Racey Helps

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Racey Helps
Occupation Children's author, illustrator
Genres Children's literature

Angus Clifford Racey Helps (1913–1970) was an English children's author and illustrator. His books were written in a simple style and feature woodland creatures and birds, with illustrations by the author. He is known also for illustrating postcards, greeting cards, jigsaw puzzles, playing cards and wrapping paper.

Biography[edit]

Helps was born in Bristol in 1913 to Clifford R. Helps and his wife Dorothy (née Davis), who had married in Cardiff in 1911.[1] He spent his childhood in the hamlet of Chelvey, Somerset. He was privately educated at a vicarage and later at Bristol Cathedral School. On leaving school he entered the antiquarian book business and attended the West of England College of Art.

Helps married Irene Orr on 8 April 1936. A daughter, Anne, was born in July 1937, and a son, Julian, in 1949 or 1950.[2] He used to tell his young daughter a bedtime story every night. His first success as an author and artist came during World War II with stories written for her. When the war came, Anne was packed off to a less noisy part of the country, but she still insisted on her story, and so Helps wrote them down for her, drew pictures to illustrate them, and sent them to her.

During that time, Racey and his wife Irene Helps lived in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, and were hosts to many young American soldiers based in the town, besides running a hairdressing salon. On one occasion a publisher happened to drop in and pick up one of Helps's handwritten, illustrated booklets. Helps was invited to London to discuss publication of future work. He was published initially by Collins and later by the Medici Society.[3] He contributed to several children's annuals published by Collins. Much of his work was published also in the United States. At least ten of his picture books appeared in German.[4] At least one appeared in Danish.[5]

The Helps's son Julian was born in 1949. For a while the family lived in Clevedon, Somerset, then moved to Saltford near Bath, and then in 1962 to Barnstaple, Devon, where the scenic countryside provided further inspiration for Helps's pictures.

Racey Helps suffered a fatal heart attack at his Barnstaple home in 1970, at the age of 57.

Partial bibliography[edit]

  • Footprints in the Snow Collins (1946)
  • The Upside-Down Medicine Collins (1946)
  • Barnaby Camps Out Collins (1947)
  • My Friend Wilberforce Collins (1948)
  • Barnaby in Search of a House Collins (1948)
  • Littlemouse Crusoe Collins (1948)
  • Tippetty's Treasure Collins (1949)
  • Nobody Loves Me. The story of a Dutch doll Collins (1950)
  • Many Happy Returns Collins (1951)
  • Barnaby and the Scare-Crow Collins (1953)
  • Little Tommy Purr Collins (1954)
  • Two from a Tea-Pot Collins (1954)
  • Two's Company Collins (1955)
  • Barnaby's Spring Clean Collins (1956)
  • Prickly Pie Collins (1957)
  • The Tail of Hunky Dory Collins (1958)
  • Kingcup Cottage Medici Society (1962)
  • Diggy Takes His Pick Medici Society (1964)
  • Mr. Roley to the Rescue Chilton Books (1966)
  • The Blow-Away Balloon World Distributors (1967)
  • The Clean Sweep World Distributors (1967)
  • Pinny Takes a Bath World Distributors (1967)
  • Selina the Circus Seal Chilton Book (1967)
  • Just Wilberforce Medici Society (1970)
  • Pinny's Holiday Medici Society (1970)
  • Guinea-pig Podge Medici Society (1971)
  • Racey Helps' Picture Book, verses by Celia Barrow Medici Society (1984)[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bear Alley blogspot. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
  2. ^ Bear Alley Retrieved 7 December 2012; cached Facebook page Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  3. ^ Licensing – Racey Helps The Medici Society.
  4. ^ Frau Vogelscheuche (Neu Isenburg: Zweipunkt, 1965); Speiki schwänzt die Schule (Zweipunkt, 1965); Der Hasenfest (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Carlsen, Daxi Buch No. 21, 3rd. e., 1973); Zwei aus der Teekanne (Carlsen, Daxi Buch No. 31, 1972); Vater Samtohr und die Biber (Carlsen, Daxi Buch No. 32, 1972); Piek macht Ferien (Carlsen, Daxi Buch No. 34, 1972; Felix Feldmaus als Retter (Carlsen, Daxi Buch No. 36, 4th ed., 1972); Der Grüne Käfig (Carlsen, Daxi Buch No. 41, 1974); Katsengeschichten (Carlsen, Pixi Buch 17–18, 1976); Paulines schönster Tag (Carlsen, 1983).
  5. ^ Fransiskas Fodselsdag (London: Medici Society, 1964).
  6. ^ Bear Alley Blog, Steve Holland, 22 December 2006

External links[edit]