Meet Authors & Illustrators

Ted Lewin

Ted Lewin

   They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but when Ted Lewin creates the cover you can be sure that the illustrations inside are just as captivating as the book jacket itself. As I was concluding this interview with Ted, I asked him if there was something else he wanted to talk about. "Don't you want to know about the cover?" he asked. As a visual artist he knows how important it is to capture a book browser's attention immediately. That happened when I first saw the cover art for The Longest Night. I was enchanted by the clear simplicity: the chickadee on the bare branch of the deciduous tree sitting in the light of the full moon with a background of cold, winter blue. I just had to see what was inside and what this book was all about. The seamless interplay of text and illustration envelope the reader. It is the winter solstice. The world is dark and cold and three bold animals are sure they can bring back the sun through their brute force. That is not to be, however. It is cheerful encouragement that brings light to the day. Text and illustration combine in a harmonious blend for the senses.

   Ted Lewin has received many accolades for the masterful depiction of light in his illustrations, including a Caldecott Honor in 1994 for Peppe the Lamplighter. I asked him why he was drawn to the text of The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer. "The story is so evocative and it has a strong storyteller's voice. I was drawn to the quiet winter mood. Then, at the end, there is a change of mood. The story goes from the darkness of night to the brilliant light of dawn. It is what I like to paint and this text gave me the opportunity do so."

   When he read the text for the first time Ted could see so many things that he loves to paint. There were the animals and birds. An avid photographer, Ted has an extensive file of animal photographs that he has been collecting since he was a child. The brevity of the text allowed him to create large, up close portraits of the animals. Indeed, the reader has a sense of being there in the forest next to these creatures. When you look at the moose, it looks like it is staring back at you. The fox is particularly dramatic in its barking pose.

   I asked Ted how he determined that his illustrations should be so dramatic in contrast to the quiet evocative text. "Some people might think you should have quiet illustrations to go with the quiet text. That would have just washed out the whole book. I think the contrast makes this a stronger book." I couldn't agree more with his assessment.

   The cover immediately grabs the reader's attention. A single chickadee sits on a branch in the light of the full moon and is surrounded by a mesmerizing shade of blue. The title is in silver, reflecting moonlight. Ted said, "A cover needs to be a poster. It needs to knock your socks off from across the room. When I sat down with my editor and the art director they both immediately said the cover had to be the chickadee. That was fine. I had already done one inside the book. Well, they said, 'We think the moon should be on the cover.' That was fine, too, until they told me they wanted a separate piece of art. So, I created a new piece. It is the same chickadee on the same branch as inside the book but now it has a full moon behind it."

   The story really begins on the endpapers where the reader is invited, through the drawings of the woods, to enter. Just as in a movie where the action begins as the opening credits are shown, Ted explained that the end papers, title page and half-title page do the same. The scene is set. The reader slowly and gradually enters the deep, dark woods and the story. The cinematic approach continues through the book as Ted moves from landscapes to intimate up-close portraits of the animals. The result is quite dramatic.

   "The prevalent mood of the book is one of a dark winter night until we reach the end and the light from the sunrise is so bright it 'shatters your eyes,'" Ted remarks. He loves painting moody landscapes. Normally, he selects about ten colors to use in his paintings. To create the cold and dark of a moonlit winter's night for this book, Ted narrowed the number of colors he used for those scenes to only three: ultramarine blue, Van Dyke brown and the green shade of Winsor blue. He has used these colors and blends of these colors so effectively that the finished illustrations look as if they were done in full color.

   Then, as dawn breaks in the final three pictures, Ted added more colors to convey not only the rising of the sun but the hope-filled tone of the text. Ted has a masterful understanding of color and composition and uses both to the utmost in eliciting emotional responses from the readers of his books.

