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Brambly Hedge is a series of illustrated children's books by Jill Barklem, recounting the adventures of a community of mice who live together in the tranquil surroundings of the English countryside. The books, whose first titles were published in 1980, are written and illustrated by Barklem. The first four books follow a seasonal pattern of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Her latter four follow the adventures of The Secret Staircase, The High Hills, Sea Story and Poppy’s Babies.
Books in the Brambly Hedge series
- Spring Story (1980) – Wilfred enjoys a picnic and a surprise for his birthday!
- Summer Story (1980) – The mice celebrate a wedding and everyone takes part in the preparations.
- Autumn Story (1980) – Little Primrose wanders off and finds herself in uncharted territory.
- Winter Story (1980) – The biggest snowstorm in years leaves enough snow for an ice ball.
- The Secret Staircase (1983) – The young mice go to the attic to practice for a performance.
- The High Hills (1986) – Wilfred is determined to find treasure in the hills above Brambly Hedge.
- Sea Story (1990) – Dusty, Poppy, Primrose and Wilfred set off down stream to retrieve salt from the sea mice.
- Poppy's Babies (1994) – A surprise comes to Poppy on the babies' naming day.
- Stories from Brambly Hedge: Wilfred to the Rescue (2005)[nb 1]
- Stories from Brambly Hedge: Primrose in Charge (2006)[nb 1]
- A Year In Brambly Hedge (2010)
Barklem spent five years on research before she started to write her stories about the mice of Brambly Hedge. Her interest in natural history and traditional rural customs and crafts has spilled over into these chronicles of hedgerow life. She lived with her husband and children near Epping Forest in England.
Since the 1980s, the Brambly Hedge characters have appeared on merchandise ranging from china to chocolate, stationery to pewter miniatures. Companies such as Royal Doulton, Hantel, Crummles and Border Fine Arts have all produced collectible pieces licensed from Brambly Hedge. This merchandise is in demand by Brambly Hedge collectors all around the world and some pieces are worth a substantial amount of money.
All eight books have been adapted into stop motion television specials, the first four by Cosgrove Hall Films "Winter Story" was first broadcast on Christmas Day 1996 on BBC1, while the specials made their U.S. debut on the Starz pay-cable network the following year. The series features the voices of Neil Morrissey as Wilfred and Dusty, Alun Lewis as Mr Toadflax, June Whitfield as Mrs Apple, Noreen Kershaw as Mrs Toadflax Jim Broadbent as Basil and Old Vole, Charlotte Coleman as Primrose and Poppy, Anton Rodgers as Lord Woodmouse, Robert Lindsay is the narrator and Rosemary Leach as Lady Daisy and Old Mrs Eyebright.
In 2008, HiT Entertainment and Reader's Digest Video issued The Enchanted World of Brambly Hedge, a DVD compilation of the specials.
- Winter Story (25 December 1996)
- Spring Story (31 March 1997)
- Summer Story (11 June 1997)
- Autumn Story (8 September 1997)
- The Secret Staircase (26 December 1998)
- The High Hills (2 April 1999)
- Sea Story (29 December 1999)
- Poppy's Babies (3 January 2000)
- Written by Alan MacDonald and illustrated by Lizzie Sanders.
- "Catalogue information for Wilfred to the Rescue". Trove. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
- "Catalogue information for Primrose in Charge". Trove. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
- O'Hare, Kate (6 April 1997). "Cable networks offer variety of shows for 'Kids and Family Week'". Buffalo News. Tribune Media Services. p. 24. Retrieved 17 April 2012. (Subscription required (help)).
'Brambly Hedge' (7 p.m. Wednesday, Starz): Author Jill Barklem's enchanting 1980 illustrations about the lives of a community of mice who live in Brambly Hedge comes to life.