Redwall author Brian Jacques dead at 71

Wednesday, February 9, 2011; 8:30 PM

Sometimes the news makes us sad. That's certainly the case today because a great children's author, Brian Jacques, died last week. He was 71.

Jacques wrote the first book in his famous "Redwall" series for the children at the Royal School for the Blind in Liverpool, England. The book's hero was a timid mouse named Matthias who found the courage to protect his home, Redwall Abbey.

"I wanted to write something visual that I could read to the children," Jacques said in an interview.

He chose animals as characters because they were popular with his target audience, kids ages 9 to 15. "A dirty rat, a sly fox, a slippery snake, an heroic mouse, a homely mouse, a friendly badger . . . these are all prevalent in the folk tales of Europe, and they suit the medieval setting well," said Jacques, who wrote 21 "Redwall" books.

Jacques left school at 15 to become a merchant seaman. Some of his other jobs were as a firefighter on a train, police officer, postmaster and comedian.

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