Brooke was born on 24 September 1862, in Birkenhead, England. His skillful and witty illustrations in Andrew Lang's Nursery Rhyme Book (1897) established his reputation as a leading children's book illustrator of pen-and-ink line drawings and watercolors. His acclaimed works include Johnny Crow's Garden (1903), "Ring O' Roses", "The Golden Goose Book", Johnny Crow's Party (1907), Johnny Crow's New Garden (1935), "The Nursery Rhyme Book", and "Oranges and Lemons" published by Frederick Warne & Co.
Brooke married Sybil Diana Brooke. They had two children, their elder son was killed in World War 1, the younger was Henry Brooke, Baron Brooke of Cumnor, who became British Home Secretary and later a peer.
In Children's Reading, Lewis M. Terman and Margaret Lima recommended some of his picture books (such as "The Golden Goose Book", the two that feature Johnny Crow, and others), commenting that Brooke "catches the spirit of childhood with rare skill".