On 4 September 2014, Tate
will publish The Five of Us by Sir Quentin Blake. Blakes new picture book is a celebration of diversity that features five friends, each with their own amazing ability. Teeming with Blakes characteristic sense of fun and his exuberant illustrations, The Five of Us is also a powerful, though subtle, reminder that the world is a better place when we focus on what we can do, rather than on what we cant.
Quentin Blake said: I have put some children with disabilities into my books on the margin. And then two or three years ago, I thought: why cant they be the main characters? He added: It is a sensitive area; you dont want a quota, but you want these characters to be represented because thats what life is like.
Angie, Ollie, Simona, Mario and Eric are five fantastic friends, each of whom has an unusual ability. Disaster strikes on a day out to the countryside but, working together and combining their individual powers, the fantastic five save the day. Instead of focusing on the characters disabilities, The Five of Us champions teamwork and friendship.
In the past Tate has been proud to publish Blakes acclaimed memoirs Beyond the Page (2012) and Words and Pictures (2013), as well as his childrens picture book Three Little Owls (2013). Earlier this year, Tate published Quentin Blake, a beautiful illustrated survey of Blakes career by former Guardian childrens books editor, Joanna Carey. This accompanied Blakes landmark exhibition Inside Stories, which is currently running at the House of Illustration until 2 November 2014.
Quentin Blake is one of the UKs most beloved illustrators. In 1999, Blake was named the first Childrens Laureate and later, in 2013, he received a knighthood for services to illustration. He has won numerous awards, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration and the Whitbread Award. He is known for his collaboration with writers such as Russell Hoban, Joan Aiken, Michael Rosen, John Yeoman and, most famously, Roald Dahl. He has also illustrated classic books, including A Christmas Carol and Candide and created much-loved characters of his own, including Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage.