H. E. Todd – Wikipedia

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English children’s writer 1908–1988

Herbert Eatton Todd (22 February 1908 – 25 February 1988) was an English writer of children’s fiction.[1][2] His “Bobby Brewster” stories also featured on television and could be dialled on the telephone.

Personal life[edit]

Herbert Eatton Todd was born on 22 February 1908 in Westminster, the son of Henry Graves Todd, an elementary schoolteacher, and Minnie Helen Elizabeth Todd (née Boyles). In a foreword to his 1978 novella Changing of the Guard, he stated that he was living at 206 Buckingham Palace Road, Westminster, which the protagonist visits.

Todd married Joyce Hughes in 1933 in Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Writing[edit]

Todd is best known for his “Bobby Brewster” children’s books. Often the stories would have common household items suddenly come to life and chat to young Bobby Brewster and his comrade Tom McCleery.

He was a storyteller as well as author, usually telling stories of his own invention. He visited many schools to give storytelling sessions; see the reference below for people’s memories of his school sessions. He also visited many teacher training colleges to give sessions about storytelling.

In 1969 and 1970, he appeared on BBC’s long-running children’s television show Jackanory reading several Bobby Brewster stories. Unlike other episodes of Jackanory, these were recorded in front of an audience of schoolchildren.

The Bobby Brewster stories were also offered as a dial-and-listen “bedtime story” service by British Telecom in the 1980s, where children could dial a three-digit BT number and listen to a looped voice recording of a selected Bobby Brewster story every evening.

Bobby Brewster books[edit]

Most of these books contain several short stories with simple black line illustrations, most of them by Lillian Buchanan (1914–2004).[3] There is a list of the individual stories in most of the books below.

  • Bobby Brewster and the Winkers’ Club (1949)
  • Bobby Brewster (1954)
  • Bobby Brewster Bus Conductor (1955)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Bicycle (1957)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Camera (1959)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Wallpaper (1961)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Conker (1963)
  • Bobby Brewster, Detective (1964)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Potato (1964)
  • Bobby Brewster and the Ghost (1966)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Kite (1967)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Scarecrow (1968)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Torch (1969)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Balloon Race (1970)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Typewriter (1971)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Bee (1972)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Bookmark (1975)
  • Bobby Brewster’s First Fun (1976)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Wishbone (1977)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Lamp Post (1982)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Hiccups (1985)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Old Van (1986)
  • Bobby Brewster and the Magic Handyman (1987)
  • Bobby Brewster’s Jigsaw Puzzle (1988)

Other books[edit]

H. E. Todd met Val Biro, author and illustrator of the Gumdrop books, at a storytelling session. They collaborated on several picture books, with stories by Todd and illustrated by Val Biro. Most of them had originally appeared in one of the books listed above.

  • Sick Cow
  • Jungle Silver (1981)
  • Santa’s Big Sneeze (1986)
  • The Sleeping Policeman (1988?)
  • The Very Very Very Long Dog
  • The Big Sneeze
  • The Clever Clever Cats
  • Scruffy, Scruffy Dog
  • The Crawly Crawly Caterpillar
  • Tiny, Tiny Tadpole
  • The Roundabout Horse
  • The Tiger Who Couldn’t Be Bothered
  • The Silly Silly Ghost
  • Changing of the Guard
  • King of Beasts
  • George the Fire-Engine

List of stories[edit]

Here is a list of stories for most of the books that contained several stories.

References[edit]

External links[edit]