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The Little Grey Men Go Down the Bright Stream


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About the Author

B.B. was the pen name of D. J. Watkins-Pitchford (1905–1990), who was born and raised in Northamptonshire, England. He studied at the Royal College of Art and was the art teacher at Rugby School in Warwickshire for many years. He married in 1939 and had two children; and in 1974 his wife died of exposure to pesticides from a neighbor’s garden. A painter, illustrator, and outdoorsman as well as a writer, B.B. wrote nearly sixty books for both children and adults and illustrated dozens more, all of which reflect his naturalist’s knowledge of and passion for the countryside. For more than fifty years he wrote a biweekly column for The Shooting Times (his pseudonym came from the size of the lead shot he used to hunt geese). The Little Grey Men, which was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1942, and its sequel, Down the Bright Stream, are two of his most well-known and best-loved books.


“A couple of years ago I found myself gazing at the cover of a book I’d loved as a child... I braced myself in case its magic had faded in the 40 years since it had been read to me at bedtime... I loved B.B.’s illustrations, the precise and detailed rendering of the natural history in the book, and most of all the feeling it gave me of a secret world to which I was being granted privileged access. I needn’t have worried. As I turned the pages I found myself enchanted all over again.” —Melinda Harrison on The Little Grey Men, The Guardian

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