I noticed the news starting to filter through social media yesterday around midday.
At first a number of her friends and colleagues were optimistically hopeful that the news was a practical joke that Babette had pulled as she was that kind of person.
Sadly it wasn’t and last night it was confirmed that the first person to make me fall of a chair laughing (at work) had indeed passed away.
I first encountered her work shortly after I left Library School and my Librarian qualification still had the scent of newness to it. It was a Friday – the day I spent the afternoon on duty in the Junior Library of the Fish Hoek Public Library. It was a quiet afternoon, I had shelved all the returned books, tidied up the shelves and as I recall could not quite face ordering the picture books, so I took a quick breather and grabbed a picture book at random. This book was Mummy Laid an Egg
Had I been drinking a cup of tea at the time there would have been a spit take of note but instead I laughed so much I was unable to stay seated and did indeed fall off my chair, fortunately the library was empty at this point and my dignity remained intact.
I reread it three times that afternoon and laughed each time, to this day at times when I am tired or on the verge of falling asleep I often remember the book and giggle to myself.
Mummy Laid an Egg was my first Babette Cole and after that I looked out for her books and made sure I got my hands on them as soon as possible as (and many, many people will attest) she was a phenomenal and hilarious talent!
I never knew her personally but will miss her wonderful stories and illustrations!