J. P. Martin (1880--1966) was born in Yorkshire into a family of Methodist ministers. He took up the family vocation, serving when young as a missionary to a community of South African diamond miners and then, during the First World War, as an army chaplain in Palestine and Egypt, before returning to minister to parishes throughout the north of England. Martin began telling Uncle stories to entertain his children, who later asked him to write them down so that they could read them to their own children; the stories were finally published as a book in 1964, when Martin was eighty-four.
Quentin Blake is one of Britain's best-loved and most successful illustrators and children's book authors. He has illustrated nearly three hundred books. He has also illustrated classic books for adults, and created his own characters such as Mister Magnolia and Mrs. Armitage. He taught at the Royal College of Art, where he was head of the Illustration Department from 1978 to 1986. He has won many awards and prizes, and was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2005. He was appointed the first Children's Laureate in 1999.show more