   Because he always works from photographs, Ted needed shots of snowy winter woods at night. He was in contact with friends who live in the woods of Massachusetts. He asked them to call him when there was snow on the ground. That winter the weather was particularly mild. As time passed and his deadline was getting closer Ted began to panic that there would be no timely snowfall. But at long last, he did receive a call. A snowstorm had left three feet of snow on the ground. Ted and his wife, Betsy who is a noted and gifted illustrator and sometimes collaborator, immediately left their home in Brooklyn, and caught a train to Massachusetts. Ted spent a couple days taking photographs of various pieces and parts of the forest and also the larger vistas. He usually selects six or eight photos to create one painting, taking parts from each of the photographs and bringing them together into one image. His paintings are approximately 20% larger than the final book size.

   Ted explained how he created the paintings for The Longest Night. He began as he always does, by making a rough sketch-to-size of the entire book which he sent to his editor. When the book was approved, he began to paint. For the night scenes in The Longest Night, he first toned the board with a pale blue wash, covering the spaces that he wanted to remain white, such as the full moon, with liquid mask. He then peeled off the mask.

   The next part is critical to his artwork. Ted makes meticulous pencil drawings of everything in the illustration. They will be painted over, but these under-drawings are key to the entire piece of art. They provide the underlying "skeleton" and keep everything together. Using a projected photo image of the woods, Ted began to paint with watercolor and then repeated that process with the projected images of the animals. He does not erase the pencil lines. If you look closely, you can see some of them. They do, indeed, hold the composition together. Because he has created a strong under-drawing, he can be as loose as he wants with the watercolor. "Watercolor is unforgiving," Ted remarks, "You cannot go back and remove some of the color the way one can with oil paints. That is why the under-drawings are so valuable." There were a great number of decisions to be made in the compositions. For example, Ted had to determine if the animals needed to be consistently kept to scale. He decided that was not necessary and met that challenge through up-close drawings of each of the animals. There is also a double-page spread where all four creatures are present and the chickadee is off to the side on a branch and shown much smaller than the others. Ted pointed out the illustration of the moose going uphill and how he accomplished a sense of motion. The moose is going from left to right and the woods are leaning the other way. This created a pyramid effect at the top and a very strong compositional element. It is no wonder that some of the pencil line drawings can take a day or two to create. Once "the skeleton" is done, Ted can work quickly with the watercolors. In fact, he can finish an illustration in watercolor in as short a span as three hours.

   With the change in mood from night to the promise of a new day, Ted toned the board in pink. He always uses a color called rose dorĂ© for dawn. He then drew the chickadee on top. "It is really, really difficult to capture the true colors of sunlight and moonlight," he said. Like all artists, Ted selects the colors that he feels best represent the light. I asked him if he got up early to watch the sun rise. Not only did he do that, but he photographed a chickadee on a branch in his backyard and immortalized that little bird in The Longest Night. "I love to paint the thicket and the cross-work of lacy branches. It is like calligraphy. When I was taking photos I looked for woods full of these."

   What does he hope children will take from The Longest Night? First, he commented that it is a wonderful read aloud. "Kids eyes get big with the wind sound in the book." He was so pleased to be asked to illustrate Marion Dane Bauer's text. "I hope children will come away with a sense of wonder; that the magic of the deep, dark woods and these mystical creatures will grab them; that they will come away with a love of the mysteries of nature."

   A really good book is one that you can go back to over and over again and discover something new each time. The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer with illustrations by Ted Lewin is one of those books in which the text and illustrations come together to create a work of art greater than either individual aspect. A really good book stays with you long after the reading. I was out on my morning walk recently. I became very aware of the beautiful colors of dawn in the Eastern sky and immediately thought of Ted's final illustrations for this book. And then the most amazing thing happened. From a nearby tree I heard, "Dee-dee-dee." It made me smile.

To read more about Ted Lewin, his books and his art visit his website at www.tedlewin.com.

Contributor: Sharon Salluzzo

For the original feature on Ted Lewin, click here.

