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Shirley Hughes is one of the most well known and best loved author and illustrator’s of children’s picture books of the last fifty years. Her book ‘Dogger’ is a classic, and a staple of children’s bookshelves, as is her series about the loveable toddler Alfie and his sister Annie-Rose.

Hughes writes books across quite a broad age spectrum in terms of appeal, from pre school favourites to books for readers who are learning to read for themselves. She has also provided illustrations for books for older readers.

Shirley Hughes is now in her nineties, but is still going strong, and her latest work sees her teaming up with her daughter, Clara Vuillamy to write a new series about the character Dixie O’Day.  Vuillamy provides the illustrations for Hughes’s text.

The first book is called: Dixie O’Day: In The Fast Lane.  Amazon describes it as a perfect chapter or transitional book for those children who are finding their feet with reading and who are beginning to enjoy reading for themselves.


The book tells the story of Dixie and her side kick Percy as they enter a race and try to beat their arch enemy Lou Ella.  It is suitable for both boys and girls.

My friend and fellow book blogger, Bunny Lovell wrote about her enjoyment of the book here.

Sarah, a regular reader of the blog, has sent in a review by her daughter:
‘I was a bit cross when Lou Ella was winning but l was really really happy when Dixie and Percy won (apologies for plot spoiler!). I was a bit sad when they got stuck but l was really glad when the happy family helped them. The end’ (the last 2 words are her typing!)’

Sarah says:
This is the 1st book written by the well-loved Shirley Hughes (Dogger, Alfie, etc) and her illustrator daughter. It’s lovely – full of quirky illustrations with amusing details, a lady villain who gets her comeuppance but gently and, most usefully for my daughter’s age (6), 7 chapters with each page full of illustrations enough to hold her attention while she reads without really noticing she is doing it. We alternated reading pages – my daughter cannot quite read it all though l’m sure she will within this year.

The book also contains added information such as a chapter from the next book to come (Dixie O’Day and the Great Diamond Robbery), an interview with Dixie and a map of the town in which the books are set. 

We are eagerly looking forward to the aforementioned next book. I think my daughter would happily read the book to me by that point. This definitely feels like a book to share and l love that. Long may that continue.

I love Shirley Hughes, both for her writing and her illustrating, and having now had two such positive and trustworthy reviews about the book it is definitely going to end up in one of my children’s Christmas stockings this year.