Friday, December 15, 2017
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I remember watching the Disney movie, “Mary Poppins” when it first came out. It was released August 27, 1964, the summer before my Senior year of high school. Child dressed in “Mary Poppins” costume, 1964. The Walt Disney Company had a very successful children’s toy and costume merchandising campaign in conjunction with the Julie Andrews film. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I had never read the original 1933 book on which the movie is based, and, after watching the movie, it never occurred to me to read the book. That changed when I recently saw the movie, “Saving Mr. Banks.” This... (Read More ...)

Published in 1971, Leo the Late Bloomer was written by Robert Kraus and illustrated by Jose Aruego. Picture of A lion cub with his mum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Kraus started out as a cover artist and cartoonist for The New Yorker, after winning his first cartoon contest at the age of 10 and selling his first cartoon to The New Yorker at age 16. He went on to found his own publishing house, Windmill Books, which drew artists like Jacob Lawrence and Norman Rockwell to its fold, for collaborations with Kraus. Windmill was the first to publish board books for children. Leo the Late Bloomer is about... (Read More ...)

Written and illustrated by American cartoonist and children’s author, David Johnson Leisk, whose pen name was Crockett Johnson, Harold and the Purple Crayon is the first in a series, published in 1955. Color mark from Crayola “Violet (purple)” crayon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) The illustrations are simple, clear and compelling. But, what is most appealing about this simple story is that the little boy at its heart, Harold, is in charge of his world. When he wants to go for a walk, he draws a road with his purple crayon. When he wants moonlight to see by, he draws a moon. When he wants... (Read More ...)

The Little House, written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton (1909 – 1968), was released in 1942. Coloured engraving of a carriage pulled by two horses. One of three colour engravings mounted together. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) It’s story is as relevant today as then. Imagine writing in 1942 about the development that was about to take place in this country. Burton was prescient in writing this story about a little house out in the country that is soon overtaken by roads and city built all around it. Until finally, the great-great-granddaughter of the man who built it, recognizes it as... (Read More ...)

The Railroad Book, written and illustrated by E. Boyd Smith, was released in 1913, copyright by the Fairfield County Council and the Boy Scouts of America. Photo at Manassas, VA, of the Amtrak station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Children’s picture books, by American artists, were rare in the early 1900s. This started to change when a librarian, Clara Hunt, director of children’s work at the Brooklyn Public Library, put out a call for good picture books, writing directly to the publisher, Houghton Mifflin, as part of this outreach effort. E. Boyd Smith responded to Hunt’s call with The Farm... (Read More ...)

  Illustration from the play Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Jessie Braham White, Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, Edmond W Rickett, and Charles Buckles Falls. The caption read: “Here for nearly a year they have watched over and night”, this has been stripped in this derivative for transcription at another place. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Millions of Cats, Wanda Ga’g’s first children’s book, (1893 – 1946), was released in 1928. This must be the first place we heard, “millions and billions and trillions” that now is associated with the number of stars, as popularized by... (Read More ...)

After being turned down for her first children’s book by 13 publishers, Virginia Lee Burton started testing her stories on her own children first. Marion Steam Shovel Model 90, 1908 image showing the shovel at work on the Panama Canal. Image taken from a 1915 Marion Shovel catalog. Company defunct; archives given to Marion Historical Society, Marion Ohio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) “I would tell them the story over and over, watching their reaction and adjusting to their interest or lack of interest … the same with the drawings.” “Children are very frank critics.” Are there any children... (Read More ...)

Eric Carle’s first children’s illustrated book was Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. Christie Black, Miss Virginia reads the book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to third-grade classes Friday at Fort Belvoir Elementary. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Still a childhood favorite, Carle’s illustrations were paired with the story written by Bill Martin, Junior. It became a best-seller. Carle followed it by writing and illustrating 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo in 1968 and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, published on June 3, 1969. His distinctive, water-color-looking art is actually collages,... (Read More ...)

Created by author/illustrator Norman Bridwell, Clifford the Big Red Dog was developed when an editor picked out a picture he’d drawn of a baby girl on top of a horse-sized dog and asked him to write a story for it. Mrs. Laura Bush poses with children and Clifford the Big Red Dog on the South Lawn during the 2007 White House Easter Egg Roll Monday, April 9, 2007. There were many children’s characters in attendance including Charlie Brown, Bugs Bunny, Arthur, and Curious George. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Clifford, the Big Red Dog was published in 1963. “I’m Emily Elizabeth,” “and... (Read More ...)

Hans Augusto Rey (H.A. Rey) first met his wife, Margret, when she was sliding down a bannister at a party at her father’s house. “The Man with The Yellow Hat” and Curious George, the pet monkey, are enduring characters in books, comics, film and television. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Their marriage and artistic collaboration created some of the most beloved children’s books of all time, she writing, he illustrating. German immigrants, the Reys fled Paris in June, 1940, hours before it fell to the Nazis. They had the manuscript for Curious George, that cute little monkey captured... (Read More ...)