Apart from its stunning illustrations, this book is one of the early literary attempts to generate awareness about the massive industrial pollution and the systematic destruction of our planet's resources. Sadly, forty years on, things are only going from bad to worse for the environment. Children that were brought up with books like this one are now part of the establishment, enabling the pollution to go on indefinitely while no one seems to have any interest in trying to stop it.
Michael Foreman (born in Suffolk, UK in 1938) is a prolific children's author and illustrator working over the past five decades. He received the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for his work and has collaborated with many well known writers. Here's an extended biography on him (on the British Council's website) with a long list of his books: http://literature.britishcouncil.org/michael-foreman
The fantastic work of British illustrator Richard Beards( http://www.richardbeards.com/engine/foliosite.html ). I was very lucky to have seen some of Richard's work in the flesh - as well as meeting him a few times some twelve years ago - and it's way better than the printed material. His sense of design and colour is so elegant and sophisticated that it's as if it comes from another era - the thirties perhaps or the forties. It's certainly very rare to find such quality in contemporary illustration.
This book was made into a feature length film "Frankie Starlight" starring Matt Dillon and Anne Parillaud in 1995, two years after it's publication. Chet Raymo's biography here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chet_Raymo
A great little book I picked up from a second-hand bookshop some time ago. Richard D. Taylor(1902-1972) was a Canadian-born artist who came to the US in the mid-1930's and produced work for many American publications including The New Yorker, Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post, Playboy and many others. There are plenty of images to be found on the internet but not any decent biographies - this is the best one I could find: http://library.osu.edu/blogs/cartoons/2012/04/19/found-in-the-collection-richard-d-taylor-1902-1970/