Alison Uttley (1884–1976) was born Alice Jane Taylor in Derbyshire, England, into a tenant farming family that had lived on the same land for two hundred years. Uttley would return to the Derbyshire landscape and the house she grew up in, Castle Top Farm, in many of her books, including A Traveller in Time. A bright scholarship student throughout her childhood, Uttley went on to Manchester University, and in 1906 became the second female student to graduate with honors in physics from the university. Marriage and motherhood put an end to her teaching career, and it was only after her son, John, began school that she published her first book, The Squirrel, the Hare and the Little Grey Rabbit (1929). Uttley’s husband died the next year, and she began publishing books at a rapid rate in order to support herself and her son. Among her works are naturalistic novels of youth, adventure tales, and a cookbook, as well as books that grew out of her belief in enchantment, time travel, and the supernatural. By the end of her life, Uttley had written some one hundred books of fiction and nonfiction, including thirty in the Little Grey Rabbit series, and become one of twentieth-century Britain’s most popular children’s writers.
Phyllis Bray (1911–1991) was an English painter, illustrator, and muralist. She excelled at the Slade School of Fine Art and later married John Cooper, founder of the East London Group of artists, of which she was also a member. Her work is in several public collections in Britain, and through her collaborations with the well-known muralist Hans Feibusch, on display in churches and other buildings throughout the country.