Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Happy Birthday Season, Garth

Garth Williams

Who doesn't love the characters in Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, The Cricket in Times Square and the Little House series?  They were all brought to life by none other than the illustrator, Garth Williams.  You can find his animal drawings in a dozen Little Golden books.  He illustrated 11 of Margaret Wise Brown's children's books.  He also illustrated books by Else Minarik, Jack Prelutsky, Byrd Baylor, Russell Hoban, and Charlotte Zolotow, among many others.

Williams was a master at drawing furry little critters.

Williams was born in New York on April 16, 1912, to parents who were both artists.  At age 10 he moved with his family to the UK. When  he was older, he studied architecture for a while.  Then he turned to painting and sculpture.  He became the headmaster at an art school. Later he returned to America where he illustrated for a short time for the magazine, The New Yorker. He was asked by Harper and Row to illustrate E.B. White's Stuart Little.  This book was such a hit he decided to become a full-time illustrator of children's books.


Garth Williams with his second wife

His successful career included creating the illustrations for the whole Little House series.  His oldest daughter, Fiona, was the model for Fern Arable in Charlotte's Web. He wrote and illustrated seven of his own books.  Williams estimated, at age 81, he had illustrated 97 books.


Williams had five daughters and a son from four wives. Later in life he moved to Marfil, Mexico and lived with a colony of expatriots.  In 1996 he died in his home there at age 84 and was buried in Aspen, Colorado.  


Check out the Facebook page that memorializes him, Garth Williams, Illustrator.

Drawing Deadline

Drawing for a copy of Jorie and the Magic Stones is at noon today. See my previous post for directions on how to enter. You definitely want this delightful story.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Dragons and Drawing

I just finished reading a delightful children’s book, called Jorie & the Magic Stones, by Angela (A.H.) Richardson. I was drawn into the story from the beginning and could hardly put it down.

Nine-year old Marjorie, who prefers to be called Jorie, comes to live with her spinster Great Aunt Letitia in Mortimer Manor.  Shortly after her arrival she discovers a mysterious and very old book, The Flying Dragons of Varadwan. She learns the ancient past of Mortimer Manor and her mother’s ancestor, Maalog Doonan.  She meets a young friend, Rufus, who accompanies her to Cabtynthius, an amazing world of flying dragons and strange kinds of people beneath the tarn, deep pond, by her great aunt’s yard.

Interwoven between the chapters about Jorie and Rufus are the chapters about the dark world of Shyloxia and Lord Fodomalk, who can transform himself into a menacing flying dragon. He is intent on capturing the three magical stones Josie and Rufus are on a quest to locate.  Rufus’ tutor, Professor Schrinch, joins the evil efforts as well.

The momentum of the story is maintained from beginning to end.  Magic Stones deals with classic themes of friendship and good versus evil while tossing in lots of adventure and danger.  It’s an engaging story for fantasy lovers from middle elementary through middle school. The youngest readers may be challenged a bit with some of the vocabulary or the unique spellings of names, but I think they’ll manage it just fine with a little help.  It will be a good read-aloud choice, too.  When readers finish this book, they’ll be eager to follow Jorie’s adventures in Richardson's two sequels, Jorie and the River of Fire and Jorie and the Golden Key.

Author Angela Richardson is multi-talented, as she writes, paints, sculpts, plays guitar, has acted on stage, screen and television, and gardens.  Originally from England, she now calls Tennessee home. Her three sons are grown, and she has three grandchildren.

Drum Rollllllll - - -
Now for the drawing part of this post.  To be eligible for a copy of Jorie and the Magic Stones, first, "Like" this post.  Then leave a comment telling to whom and for what age you would like to read this book. Finally, click here and comment Like on my Pinterest pin of this book.

 I will draw and announce the winner on Wednesday morning, April 18.

Rock the Test!

I made these for each of the 3rd graders in my school as an encouragement for this week of state tests