A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday George Shannon (Tomorrow's Alphabet), Phyllis Root (One Duck Stuck), and Shana Corey(Here Come the Girl Scouts!).
- Itâ€™s the birth date of Jamake Highwater (1942â€“2001) Anpao.
- George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. (1859â€“1896), inventor of Ferris wheel, was born on this day. Read Ferris Wheel: George Ferris and His Amazing Invention by Dani Sneed.
- Happy birthday Oregon and Arizona. Read My Great-Aunt Arizona by Gloria Houston, illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb.
- In 1962, First Lady Jackie Kennedy takes television viewers on White House tour. Read A Family of Poems: My favorite Poetry for Children by Caroline Kennedy, illustrated by Jon J. Muth.
Today marks the birthday of one of the most versatile and accomplished illustrators working today, Paul O. Zelinsky. My major problem in writing about Paul was deciding which of his many superb books to feature.
Born in 1953 in Evanston, Illinois, Paul lived in several locations because his father was a college professor. He discovered that by being â€śclass artistâ€ť he had a skill that allowed him to connect with other students.
While at Yale Paul became a student of Maurice Sendak, who was teaching there at the time. Although I missed Paulâ€™s first book, I became aware of his talent with The Maid and the Mouse and the Odd-Shaped House, published in 1981, still fresh and original today. Paul began to make frequent appearances on the New York Times best illustrated list and won Caldecott Honors for Rika Lesserâ€™s Hansel and Gretel, Anne Isaacâ€™s Swamp Angel, and his own adaptation of Rumplestiltskin. Paul would eventually win illustrationâ€™s top award for Rapunzel.
Paulâ€™s very popular The Wheels on the Bus, a book with movable parts, has gone sailing into classic status. In the hands of Paul Zelinsky the novelty format is never gimmicky or cheap. Wheels turn and doors open; wipers go swish, swish; and riders go bumpety, bump. The final double page spread shows the trip made by the bus. The jaunty text of the song keeps children reading and singing along.
Part of Paulâ€™s great skill has been his ability to adapt his style to fit the project. One book simply does not look like another.Â As he said in The Essential Guide to Childrenâ€™s Books and Their Creators, the Wheels on the Bus song reminded him of bubble gum: â€śThe pictures needed plenty of rhythm, and the sense of sinking your teeth into something. I thought thick oil paint might give that chewy feeling. And the palette of colors I eventually came up with does, I think, give some of the same kind of pleasure that sweets do.â€ť
The book certainly has given pleasure to thousands of preliterate readers and their parents. Although the book has been manufactured with thick, sturdy pages, I always recommend buying two copies of this book. One will probably be worn out before long.
Happy birthday Paul. You have created one great book after another â€“ all made with care, attention to detail, and a belief that children deserve the best.
Hereâ€™s a page from The Wheels on the Bus:
Originally posted February 14, 2012. Updated for .