 

Reviews

At Gleason's Gym
Ted Lewin
   Through the training experience of Sugar Boy Younan, a Bantam Weight National Silver Gloves Champion, Lewin introduces us to the sights and sounds of Gleason's Gym, where "the world works out," the trainer of champions. We not only see the myriad activities of those from all over the world. We can hear the noises they make, and almost smell the sweat. Few words are needed. When it is Sugar Boy's turn, he spars with his dad as he trains for the Nationals. Even girls are training there. Lewin's brush strokes apply watercolors in nervous, tentative movements creating vital images always on the move. Frequent splashes of calligraphy for sounds like "thump thump" or "ratatatatat" add to the visual excitement. Double-page scenes display the multiple activities, while pages of black and white drawings focus on individual sparring and shadow boxing. All the pages project the energy that floods the gym. The boxing gear, the rings, and the punching bags, all add to the reality of the training. The naturalistically painted images are more effective than photographs in conveying information while evoking emotion. A glossary is included. 2007, A Neal Porter Book/Roaring Brook Press, $17.95. Ages 6 to 10. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9781596432314
ISBN: 1596432314

Balarama: A Royal Elephant
Ted and Betsy Lewin
   We join the Lewins in southern India as they visit an elephant camp and meet the mighty Drona, the lead Royal Elephant in the maharaja of Mysore's parade in the festival of Dasara. They decide to return for the parade but learn, to their sorrow, that Drona has died. The elephant chosen to replace him and carry the golden howdah is Balarama. The preparations for the parade are vividly described and depicted, as is the dressing of Balarama. Despite concern, Balaram performs beautifully in the spectacle, a worthy successor to Drona. Both artists use watercolors deftly to record the events. Ted's double-page scenes are replete with naturalistic details of both the elephants and the street action and architecture. The spectacular pomp is recorded with obvious appreciation and affection. Betsy uses her sketchy black ink lines for less lavish mini-dramas, like the group of children listening to an oft-told tale of a mischievous elephant, or those playing an impromptu game. She also records some of the dances that accompany the formal parades. These smaller images expand our understanding of the spirit of the spectacle, giving a more human dimension. The vision of each of these artists supplements that of the other for a complete interpretation. The end pages alone are knockouts. There is a map and an extensive introduction, plus additional facts about the elephants and a glossary and pronunciation guide. 2009, Lee & Low Books, $19.95. Ages 6 to 10. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9781600602658
ISBN: 1600602657

Big Jimmy's Kum Kau Chinese Take Out
Ted Lewin
   This is a truly charming book that should make everyone who reads it hungry for a plate of subgum chow mai fun or a carton of sam gap tai. The narrator is a very young boy who helps out at his family's restaurant every Saturday. Through his adventures, we explore a wonderful meal, from the delivery of ingredients to the prep work in the kitchen to the delight of the customers, who are regulars and therefore friends to be greeted by name. Children will be in awe of the boy who "works" so hard, and greatly amused by what HE chooses for dinner. (Hint--It is not Chinese food.) To create his delightful illustrations, Lewin took photos at his favorite Chinese restaurant and reproduced them in watercolors. He also reproduces that restaurant's colorful menu on the inside covers of the book. The only possible response to reading this book is to take the kids out for Chinese. Teachers or librarians could combine a reading of the book with the serving of some Chinese appetizers, or even just with fortune cookies. 2002, HarperCollins, $16.95. Ages 3 to 9. Reviewer: Donna Freedman (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0688160263
ISBN: 0688160271
ISBN: 9780688160265
ISBN: 9780688160272

The Disappearing Island
Corinne Demas
Illustrated by Ted Lewin
   On Carrie's ninth birthday she received a small box with a note that read "To celebrate your birthday we will voyage out to the disappearing island where I found this sand dollar when I was your age." The island only appears at low tide and is covered by sand and nothing green. But there are treasures to discover--a brick from someone's chimney and part of the spiral staircase from one of the lighthouses. Carrie learns that during the early 1800s, Billingsgate Island was a prosperous fishing community, but slowly the ocean reclaimed it. The story is intriguing and grandma loves recounting that man cannot truly tame nature. But the underlying message is the joy of sharing a special secret with a special child. Both the author and illustrator visited Billingsgate for inspiration and the result is graceful prose complemented by exquisite watercolor paintings. The book will evoke pleasant summertime memories and begs to be shared between adults and children. 2000, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster, $16.00. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Laura Hummel (Children's Literature).
Awards, Honors, Prizes:
Massachusetts Children's Book Award, 2001 Honor Book Children's Picture Book
ISBN: 068980539X
ISBN: 9780689805394

