Friday, January 28, 2011

29th January Bill Peet (1915 - 2002) Rosemary Wells (1943) Allan Baillie (1943)

Bill Peet was a remarkable American illustrator who started drawing for Walt Disney and therefore was involved in many of their animated movies, but as well as this, he was the author illustrator of a large number of picture books for children. Most had animals as their characters and they behaved at various times like the animal they are drawn as, but often they are personified as well. Many of these titles are hard to find now, but those you can locate still have a lot to offer readers. My school library has Zella, Zack and Zodiac; Encore for Eleanor; Pamela Camel and Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent. Bill's books combine humour, good vocabulary and subtle lessons with comic drawings.

I know a person cannot be an icon, but for me American author illustrator Rosemary Wells is almost an icon. Children recognise her illustrations immediately. Rosemary has so much to offer children, parents and teachers through her work in the world of children's literature. Her website offers teachers and parents so much information about reading, how children learn to read and how best to share literature with children. And then on top of that she has a multitude of beautiful picture books to choose from. There is her series about Max and Ruby where sibling rabbits behave exactly as children do. Max and Ruby became so much part of our family life that my son used to come and say to me that his older sister was 'doing a Ruby' which meant she was telling him what to do. Last year one Year 2 at school got so involved in the McDuff series, which are illustrated by Susan Jeffers, that they wanted to write to Rosemary and tell her that they needed her to do more titles. The preschoolers like her Edward books because he is always doing something for the first time. And, we shouldn't forget all the Mother Goose books and the classics Noisy Nora, Timothy Goes to School and Morris's Disappearing Bag.

I am going to write about Australian author Allan Baillie tomorrow.

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