Julia Catherine Donaldson
MBE (born 16 September 1948)is an English writer and playwright, best known asauthor of The Gruffaloand other children's books, many illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Of her 157 published works, 56 are widely available in bookshops. The remaining 101 are intended for school use and include her "Songbirds" phonic reading scheme which is part of the Oxford Reading Tree. Her book The Snail and the Whale was named by Gordon Brown as one of his favourites. She originally wrote songs for children's television, but has concentrated on writing books since one of her songs, A Squash and a Squeeze, was published in 1993. She has also written a number of plays for school drama groups. Donaldson has been appointed Children's Laureate for 2011 to 2013, succeeding Anthony Browne.