First there was Martin & Lewis, Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy and then there was Griffiths and Denton. Each both as comical and even more recognised in Australian homes today than those other fellows I mentioned before. We’ve chatted with Andy Griffiths previously now it’s Terry Denton’s turn in the hot seat.
What can I say about Terry Denton? He is a legend and a genius. Well that pretty much sums up his intro. No, you want more. Ok then…
Terry was born in 1950 in Melbourne and is the second youngest of five boys.
Not much is documented about Terry during his school years; this is usually the case with geniuses. They are quietly working away and honing their skills before bursting out to amaze us all.
I did however; discover that Terry began his path to stardom studying Architecture and quickly becoming disheartened with that subject Terry left Uni and set out into the big wide world to discover his niche. Over the course of the next several years he tried painting, sculpture, cartooning, etching, theatre and animation. He even ran a music shop with friend. There are rumours Terry tried his hand at horse whispering, iceberg building and pterodactyl counselling but these are unconfirmed.
In 1984 Terry’s creative forces came together when he wrote and illustrated, Felix and Alexander setting his course now firmly set for fame and fortune. The book was published in 1985 and went on to win the CBCA Picture Book of the Year in 1986.
Between 1991-92 Terry roamed the corridors of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation working on the popular show, Lift-Off. Terry helped develop the show and also designed the puppets and overall look of the program. Hailed as one of the most ground breaking Australian TV shows for children it aired for 78 episodes from 1992-95 on the ABC.
Since then Terry has gone on to illustrate over 40 books, many with Aussie literary legend, Andy Griffiths. Before their popular Treehouse series the two created books such as, The Cat on the Mat is Flat, The Bad Books, The Just! and Help! series, Andypedia and Once Upon a Slime plus lots more you can read about on their websites. www.terrydenton.com and www.andygriffiths.com.au
In addition to his CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award in 1986, Terry has been short-listed countless times since. In 1993 he took out the Multicultural Book of the Year and the Best Designed Book. He was also short-listed for the 2002 Aurealis Award and has won too many children’s choice awards to count.
His author/illustrated titles such as Gasp!, Duck for Cover, Sucked In, Wombat and Fox and his Bumper series are highly recommended reading.
Other collaborative partnerships include Margaret Wild’s, Big Red Hen, various Aussie Bites titles and also titles with Michael Wagner, Andrew Daddo and Mem Fox just to name a few.
When he is not out entertaining the 20,000+ school kids he sees each year or running workshops you can find Terry in his room at the bottom of his garden in Mornington, Victoria slaving away at his creative masterpieces, although he wouldn’t call it slaving but we would call them masterpieces.
Terry’s imagination is endless. His work is spirited, boisterous, cheeky and always colourful, as I said Terry is a creative genius.
Read Creative Kids Tales' April 2015 interview with Terry Denton
You can read our interview with the other half of this creative duo, Andy Griffiths, here.