Special front cover of The Big Issue created by Gruffalo illustrator

The latest edition of The Big Issue has a special front cover created by Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo, featuring many characters from his popular books with Julia Donaldson.

Under the theme All Together Now!, the brightly coloured cover incorporates characters, clapping and cheering for Princess Pearl and Sir Gadabout – the flying doctors who feature in a book with Zog, the dragon, who acts as their air ambulance.

Axel Scheffler said: “Having lived in London for more than 30 years I’m very aware of The Big Issue and its importance. Here are Princess Pearl and Sir Gadabout, the flying doctors, on Zog’s back. They are very busy these days – let’s not question my drawing of their PPE – and well deserve the applause from the other characters from our books.

“You can see The Gruffalo and Child, Stick Man and his family socially distanced from each other. Even the Highway Rat is applauding – he is not so bad after all. Poor Superworm can’t clap, but I think his eyes show that he is full of support of the flying doctors.”

Mr Scheffler first teamed up with Ms Donaldson in 1993 and the duo have collaborated on popular picture books including The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Stick Man, The Highway Rat and Zog – all of which have been made into award-winning animated films by Magic Light Pictures.

The Big Issue also includes an interview with Ms Donaldson in its regular feature Letter To My Younger Self, in which she says: “What would surprise the younger me most would probably be that I ended up being best known for writing children’s books.

The Gruffalo
A host of characters feature on the cover (The Big Issue)

“The Gruffalo sat on another publisher’s desk for months… Then Axel came along and he did a few sketches… I saw and I knew very, very quickly that was my Gruffalo and now I just couldn’t imagine him any other way. Axel has added so much humour and characterisation to my stories.”

The Big Issue editor Paul McNamee, said: “We have some of the most iconic creations in modern children’s literature saluting the great people doing so much and helping our Big Issue vendors who are going through so much.”

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, vendors aren’t able to sell on the streets, but the magazine can be downloaded on an app, read via subscriptions or bought from Sainsbury’s, the Co-op or McColls, with half of proceeds going to vendors.

:: Artwork by Axel Scheffler. Characters copyright © Julia Donaldson and A. Scheffler Ltd 2020. Books published by Alison Green Books (AGB) and Macmillan Children’s Books (MCB).

The front cover shows Zog and the Flying Doctors (AGB), Stick Man and Stick Family (AGB), The Highway Rat (AGB), The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child (MCB). Room on the Broom (MCB).

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