Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh on March 3, 1859. When he was five years old, his mother died of scarlet fever and he nearly died himself, of the same disease. His father became an alcoholic and sent the children to Berkshire to live with relatives. They were later reunited with their father, but after a failed year, the children never heard from him again. Sometime later, one of his brothers died at the age of fifteen. He attended St. Edward's School as a child and intended to go on to Oxford University, but his relatives wanted him to go into banking. He worked in his uncle's office, in Westminster, for two years then went to work at the Bank of England as a clerk in 1879. He spent nearly thirty years there and became the Secretary of the Bank at the age of thirty-nine. He retired from the bank right before The Wind in the Willows was published in 1908. He wrote essays on topics that included smoking, walking and idleness. Many of the essays were published as the book Pagan Papers (1893) and the five orphan characters featured in the papers were developed into the books The Golden Age (1895) and Dream Days (1898). The Wind in the Willows (1908) was based on bedtime stories and letters to his son and it is where the characters Rat, Badger, Mole and Toad were created. In 1930, Milne's stage version was brought to another audience in Toad of Toad Hall. Grahame died on July 6, 1932.
Susan Cooper was born in Buckinghamshire, England in May of 1935. She attended Slough Grammar School, and then went on to Somerville College and Oxford. She was the first woman to ever edit the University Magazine, the Cherwell. She graduated from Oxford with an MA in English and went to work for London's The Sunday Times as a reporter on the Atticus Column for Ian Flemming. She evenutally made it to features writer, during which time she wrote her first book, "Mandrake," a science fiction story for adults. Soon after the publication of "Mandrake," Cooper wrote the children's story "Over Sea, Under Stone" for a publishing house competition. It would later become the first of a five book series she would become famous for. She left England in 1963 to marry an American professor. Once there, she wrote two more books for adults, "Behind the Golden Gate" a study of America, and "Portrait of an Author" the biography of J. B. Priestley. In 1970, Cooper published "Dawn of Fear" an almost entirely autobiographical book about growing up as a child during the war. Even though Cooper wrote "Over Sea, Under Stone" as a entry for a publishing house competittion, she did not know at the time that it would be the first of her most famous copilation, "The Dark is Rising Series." In 1973 she wrote the second in the five book series, entitled "The Dark is Rising," published more than ten years after the first. In1974, Cooper published Greenwitch, book three, and book four, "The Grey King" a year later. "The Grey King" won the Newberry Medal in 1976. "Silver on the Tree" was the fifth and last book published, completing the series in 1977. After completing the "Dark is Rising" series, Cooper turned to writing for the theater, learning the style from Urjo Kareda at Tarragon Theatres in Toronto. She wrote for Jack Langstaff's "Revels." Her first major play was called "Foxfire," which was written in coolaboration with Hume Cronyn. The play eventually went to Broadway in 1983 and starred Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, who won a Tony for her performance. Cooper then began working on "Seaward," but was interrupted by Jane Fonda, who wanted her to write the screenplay for Harriet Arnow's "The Dollmaker." She wrote the adaptation with Cronyn and won a Humanitas Award for it, while Jane Fonda won the Best Actress Emmy for her role. Cooper also got an Emmy nomination for her adaptation of "Foxfire" for television. "To Dance with the White Dog," a made for tv movie, was the last collaboration of Cooper, Cronyn and Tandy, Tandy having died in '94. IN the '80's and '90's, Cooper wrote the text for many children's picture books such as, "Jethro and the Jumbie" and "Danny and the Kings." 1993 marked her return to the Children's Book List with "The Boggart" and int's follow up "The Boggart and the Monster" in 1997. In 1996, Cooper published a collection of essays on children's literature entitled, "Dreams and Wishes." Over the course of her career, Cooper has written for newspapers, books for children and adults, screen[plays for television and cinema, and a Broadwat play. Today, she lectures on children's literture and continues to write.