Jan Pienkowski, illustrator of Meg and Mog books, dies at 85 :: NEWS
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Jan Pienkowski, illustrator of Meg and Mog books, dies at 85

21 February 2022 Share

Jan Pienkowski, the beloved illustrator best known for the Meg and Mog pop-up books, has sadly passed away aged 85.

Pienkowski had published more than 140 books in total and won the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019 for his outstanding contribution to children’s literature. 

Francesca Dow, the managing director of Penguin Random House Children’s Books, confirmed that he died on Saturday morning (19th February). He had been living with Alzheimer’s. 

Pienkowski won the Kate Greenaway award in 1971 with writer Joan Aiken for their collaboration, The Kingdom Under the Sea (Jonathan Cape). He won his second Greenaway award in 1979 for the pop-up book Haunted House (Walker Books). In addition to Greenaway success, Pienkowski was selected twice to be the UK nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen award, in 1982 and 2008, which is the highest recognition available to creators of children’s books. 

Meg and Mog, completed in collaboration with the late Helen Nicoll, was a series of illustrated adventures about a witch and her stripy cat. Along with Meg and Mog and various pop-up books, Pienkowski is well-known for his illustrations of fairytales by Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, The Nutcracker, and The Glass Mountain: Tales from Poland.

Born in Warsaw, Pienkowski was just three years old when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, forcing his family to move around Europe before eventually settling in England in 1946. He attended King’s College, Cambridge, to study classics and English. He illustrated for Granta magazine and designed posters for university theatre productions before then, in his early career, drawing live on the BBC children’s programme “Watch!”. 

Our thoughts are with Jan's family and friends.