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James John Mayhew (born 1964 in Stamford, Lincolnshire) is a well-known English illustrator and author of children's books.
Brought up in Blundeston, Suffolk, on leaving school Mayhew studied art at Lowestoft School of Art from 1982 to 1984, and then illustration at Maidstone College of Art, graduating BA in 1987 with first class honours. He has illustrated over 50 books including 20 titles of which he is also the author.
His first published work was "Katie's Picture Show" (1989), beginning a long-running series about a girl who explores famous paintings by climbing inside them. Many of his books have a cultural agenda - either art, ballet, opera or literature. A stage adaptation of "Katie and the Mona Lisa" is currently in production.
In 1994 he received The New York Times Award for one of the ten best illustrated books of the year for The Boy and the Cloth of Dreams, written by Jenny Koralek. Mayhew's books have been published all over the world, including Japan, China, Korea, Germany, France, Greece, Estonia, Spain, Scandinavia and America. He has exhibited his work in Hertfordshire, Cambridge, London, Paris and New York.
He is the creator of the Ella Bella Ballerina series and also the illustrator of the Mouse and Mole books, animated for television in the 1990s, with the voices of Alan Bennett and Richard Briers.
Also a storyteller, Mayhew has devised and performed in concerts for children with several orchestras, incorporating live music, narration and live illustration. These have included "Peter and the Wolf", "The Firebird", "Swan Lake", "Pictures at an Exhibition" and "Scheherazade". He has also participated in promenade performances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Mayhew also teaches Children's Book Illustration to M.A. students at Anglia Ruskin University, and has taught on courses at the Arvon Foundation.