German illustrator Wolf Erlbruch, best known for his illustrations in The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business (by Werner Holzwarth), died December 11. He was 74. The Bookseller reported that the book "was the starting point of Erlbruch's career as a book illustrator in 1989. The U.K. edition was published by Pavilion Books in 1994, which became part of Farshore last year. It has sold over three million copies to date according to the publisher."
Melissa Fairley, publishing director at Farshore, called the work "a modern classic that has delighted children and adults for years. Wolf Erlbruch's witty illustrations manage that rare feat of balancing charm with cheekiness. Wolf's eye for the ridiculous is second to none and though he is no longer with us, his funny and furious little mole will ensure his legacy lives on."
The many honors Erlbruch received for his work included the 2006 Hans Christian Andersen Award and the 2014 E.O. Plauen Prize. In 2017, the Swedish Cultural Council presented him with the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, which paid tribute this week on Twitter: "Wolf Erlbruch's compelling and innovative visual language will continue to inspire his colleagues and echo in the work of contemporary illustrators around the world."
The International Board on Books for Young People tweeted: "What a loss for children's literature everywhere. IBBY's thoughts are with Erlbruch's loved ones." Gecko Press noted: " 'You've come to fetch me?'/ Oh, I've been close by all your life--just in case.' We are very sad to hear of the death of Wolf Erlbruch this week. Duck, Death and the Tulip is a much-loved book that we are proud to have published in English. It is wise, compassionate and brave."