Mastered: Children's Author
Allan has written more than 100 children’s books, many of which were illustrated by his late wife Janet, including the award-winning picture books 'Each Peach Pear Plum' and 'The Jolly Postman' - both winners of the Kate Greenaway Medal.
Probably their greatest success was The Jolly Postman, published by Heinemann in 1986; Allan Ahlberg told The Guardian in 2006 that it had sold over six million copies. It made innovative use of envelopes to include letters, cards, games and a tiny book.
The Jolly Postman required five years to make, and much discussion with the Heinemann and the printer before it was issued in 1986. It won many awards including the Kurt Maschler Award for integrated writing and illustration. There were two sequels, The Jolly Christmas Postman (1991), for which Janet won her second Greenaway Medal, and The Jolly Pocket Postman (1995).
Working together, the Ahlbergs produced many popular books for a range of ages. Some, such as Peepo! and The Baby's Catalogue are aimed at babies and toddlers. For older children, they wrote books such as Burglar Bill, Cops and Robbers, Funnybones and the Happy Families series. Allan also wrote two books of verses, Heard it in the Playground and Please, Mrs Butler, which Janet illustrated, and more text-heavy books such as Woof!
Photo: Joel Redman