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Service very prompt, and the book was exceptionally well packed. A nice firm to deal with. September 2014

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BB
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

BILL BADGER AND THE PIRATES
BB, . Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 1309833
Hamish Hamilton. 4th. 1967. Very good condition in a very good dustwrapper. A Reindeer Book. Yellow boards, blue title to spine and reindeer vignette to front cover. 138 pages. B/w illustrations. Spine and corners slightly bumped. Top edge of textblock is slightly dusty else contents fine. Price-cut wrapper is slightly grubby with a number of cup marks to rear panel and also ever so slightly edge rubbed. [R]
Price: £120.00
MONTY WOODPIG'S CARAVAN
BB, . Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 1309832
Edmund Ward. 1st. 1957. Very good condition in an almost very good dustwrapper. Yellow boards, green title to spine and vignette to front cover. 4 wonderful colour plates plus b/w text illustrations. Monty was a Bachelor Hedgehog of settled habits but he was lonely... Spine and corners slightly bumped. Foxing and fingering to textblock else covers and contents clean. Dustwrapper is grubby and edge torn with slight loss to base of spine, price removed from front flap. [R]
Price: £425.00
THE SHOOTING MAN'S BEDSIDE BOOK
BB, . Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 1501288
Eyre & Spottiswoode. 1st. 1948. Almost very good condition with no wrapper. Limp burgundy calf binding, gilt titles and borders with vignette to front cover. 479pp plus game record pages at rear. 6.5 x 4". Top and bottom of spine very worn with a little loss. Corners bumped. Corners and cover edges rubbed. A couple of small indentations to cover edges and marks to covers. Name and date in ink to front endpaper. Front joint cracked next to frontis, rear joint cracked. Contents very good. [R]
Price: £34.00
THE FISHERMAN'S BEDSIDE BOOK
BB, . Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 1501287
Eyre & Spottiswoode. 1st. 1945. Very good condition with no wrapper. Something unique for all lovers of angling, a selection from some of the best descriptive writing in English, practical advice, unusual adventures, records, everything which can recall for fishermen the pleasures of their chosen sport. Illustrated thoughout with BB's dramatic woodcuts. 568 pages. Small format, 6.75" x 4.25" Dark blue cloth with gilt lettering and vignette. Spine bumped, rubbed and slightly faded. Corners bumped. Cover edges and corners rubbed. Name in ink to front endpaper. [R]
Price: £38.00
TIDE'S ENDING
BB, . Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 1501286
Hollis & Carter. 1st. 1950. Very good condition with no wrapper. 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 title to spine. 16 glorious colour illustrations plus b/w drawings. Spine a little bumped, corners lightly rubbed. Covers ever so slightly grubby. Small amount of wrinkling to cloth along bottom edge of rear cover. Endpapers partially browned. Odd grubby fingermark to contents but mostly clean and bright. [R]
Price: £35.00
THE WAYFARING TREE
BB, . Illustrated by BB, . Stock no. 1501285
Hollis & Carter. 1st. 1945. Very good condition in a very good dustwrapper. Light blue cloth with silver lettering to spine and vignette of flying geese to front cover. B/w wood engravings throughout. An attractive country book from the pen of "BB" in which he looks back to his boyhood, tells of the friends he made, of expeditions in search of birds and first attempts at fishing and shooting. 8.75x6.5". 198 pages. Spine and corners a little rubbed. Small name and date in ink to front endpaper and small booksellers sticker to pastedown. Three small puncture holes on front endpaper which also affect next few pages as far as contents page. Contents very good. Dustwrapper edge worn and ever so slightly grubby. [R]
Price: £45.00

 
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