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When the Wind Blows Paperback – February 2, 1988

4.5 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Raymond Briggs is one of the foremost creators of illustrated books for adults and children, including the unforgettable The Snowman and Father Christmas. THE BASICS THE BOOKSRaymond Briggs' parents have proved an important source of inspiration to the author/artist. His father was a milkman; his mother a former lady's maid. Raymond's unique characterisation of Father Christmas is based on his father - "Father Christmas and the milkman both have wretched jobs: working in the cold, wet and dark." His parents also influenced the character of Jim and Hilda, the victims of nuclear fall-out, in When The Wind Blows. Raymond left school aged 15 to study painting at Wimbledon School of Art. After completing a typography course at the Central School of Art, and two years of National Service, Raymond went on to the Slade School to study painting. His first work was in advertising, but before long he was winning acclaim as a children's book illustrator as well as teaching illustration at Brighton College of Art. Raymond was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1966 for his fourth picture book, The Mother Goose Treasury, and again in 1973 for Father Christmas. Published in 1978, The Snowman is perhaps Raymond's best-loved creation. He says that the book was partly inspired by its predecessor, Fungus The Bogeyman - "For two years I worked on Fungus, buried amongst muck, slime and words, so... I wanted to do something which was clean, pleasant, fresh and wordless and quick."Born: Wimbledon Park, January 18th 1934*Jobs: Artist, WriterLives: SussexFirst Book for Children: The Strange House, 1961*Raymond shares his birthday with A A Milne and Arthur Ransome
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (February 2, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140094199
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140094190
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #112,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T. Hewson on January 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
This review is for ISBN 057311496X which I bought thinking that it was the illustrated version. This book is a play adapted from the original, although you would have no way of knowing from the online description. There are many different editions of this wonderful book so be careful that you order the right one.
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Format: Paperback
When the Wind Blows is a classic of modern literature. It's one of the all-time best books I've ever read and it's tragic that it's been allowed to fall out of print. Get a used copy. Track it down. Look for it misfiled in the children's section...it's an illustrated book but it definitely isn't kiddie fare. When the Wind Blows is wonderful, just wonderful.
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By Anis on August 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first came across this book in 1994 when I was in Uni, when I discovered it in a friend's house. After I read it, I was so struck by the story that I knew I needed to get my own copy but never found it in any bookstore anywhere. For the past 16 years, I've been trying to find this book- that's how strongly 'When the Wind Blows' affected me. I finally found it on Amazon and after reading it again, am still struck by the beauty of the illustrations and the horror of war and how it affects ordinary people. When I turned the last page, I felt the same sadness and emptiness for the couple as I felt the first time I read it. The strength of this book is that it's written in comic strip form- the images will stick in your mind far longer than any words can. Therein lies the beauty of Raymond Briggs' classic- not only does the comic form simplify the telling of the story, it pushes home the point that these are ordinary, simple, village people, but because illustrations are used, it becomes a far more powerful story. I'm keeping this one and NOT letting it out of my sight! If I ever have children, this is one book I'll make sure they read when they're old enough to understand.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I never saw When the Wind Blows on tv when it aired so I was keen to read this when I saw it at my local library. Set during the cold war James and Hilda Bloggs hear news of an attack planned on Britain by the Russians. They prepare for the fall out following government guidelines. And then the bomb falls...

This graphic novel is so disturbing and powerful it leaves you feeling sad and chilled to your core. The couple are a well meaning but not too knowledgeable pair and with little information on what to do during a nuclear attack they cope as best they can given their circumstances. I've not read many graphic novels and I did know the story of this before reading it, but still it left me feeling uncomfortable inside. This is a good thing, what happens to the couple is not wonderful, there is nothing happy or cheerful in a couple experiencing a nuclear bomb and the after effects of it.

This book is certainly not for kids as the ending is not a cheerful and happy one. I think anyone can imagine how the story pans out and that is not pleasant. What is so moving about this story though is the couple's complete lack of knowledge, the two of them have no idea what is happening to them or everything around them, they cannot understand the effects of the fall out and the government advice was useless in educating them.

This story is so sad and yet it's so powerful because it shows the truth of what'll happen if nuclear weapons are ever used in this world. Although this was set and written in the time of the cold war such nuclear threats are still around today and this book offers an important message to everyone.
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By A Customer on March 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Raymond Briggs here presents us with a disarmingly gentle, warm, humorous graphic novel, about a regular blue collar couple trying to understand, and to prepare for, the ultimate catastrophe.
This touching little book came out in the early 80s, when there was a sharp spike in international public awareness of the dangers of nuclear warfare. Due largely to Ronald Reagan's hawkish presidency, people were much more fearful of this looming prospect -- and, of course, rightly so. Reading this reminds me of 1981, when I was in eighth grade, and tensions over Poland were so severe that I recall becoming a regular fixture at our local library, reading and reading, trying helplessly to understand all the forces which, it seemed, were conspiring to destroy us all.
The really touching thing, about the couple portrayed in this book, is that they are normal people. Almost completely uninformed about the world, their mental picture of the world is shaped by a haze of half-remembered patriotic propaganda that is decades out of date, and was heavily distorted to begin with. Their efforts to prepare for a nuclear attack are so pathetic that you would laugh, if you weren't already busy crying.
Those weapons are still out there. This book is important. Everyone should read it. If you half-suspect that you yourself might be slightly un-informed about nuclear war issues, I would like to recommend that you seek out "The New Nuclear Danger," by Dr. Helen Caldicott. It just came out in 2002, and includes a fantastic bibliography which could help you understand nuclear winter, medical effects of fallout, and current weapon stockpiles. There is also a great collection of relevant websites, which we should all be a lot more familiar with....
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