Now for the rest of yesterday's birthdays.
Wendell Minor is an American illustrator whose style of illustration is often larger than life, but so realistic that you also feel as if you are there having the experience depicted. In his new book where the illustrations accompany the words of the Gordon Titcomb song, The Last Train, you feel as if you are on the train or watching it across a field. His books that accompany Jean Craighead George's closely observed nature texts also bring you up close to the animals. See The Last Polar Bear; Snow Bear and The Wolves Are Back. Other books where Wendell has brought experience to life are Buzz Aldrin's Reach For the Sky and Look to the Stars.
Patrick McDonnell is an American cartoonist with a very successful comic strip about a dog called Mutts, but I first met his work when I bought his picture book Art and was enamoured of both the text and art. It too is cartoony, but it has Pollock-type artwork and Harold of purple crayon fame type imagination and makes a fun book about a small boy named Art. Recently I read about Patrick's new book to be released in April. Called Me...Jane, it is a biography of Jane Goodall and her gorillas. I can't wait to see it.
And lastly, Keith Baker who is also an American illustrator. I do not know his birth date, but I do know I love his illustrations and cannot wait to have fun with L M N O Peas and Potato Joe when Kindergarten are doing food. His other books are just as special and lend themselves to maths activities, units of enquiry or simply literature response. The Magic Fan has a text, art and paper engineering to elicit extensive discussion and given the recent tsunami in Japan it is extremely pertinent.