Wednesday, November 24, 2010

25th November P.D.Eastman (1909 - 1986) Marc Brown (1946) Crescent Dragonwagon (1952) Jim LaMarche

It is the birthday for four Americans today:
P.D. Eastman is the name Philip Dey Eastman used on his books that he wrote and illustrated for Ted Giesel's (aka Dr Seuss) series of Beginner Books. He wrote several books, but is best known for Are You My Mother? which turned 40 this year. It is still very popular with beginning readers who enjoy the plot and feel amazed that they can read a whole book!

Marc Brown is the author of the Arthur books. Next year Arthur will be 35, so he is another 'stayer' in children's literature. My children often ask,"but what is he?'' Arthur is an aardvark, an animal that they know very little about. Last year during our safari for Book Week, one class researched aardvarks and decided that Arthur didn't act much like an aardvark. He was more like a child just like them! Marc Brown is interviewed on a Reading Rocket Video.

Crescent Dragonwagon is a name that each time I see I have a little chuckle to myself and think that it can't possibly be her real name, and I have just read that it is not the name she was born with. It is a great story if you are interested in people and how they think at certain points in time. I knew that she was Charlotte Zolotow's daughter, so I guessed it was a pseudonym, but not so. Although Crescent has written a number of books, there is only one in my library, a lovely, lyrical poem Half a Moon and One Whole Star illustrated very evocatively by Jerry Pinkney.

Jim LaMarche is an illustrator of beautiful books where the children in them seem larger than life and so close to the eye. See the interview with him here. I first met his work in Dennis Haseley's A Story For Bear, Laura Krauss Melmed's The Rainbabies and Little Oh, but more recently I have purchased The Elves and the Shoemaker and Up.

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