AN award-winning animator has praised a children’s book illustrated by an autistic teenager and published earlier this year with the support of the North East Autism Society.

Sheila Graber, 78, is internationally-renowned for a lifetime’s catalogue of work, which includes animating the Paddington Bear children’s TV series, and the Rudyard Kipling ‘Just So’ books.

Sheila, who lives in South Shields, has just finished reading a copy of Snowdrop, The Spikeshuffler, written by Peter Barron and illustrated by Jonathan Raiseborough, 19, of Darlington. Jonathan, a North East Autism Society ambassador, has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Sheila praised Snowdrop and commented:  

I could not put it down and went through all emotions possible in a very short time. The last time a book that grabbed me like this was Watership Down in 1972...The drawings perfectly catch the character and mood of the story.

Sheila has offered to work with Jonathon to help him animate the book himself, in his own style.

She added: “I knew the original director animator for Watership  Down, John Hubley. He had a marvellous, poetic, graphic style. Jonathan’s style has that same quality and it would be great to help him get his characters moving.”

Jonathan was really touched by Sheila’s review, saying: “To see such nice, positive comments from someone who has achieved as much as Sheila is humbling and inspiring. I’m speechless.”

Words by: Peter Barron

To purchase a copy of Snowdrop, click here