LONDON – Judith Kerr, the writer and illustrator behind the classic children’s book “The Tiger Who Came to Tea” has died at the age of 95, her publisher HarperCollins said on Thursday.
Kerr, who was also known for her popular series of books centered around the character Mog the cat, died at her home on Wednesday following a short illness.
“Judith Kerr was a wonderful and inspiring person who was much loved by everyone at HarperCollins,” the publisher’s CEO Charlie Redmayne said in a statement.
“She was a brilliantly talented artist and storyteller who has left us an extraordinary body of work,” he added.
Redmayne described Kerr as “very, very funny,” adding that she “loved life and loved people – and she particularly loved a party.”
Executive publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh said the late author, who had a 50-year history working with HarperCollins, often visited the offices and had been “excellent company and a joy to publish.”
Murtagh said: “Her characters and books have delighted generations of children and provided some of the first and fondest reading memories of childhood.”
Kerr was born in Berlin on June 14, 1925.
Her family left Germany in 1933 to escape the rise of the Nazi party and ended up in England, according to a statement.
In the United Kingdom, she studied at the Central School of Art and later became a scriptwriter at the BBC before going on to become a renowned author.
“The Tiger Who Came to Tea,” which first came out in 1970, sold more than five million copies and has never gone out of print.
Mog the cat, who first appeared in “Mog the Forgetful Cat” in 1970, featured in more than 15 titles, while “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit” (1971) was semi-autobiographical and told the story of her family’s escape from Germany through children’s eyes.
Upon fleeing Berlin, Kerr’s family first went to Switzerland and France before arriving in England.
Just last week, Kerr was named illustrator of the year at the British Book Awards.
Murtagh said Kerr had been “absolutely thrilled when I gave her the news” that she had been given the award.