met a dormouse, Milly Gobbysim. They got married and set off on an adventurous honeymoon in Monty's caravan. Other children's books by BB include a series of nine books about Bill Badger in which Uncle Bill and Izzybizzy, his hedgehog friend, sail countless miles up and down the canals in their barge The Wandering Wind .

Monty WoodpigBB is a man of many interests, but one of his most consuming was his passion for the majestic Purple Emperor (Apasture Iris) butterfly. He realized that the butterfly was on the brink of extinction, and therefore spent long hours seeking it and finding its eggs and larvae which he raised in specially built outdoor breeding cages.

Right: Illustration from Monty Woodpig's Caravan.

CountryMan's Bedside Book

Another of BB passions was fishing about which he wrote several books. The first of these was The Fisherman's Bedside Book . This title is more common than his other fishing book because it was published in 1945 at the beginning of a revolution in the angling world, and therefore sold well as fisherman snapped up every title looking for new ideas. The Fisherman's Bedside Book was the third in the Bedside series of five books.


Sly Fox BB BB went on writing books well past his 70th birthday, although the frequency slowed down and the style became more reflective in tone. In all BB wrote and illustrated over 60 titles and also illustrated at least another 30 books written by other people, his illustrations being distinctive for their black and white scraperboard style. He was awarded the MBE for Contributions To Literature in 1989, and died a year later aged 85.

Since his death BB's books have become ever more sought after, mainly for his delightful yet simple illustrations. In the year 2000 a group of BB's fans founded the BB society, who now issue regular newsletters, an annual journal and conduct an ongoing programme of events.

You can find out more information about the BB Society on their website

Submitted by Adam Parker

A selection of BB books in stock

BB, . Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 1310253
Eyre & Spottiswoode. 1st. 1948. Very good condition in a good dustwrapper. Continuing the the story of the Little Grey Men who find themselves as refugees when they receive the appalling news that their beloved Folly is drying up and they must move at once. Fully illustrated with exquisite water-colours and fascinating little b/w sketches. 16 colour plates. Green cloth, gilt title to spine. 200 pages. Wonderful! Spine and corners bumped. Name and date in ink to front endpaper. Foxing, mainly to endpapers and page edges. Dustwrapper is edge chipped and torn, loss to top and tail of spine. [R]
Price: £140.00
BB, & Niall, Ian. Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 2110707
White Lion Books. 1998. Nearly fine condition in a nearly fine dustwrapper. Compiled by BB. Foreword by Niall. B/w illustrations. Light wear to spine and corners. Wrapper spine is faded. [S] 1874762023.
Price: £10.00
BB, . Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 2110403
Hollis & Carter. 1st. 1950. Very good condition in an almost very good dustwrapper. A book of the joy of the tideways, saltings and creeks. Memorable word-pictures for wild-fowler, naturalist and bird-watcher alike. Grey cloth, gilt titles. 16 glorious colour illustrations plus b/w drawings. A few small marks to covers. Light wear to edges. Inscription in ink to front endpaper. Some page browning and foxing - mostly to endpapers. Wrapper is price-cut with couple of repaired closed tears; foxed with damp stain to spine. [S]
Price: £90.00
BB, . Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 2110402
Kaye & Ward Ltd.. 1st. 1967. Very good condition in a very good dustwrapper. BB forsakes his familiar caravan and Landrover and embarks on the motor cruiser Jolly Enterprise on the quiet byway of the River Nene in Northamptonshire. Green mottled boards, gilt title to spine. Green endpapers. B/w illustrations throughout. Colour frontispiece. 158 pages. 10 x 6 inches. Heavy bump to bottom edge of front cover. Page browning. Wrapper is edge-creased with a few nicks and some grubby marks. [S]
Price: £90.00
BB, . Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 2110401
Michael Joseph. 1st. 1984. Fine condition in a nearly fine dustwrapper. BB, in his personal Indian Summer, records his own vivid impressions of summer's end. Green boards, gilt title to spine. Exquisite scraperboard illustrations. 183 pages. Wrapper is lightly edge-creased. [S] 0718123670.
Price: £60.00
BB, . Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 2110400
Michael Joseph. 1978. Fine condition in a nearly fine dustwrapper. The much loved naturalist, artist and author recalls his early life. B/w illustrations. Black cloth, gilt title to spine. 168 pages. Reprinted before publication. Wrapper is lightly edge-worn with some very pale browning. [S] 0718116909.
Price: £80.00

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