Pilling, Ann

About the author

Ann Pilling was born in Lancashire in 1944. She studied English at King’s College, London, and she has written over 30 books for children as well as two adult novels. She won the Guardian Prize for Children’s Fiction with Henry’s Leg, and has been commended twice for the Carnegie Medal. Until recently Ann Pilling lived in Oxford but she has now moved to Yorkshire, where she writes poetry.

Her picture book The Donkey’s Day Out was inspired by an item Ann Pilling saw on the television news. A Grand National runner would go nowhere without his friend, a donkey. She went on to think about the donkey: ‘I began to wonder what would happen to it if its friend really did win. Would they stroke it and fuss it, take photographs, put flowers round its neck? Or would it be shut away in a horse-box somewhere, or left in a lonely field, while its friend got all the praise and glory?’ The resulting story is a picture book with more than normal depth, touching on the fickleness of friendship and fame.

Finding the book
Easy to find in both hardback and paperback.

Sources and links:
Ann Pilling’s website
An interview with Ann Pilling on Wordpool (no longer extant)


The Donkey’s Day Out

Lion Publishing plc, Oxford, 1990, illus Sheila Ratcliffe, HB
Lion Publishing plc, Oxford, 1992, illus Sheila Ratcliffe, PB

Fred the donkey lives at Hoggart’s Farm, but the farmer is retiring, and the farmer’s son is going into horses. What will happen to Fred? Fred soon has a new friend – a racehorse called Tarquin, but Tarquin doesn’t provide lasting happiness – that has to wait until the local children are celebrating Palm Sunday.