Julia has squashed and squeezed a lot into 20 years...

BEARSDEN children’s author Julia Donaldson celebrates the 20th anniversary of her first book ‘A Squash and a Squeeze’ this year.

And Macmillan Children’s Books has published a special edition of the book which is illustrated by Axel Scheffler to commemorate 20 years of their magical partnership.

Julia originally wrote A Squash and a Squeeze as a song for children’s television, which was first performed on Playdays in 1978 by Floella Benjamin and Derek Griffiths.

Thirteen years after first hearing the song, an editor called Elke Lacey tracked Julia down and asked if she could turn her song into a picture book.

Axel was brought in by the publisher to illustrate the book, and Julia and Axel didn’t even meet until after the book was published.

A Squash and a Squeeze is widely regarded as a children’s classic.

Its popularity grows year-on-year, with over 1.5 million copies sold. Julia and her husband Malcolm regularly perform the song at literary festivals and theatres all over the UK to the delight of their legions of fans.

Julia and Axel have since written and illustrated over 20 books in 20 years and they created one of the UK’s best-loved children’s book characters, The Gruffalo.

Their award-winning books have been translated into 50 languages, including Latin and Scots, and are sold all over the world.