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Ron Brooks is one of Australia’s best-known illustrators. Born in New South Wales in 1948, Ron spent most of his childhood in Gippsland, Victoria, messing about in billy carts, cubby houses and with boats on the beach, in the bush and on nearby islands. He later headed off to Melbourne art schools, Swinburne and RMIT, to try to learn how to draw.
Ron Brooks had produced a large number of beautiful Australian picture books and is probably best known for the classic Australian picture book, John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat, written by Jenny Wagner. Other well-known publications include The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek, Motor Bill and the Lovely Caroline (both with Jenny Wagner), Henry’s Bed and Henry’s Bath (with Margaret Perversi) and Old Pig and Rosie and Tortoise (with Margaret Wild). In 2001, Fox, also written by Margaret Wild, won the CBCA Picture Book of the Year, Best Children’s Book in the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards and the Patricia Wrightson Prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
He again teamed with Margaret Wild to produce The Dream of the Thylacine, a shimmering encounter with the Tasmanian tiger. This book laments the passing of the Australian native animal and celebrates its uniqueness through big, bold illustrations.
Ron now bases himself in Tasmania where he writes, designs and illustrates picture books for kids and for anybody else who is interested. He sees himself as a ‘book-maker’ rather than just an illustrator and states, “I am strongly committed as an artist to the genre of children’s picture books, but that passion of involvement has more to do with the wonder of what happens between good writing, good pictures and the young reader.”