Today is Earth Day, but I wrote about it yesterday. Today I want to focus on the illustrator Kurt Wiese. Every child I teach would know him because of Marjorie Flack's The Story of Ping and Claire Huchet Bishop's The Five Chinese Brothers. I share these with Kindergarten during a unit of work which I call 'oldies, but goodies'. They are books they wouldn't pick up themselves because 'of their colour' or because 'they're old-fashioned', but once I have read them to them, these books become favourites. His Happy Easter also has its moment of glory as part of the Easter display each year.
While reading about him I was surprised to learn that German-born Wiese spent time living in Australia. The website for the James A. Michener Museum says, "On the outbreak of WWI, he was captured by the Japanese, and turned over to the British. He spent five years as a prisoner, most of them in Australia, where his fascination for the animal life inspired him to start sketching." After the war and a change in career Wiese became an animator and illustrator and moved eventually to America where he won the Caldecott Award twice.