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Arnold Lobel


When Arnold Lobel was growing up in Schenectady, New York, he was out of school and sick through most of second grade. One of the ways he kept himself occupied was by drawing. Somewhat hesitant about returning to school, he used his animal drawings as a way to make friends with his classmates. It has been said that his sets of books about animal friends, such as Frog and Toad, were based on these experiences. Lobel himself commented "Frog and Toad are really two aspects of myself."

His health improved, and upon graduting high school, he decided to improve his artistic skills and attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he focused on illustration and met his future wife Anita, also a talented illustrator. They settled in Brooklyn and had two children Adrianne and Adam. The Prospect Park Zoo was right across the meadow from their apartment, and the family would go there often. These trips to the zoo gave him the idea for the Mister Muster book. He dedicated it to Anita, Adrianna, and Adam. He and his wife worked in the same studio, on their own projects and on collaborations.

Lobel's books are warm, funny tales of love and friendship, most featuring animals as the main characters. His book Frog and Toad was a Caldecott Honor book in 1971. His lighthearted yet morally instructive book Fables won the Caldecott Medal in 1981. He has also illustrated many books by other authors, including Charlotte Zolotow's The Quarreling Book.

Lobel called himself a daydreamer instead of an author or an artist. He would see the pictues in his mind before he would think up the words to go with them. "I cannot think of any work that could be more agreeable and fun than making books for children." Lobel has said. He died in 1987 leaving a legacy of almost 100 books that he had written or illustrated.

For a complete list of works by Lobel and suggestions for further reading,
please see these links:

Third Book of Junior Authors, Author Bio

ERIC Bibliography


Parents' Choice commended books by Arnold Lobel:

Ming Lo Moves the Mountain (1982 Parents' Choice Gold Award)
Arnold Lobel.
Mulberry Books, ISBN: 0688109950
Ages 4-8.

The Book of Pigericks (1983 Parents' Choice Silver Honor)
Arnold Lobel. HarperCollins Children's Books, ISBN 0060239832.
[This title is currently out of print. Please check your local library or an out of print book dealer to locate a copy.]

The Rose in My Garden (1984 Parents' Choice Gold Award)
Arnold Lobel. Illustrated by Anita Lobel.
Mulberry Books, ISBN: 0688122655, $6.95.
Ages 4-8.

This horticultural mini-guide is a latter-day cumulative rhyme patterned, with humor and grace, after This is the House that Jack Built. Like Mistress Mary, Anita Lobel grows a decorative flower garden, a new blossom on every new page. The viewer's close attention is rewarded with the surprise discovery of an added small creature per page. The build-up is slow and quiet, thus allowing an attentive listener to savor the name of each exotic bloom. The climax, however, is fast, funny and not what you might expect. A special book from a special pair of collaborators.
Reviewed by Selma G. Lanes (1984 Parents' Choice)

A Three Hat Day (1985 Parents' Choice Gold Award)
Laura Geringer. Illustrated by Arnold Lobel.
HarperTrophy, ISBN: 0064431576

"R. R. Pottle the Third loved hats." His father "collected canes," his
mother "liked umbrellas." But "After a happy life together, Mother and
Father died." R. R. is lonely without them. Browsing in a hat store one day he meets Isabel, who recognizes a kindred hat lover. They dance down the road in the rain together. Time passes and R. R. Pottle the Fourth is born. It turns out she loves shoes. The sweet humor of this is decorated and enhanced by Arnold Lobel's full color accompaniment: the Pottle mansion is tastefully decorated in umbrellas and canes; R. R. the Third picks out a hat every morning by casting for it, while still in bed, with his fishing rod. Lobel has a gift for silliness that is never carried too far.
Reviewed by Karla Kuskin (1985 Parents' Choice)

The Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose
(1987 Parents' Choice Gold Award)
Arnold Lobel
Knopf, ISBN 0679887369

The day Mother Goose met Mr. Lobel was a fortunate day. To make such handsome order out of so many bits and pieces, sayings and verses, is a Herculean task, but Arnold Lobel makes it look easy, as he organizes, decorates, and innovates. There are marvelous double-page spreads devoted to just one verse, cunning groupings in which one illustration serves a fellowship of rhymes, and spreads that use framed miniatures to accompany unrelated lyrics.

Lobel makes himself the master of each approach. His illustrations for
"The House That Jack Built" and "This is the Key of the Kingdom" are lessons in making graphic choreography of repeating verses. "Wee Willie Winkle" may be unrivaled in "Wee Willie Winkie" annals, and "The Old Woman Tossed Up In A Basket" is a symphony of windswept curves. "The 12 Days of Christmas" ought to be published on its own.
Reviewed by Karla Kuskin (1987 Parents' Choice)

The Devil and Mother Crump (1987 Parents' Choice Gold Award)
Valerie Scho Carey. Illustrated by Arnold Lobel.
HarperCollins, ISBN 0064432785

Mother Crump was so mean "her husband and children ran away from home just to get shut of her." But that doesn't faze her. She is a "baker woman"
whose disposition and bread peel would qualify as dangerous weapons. She
is quite capable of giving the Devil his due and does exactly that when he
comes calling. In fact, by the time Mother Crump kicks off, Lucifer is so
wary that he turns her away from his domain with one red-hot coal and the
advice "to go start a Hell of your own."

Arnold Lobel has less trouble with her. Working in watercolor and shading
with a black lithographic pencil, he sets her in darkly decorative pages
bursting with draped draperies, furled furbelows, funny faces and his own
brand of medieval atmosphere.
Reviewed by Karla Kuskin (1987 Parents' Choice)

The Tale of Meshka the Kvetch (1989 Parents' Choice Gold Award)
Carol Chapman. Illustrated by Arnold Lobel.
Unicorn Paperbacks (Dutton), ISBN: 0525444947
[This title is currently out of print. Please check your local library or an out of print book dealer to locate a copy.]

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