Creators of The Gruffalo present an exclusive cover for The Big Issue

Get your hands on this very special edition with its unique cover by the iconic Axel Scheffler in support of The Big Issue and celebrating key workers

Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo, has collaborated with The Big Issue to bring readers an exclusive cover featuring many characters from his books with Julia Donaldson in the wake of Covid- 19, celebrating Covid Crusaders under the theme of “All Together Now!”

Scheffler has created a bright and highly-collectable cover incorporating many of their most iconic characters, clapping and cheering for Princess Pearl and Sir Gadabout – the flying doctors who feature in a book with Zog, the dragon, who acts as their air ambulance.

Scheffler said: “Having lived in London for more than 30 years I’m very aware of The Big Issue and its importance.

“Here are Princess Pearl and Sir Gadabout, the flying doctors, on Zog’s back – they are very busy these days (let’s not question my drawing of their PPE!) – and well deserve the applause from the other characters from our books. You can see The Gruffalo and Child, Stick Man and his family socially distanced from each other. Even the Highway Rat is applauding – he is not so bad after all. Poor Superworm can’t clap, but I think his eyes show that he is full of support of the flying doctors.”

Scheffler and Donaldson’s latest collaboration, The Smeds and the Smoos, was the bestselling new picture book of 2019, while The Gruffalo has now sold more than 17 million copies worldwide. The classic tale was recently read by Michelle Obama to keep kids entertained at home during lockdown.

This edition of the magazine also includes an interview with Julia Donaldson in our regular Letter to My Younger Self feature. She said: “The Gruffalo sat on another publisher’s desk for months… Then Axel [Scheffler] came along and he did a few sketches… I saw and I knew very, very quickly that was my Gruffalo and now I just couldn’t imagine him any other way. Axel has added so much humour and characterisation to my stories. I am eternally grateful to him.”

I hope readers of all ages love it as much as we do!

Editor of The Big Issue, Paul McNamee, said: “It’s a thrill to have Axel Scheffler create this for The Big Issue. At this time we’ve been knocked out by the talent that has come to help. And here we have some of the most iconic creations in modern children’s literature saluting the great people doing so much and helping our Big Issue vendors who are going through so much. I want to thank Axel and I hope readers of all ages love it as much as we do!”

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, our vendors aren’t able to sell the magazine on the streets across the UK.

But you can continue to support The Big Issue by downloading our app, available on Apple Store and Google Play for weekly downloads of the magazine at £2.99 or via subscriptions, starting from £38.99 for three months. You can also subscribe here to get magazines delivered to your door each week.

You can also buy The Big Issue in leading retail outlets. 50% of net proceeds will go to vendors needing their help. The remaining 50% will enable us to continue our vital work with vendors now and in the future.

We are also giving away a collection of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler books! To be in with a chance of winning, you simply have to share a picture of yourself with this week’s cover – digital download purchases accepted too – on social media with the hashtag #AllTogetherNow making sure to tag us in on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Help spread the word about how Donaldson and Scheffler’s characters are All Together Now with The Big Issue!

Image credit: Artwork by Axel Scheffler. Characters copyright © Julia Donaldson and A. Scheffler Ltd 2020. Books published by Alison Green Books (AGB) and Macmillan Children’s Books (MCB). Clockwise from top: Zog and the Flying Doctors (AGB), Stick Man and Stick Family (AGB), The Highway Rat (AGB), The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child (MCB). Room on the Broom (MCB).