Remembering Eric Hill, Creator Of Spot The Dog
Born in Holloway, London Eric Hill left school at the age of 14, working as an errand boy in an illustration studio. It was here that he first learned to love and dedicate his time to drawing cartoons.
Years later, the idea for Spot The Dog was inspired by Eric’s son Christopher. The then two-year-old little boy showed an excitable response to an advert which involved having to lift a flap to reveal a picture and story. Keeping this in mind, Eric Hill illustrated a simple, colourful story featuring a playful and curious dog called Spot, along with other charming characters, whose adventures could be revealed by lifting paper flaps. With the proposition of a book that would surely appeal to all young children, Eric went on to have a hugely successful series with Spot The Dog. Amazingly, his ideas were initially rejected by publishers in the late 1970s, when the use of such flaps in books was regarded a strange concept.
When Eric’s innovative books eventually became widely popular, the love for the character of Spot grew and grew. Spot’s tales went on to be available in the form of VHS, audio CDs and CD-ROMs. One of the most popular Spot The Dog stories, Spot Goes To School, even became available o the iPad in 2010.
Generations of children all over the world have loved, enjoyed and learnt from the Spot The Dog series since the release of the first book, Where’s Spot, in 1980. The books have taught children about all sorts, from going to school, to learning to count (Spot Learns To Count) and learning the alphabet and how to tell the time (Spot’s Alphabet, Spot Tells The Time), to other important life lessons. From Spot’s example children have learned – and continue to learn – the importance of of values such as being kind, respectful, grateful and helping others.
Before his recent death, Eric Hill changed the way that children read, enjoy books and learn through literature. Let’s say thank you to the man who contributed so much to our childhoods (and will continue to do so for generations to come).