What inspired author Neil Gaiman to create his own children's books? If you have ever wanted to see him and other children's book authors dressed up as characters from the stories they loved before they started making their own tales, you can check out the "26 characters" exhibition at the Story Museum in Oxford, England.
You can see Gaiman, author of "American Gods" and "Coraline," dressed as Badger from "The Wind in the Willows." Phillip Pullman, author of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, done up as the pirate Long John Silver from "Treasure Island." And even Monty Python's Terry Jones as Rupert the Bear, from the children's comic strip.
Photographer Cambridge Jones took photos of the authors as their beloved characters from their childhoods. Those photographed also include Malorie Blackman, Stephen Butler, Cressida Cowell, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Julia Donaldson, Jamila Gavin, Charlie Higson, Anthony Horowitz, Katrice Horsley, Shirley Hughes, Geraldine McCaughrean, Michael Morpurgo, Terry Pratchett, Michael Rosen, Katherine Rundell, Francesca Simon, Holly Smale, Clara Vulliamy, Benjamin Zephaniah and others.
A selection of Jones' photographs are available online as a preview posted at BBC Online, including Malorie Blackman as the Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz," Anthony Horowitz dressed as both Jekyll and Hyde from "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and the photographer Cambridge Jones himself in the attire of Biggles of the "Biggles" books.
The photographs are presented along with the writers' explanations of why they chose those characters, excerpts from the characters' respective books and small sets designed to invoke the settings of those books. Young visitors can use the sets, as well as props on hand, to be photgraphed and become part of the stories themselves.
The Story Museum is a non-profit institution in England that grew out of a program to bring more stories and storytelling to children through educational programs in schools. The Story Museum's programs in schools and traveling events began in 2005, though the building that serves as the home for The Story Museum was renovated for years and finally re-opened in April 2014.
The exhibition will run at The Story Museum until Nov. 2, 2014.