Bob MacNally, Alfie and Annie Rose's neighbour, is very sad. His old cat Smokey has died and he misses him terribly. As it is nearly Mr MacNally's birthday, Alfie suggests throwing a surprise party to cheer him up. As well as a cake and lots of presents, there's an extra special surprise in store for Mr MacNally. And it's up to Alfie to look after it until the big day . . .
Shirley Hughes was born and grew up in West Kirby, near Liverpool. She studied at Liverpool Art School and at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford, before embarking on a career as a freelance illustrator. At first she worked as an interpretive illustrator, but she began to write and design her own picture books when her children were very young. Her first book, Lucy and Tom's Day, was published in 1960. Now living in London's Notting Hill, Shirley Hughes has illustrated over two hundred children's books and is renowned as a champion of children's literature. She has been the recipient of the Other Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal and the prestigious Eleanor Farjeon Award.