Giles Andreae

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Giles Andreae
Born (1966-03-16) 16 March 1966 (age 54)
London, England
EducationEton College, Berkshire
Alma materUniversity of Oxford
Notable worksGiraffes Can’t Dance, Winnie-the-Pooh: The Great Heffalump Hunt, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, Purple Ronnie merchandise, Edward Monkton books

Giles Andreae (born 16 March 1966) is a British writer and illustrator. He is the creator of the stickman poet Purple Ronnie, the humorous artist / philosopher Edward Monkton, and the author of Giraffes Can't Dance, along with many other books for children.[1]

Early life[edit]

Andreae attended Eton College before attending Worcester College, Oxford University, from 1985 – 88. During his final year at Oxford, and while debuting early versions of his signature Purple Ronnie character, Andreae developed Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph glands, and began an intensive course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy the day before his final exams began. He managed to sit some of his papers, and the university awarded him an upper-second-class degree. Upon graduation, Andreae worked as a trainee account manager at an advertising agency, while Purple Ronnie took on an overarching joie de vivre theme.

Throughout his childhood and university years, Andreae was close friends with former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the pair were housemates while studying at Oxford.[1]


Purple Ronnie[edit]

Andreae debuted the Purple Ronnie character in 1987 as a stage act for an Oxford revue before picking eight poems to appear on greetings cards with simple black and white line drawings akin to doodles. He initially self-distributed the cards throughout Oxford's stationery shops, but later signed a deal with an established greetings card publisher.[1]

The illustrator drew the cartoon in a stick man style with a smiley face and a large oval body. Andreae typically depicts Ronnie as a comic poet, the cartoon's rhyming captions being written in a simple style and including mild taboo language. The cartoons often feature light-hearted, toilet humour-themed poems about belching or flatulence. The character featured on greetings cards, books, T-shirts and toiletries, and soft drinks company, Vimto also used the character in several advertising campaigns.[2] Andreae sold Purple Ronnie to Coolabi in April 2007 in a deal worth £4.8m.[3] Since then, the company has tried to break into the US market by adapting the designs and language for American audiences and digital media.[4][5]

Edward Monkton[edit]

Andreae also writes under the pen name Edward Monkton; a self-described "philosopher, poet, artist and interesting fellow".[6] Monkton is best known for A Lovely Love Story, a story about two dinosaurs falling in love, which has become a popular reading at weddings.[7] Other Monkton stories include The Pig of Happiness, a YouTube video of which Andreae financed and created after recovering from a bout of clinical depression.[8][9] Andreae expanded on The Pig of Happiness to create a series of short animated films for the BBC entitled World of Happy.[10]

Like his predecessor Purple Ronnie, Edward Monkton cartoons typically feature distinctive black-line illustrations.[11]

Giraffes Can't Dance[edit]

Giraffes Can't Dance, is Andreae's bestselling children's book about self-esteem and negative stereotypes. The book follows a simple rhyming pattern and full-colour illustrations by Guy Parker-Rees.[12] Since its release in 1999, the book has undergone several adaptations for children's television and theatre.[13][14] Publishing house, Hachette Books have translated the book into 34 languages, and the book remains a perennial bestseller in the UK and the US with reported sales of 10 million copies worldwide.[4][15][16]

Winnie-the-Pooh: The Great Heffalump Hunt[edit]

In 2017, Andreae's book, Winnie-the-Pooh: The Great Heffalump Hunt, was released. It was commissioned by A.A. Milne's publishers to celebrate the ninetieth anniversary of the publication of Milne and Shepard's first-ever Winnie-the-Pooh book.

Other works[edit]

Andreae collaborated on a series of children's books with illustrator Emma Dodd called the I Love series. The series includes titles such as I Love My Grandad, I Love My Daddy and I Love My Mummy.[17] Other popular titles include Rumble in the Jungle with illustrator David Wojtowycz,[18] Pants,[19] and Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs.[20]

Several of his books have been adapted for television and theatre.[21][22]

Personal life[edit]

Andreae lives with his wife, Victoria, with whom he has four children, beside the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England. Before that, he lived in Notting Hill, London, where he shared a studio with screenwriter Richard Curtis.


  1. ^ a b c Henley, Jon (6 July 2009). "Bottom burps, stinky feet and other poems". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  2. ^ "My poetry's not pants: Purple Ronnie creator". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  3. ^ Wearden, Graeme (4 April 2007). "Purple Ronnie character sold for £3.3m". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Coolabi secures global licensing rights for Giraffes Can't Dance | The Bookseller". Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  5. ^ "How is Purple Ronnie adapting?". BBC News. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  6. ^ Kessler, Sarah (3 March 2008). "Revenge of the Nerd". WWD. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  7. ^ "17 Unconventional Wedding Readings From Literature". Bustle. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  8. ^ Adams, Stephen (24 October 2009). "'Purple Ronnie' creator spends £35k on funny film to make Britain smile". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  9. ^ Billen, Andrew (4 April 2011). "Lessons from Mr Happiness". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  10. ^ "CBBC - World of Happy". BBC. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Purple Ronnie artist exhibits in city". York Press. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  12. ^ "GIRAFFES CAN'T DANCE". Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  13. ^ Mejía, Jessica; Knuth, Emily. "Giraffes Can't Dance - Teaching Children Philosophy - Prindle Institute". Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Giraffes Can't Dance heads to stage | The Bookseller". Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  15. ^ "2017 in Children's Bestsellers". Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  16. ^ "A Week Before Thanksgiving, Unit Sales Rise 2%". Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  17. ^ Flood, Alison (3 September 2010). "Purple Ronnie creator wins baby book award". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Rumble in the jungle /Giles Andreae ; illustrated by David Wojtowycz. – National Library". Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Funny books get kids reading: Your favourites". ITV News. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  20. ^ Eccleshare, Julia (29 September 2014). "The best pirate themed books". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  21. ^ Wiegand, Chris (7 August 2019). "Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: The Magic Cutlass review – timber-shivering fun". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  22. ^ "BBC - Search results for Giles Andreae". Retrieved 8 October 2019.

External links[edit]