One of the giants of the children’s book genre has passed away. Russell Hoban, a prolific author who created Frances, a girl who appeared in the guise of a badger in seven books for children, and Riddley Walker, the eponymous narrator of a widely praised postapocalyptic novel for adults, died on Tuesday in London. He was 86. His death was confirmed by his daughter Phoebe, who said that she was unsure of the exact cause but that her father had recently received a diagnosis of congestive heart failure.
Mr. Hoban had several distinct careers. Trained as an illustrator, he wrote copy for advertising agencies and produced paintings for books and magazines, including several for Sports Illustrated and for Time magazine. His illustrations included a portrait of Holden Caulfield, the fictional protagonist of J. D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye,” and cover portraits of Joan Baez and Jackie Gleason that the subjects, Mr. Hoban said, did not like.
He began writing children’s books in the late 1950s.