Catherine Rayner

Award winning author and illustrator Catherine Rayner was born in Harrogate and now lives in Edinburgh. Much of her inspiration for her illustration comes from her pets: her horse Shannon, guinea pig Marvin, dog Otto, cat Ena and goldfish, Bruce. This has always been the case, she says that as a young child:

“We had a sausage dog called Wilfred who I adored. He was VERY naughty and VERY funny. I used to write little stories and poems about him and illustrate them. He was lovely to draw.”

However, it was animals of a slightly larger kind that were the inspiration for her first picture book, Augustus and His Smile. Catherine drew many of her initial sketches of him whilst watching the tigers at Edinburgh Zoo! This book was selected as one of five picture books to be featured and recommended on Channel 4’s ‘Richard and Judy Christmas Party’ in December 2006, and in 2007 was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Her picture book Arlo The Lion Who Couldn't Sleep was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2021, and her latest title Five Bears will be published in June 2022.

  • CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal
  • The UKLA Children’s Book Award
  • Winner of BookTrusts Best New Illustrator Award

Praise of Sylvia and Bird

“Catherine Rayner has a marvellous gift for capturing the souls of animals in a few, rich washes of colour.”

Helen Brown Daily Telegraph

Did you know…

  • We asked Catherine if she could be a character from a book, who would she be? She said,
    “Probably the tiger who came to tea. I love food!”

  • Catherine loves riding her horse Shannon on the hills.

  • She loves sharing stories with her little boy Finlay and drawing pictures with him too.

Find out more on Catherine Rayner's website

Publishers' websites


Watch Catherine Rayner read her book Augustus and His Smile

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