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She’s a lost soul not a villain.” Realism, he says is satisfying, although it encourages critics.

Some people think the stories are too real for children.

Other “small minded, horrid folk” project their own racial prejudice onto his chimpanzee protagonists.

He bats his hand as if to pooh pooh these people: “I never want to make a child worried or afraid and I don’t think I do.

It was hard to write (“I felt pretentious”) so it was suggested someone ghost it “as if I was a footballer”, but in the end he employed his son, and the resulting transcript came from conversations recorded in the car between the two of them.

This goes some way to explaining why he made Goldilocks an impoverished girl from a housing estate and the bears, an obnoxious middle-class family: “I always thought the story was unfair on Goldilocks.

The mothers invariably bring a sense of civilization and sophistication to Browne’s fictional families.

Vanessa Joosen is a professor of English literature at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and a postdoctoral researcher of children’s literature at the University of Tilburg, the Netherlands.

While Browne makes use of child narrators and focalizers whose view of their mothers is limited, some of his picture books contain illustrations that further explore the mother’s psyche and move beyond the child’s point of view.

His construction of motherhood over the years follows rather than sets trends.

My pictures are born from the belief that children are far more capable and aware of social complexities than we give them credit for.” The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.

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