The Girl on the High-Diving Horse
Linda Oatman High
Illustrated by Ted Lewin
   Young Ivy Cordelia takes us back to the summer of 1936, which she and her father spend at Atlantic City. He is a photographer, while she is along to enjoy the beach and the sights along the boardwalk. She is excited the most by the diving horses. With a young girl riding, the horse dives from a high platform into a tank of water. Her father photographs the two sisters who do the dives. Before she has to go sadly back to Philadelphia at the end of the summer, Ivy Cordelia has the thrill of riding behind one of the sisters on a dive. Ten years later, she herself is doing the diving. Lewin replicates the look of the colored postcards of that time, as he paints the details of the attractions on the boardwalk, the beach and hotels, and of course many action shots of horse and riders. The brief text supplies names, dates, and our heroine's wishful thinking, but it is Lewin's tinted photos that tell the full, engaging story. Notes by both author and illustrator fill in both additional facts and personal notes about the story. 2003, Philomel Books/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, $16.99. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 039923649X
ISBN: 9780399236495

Gorilla Walk
Ted and Betsy Lewin
   In their first collaboration, Ted and Betsy Lewin visited the mountain gorillas that reside in the Ugandan Impenetrable Forest. Their arduous trek and the reward of seeing these magnificent creatures have been captured in a compelling retelling accompanied by full page watercolor scenes of the gorillas in their habitat and the many insets that humorously recap the story of their expedition. Among the best are the watercolor sketchs of Ted taking out a porter and everyone running from the Safari ants. Readers will learn some interesting facts about these endangered animals and come away as the authors did with mixed feelings about the benefits of habituation. A Mountain Gorilla Fact sheet and an index round out this beautiful book. 1999, Lothrop, $16.00. Ages 6 up. Reviewer: Charles Wyman (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0688165095
ISBN: 9780688165093

High as a Hawk: A Brave Girl's Historic Climb
T.A. Barron
Illustrated by Ted Lewin
   Sometimes it takes a death to inspire us to greatness. As bonneted eight-year-old Harriet misses her mom, she triumphantly conquers pain and doubt to fulfill a dream to reach the summit of Long's Peak. The story is based on an historic climb in 1905 when Harriet Peters, the youngest person ever to climb Long's Peak, and Enos Mills, a world famous guide, reached the top at 14,255 feet. Enos Mills campaigned steadfastly against mining interests to preserve this spectacular place and ten years after this, his favorite climb, it became the Rocky Mountain National Park. With this wise, strong, Scotsman, Harriet "scrambled up a rocky ridge, encountered boulders--hundreds of them, and ...snow up to my knees" to reach the top. Ted Lewin's watercolors are magical. He uses light to capture the suspense and beauty of the climb. He paints the mystery and fear of the dark forest and the surprise of the "bugling sound" of a "great bull elk bound[ing] out of the trees." The joy of success explodes in the light blue of the sky, the upturned arms and the soaring hawk on the last page. Barron's prose is inspirational as he tells of the child heroine and wonders about her impact on Mills. His story stirs a desire to climb and see this great work of Mother Nature so one can more than imagine the "string of lakes gleaming like a blue necklace" from the summit, to feel As High as a Hawk. 2004, Philomel, $16.99 Ages 5 to 7. Reviewer: Sue Stefurak (Children's Literature).
Awards, Honors, Prizes:
Nautilus Book Award, 2005 Finalist Children's Illustrated
ISBN: 0399237046
ISBN: 9780399237041

Horse Song: The Naadam of Mongolia
Ted and Betsy Lewin
   The world-traveling Lewins take us to Mongolia for the summer festival of Naadam, where legendary child jockeys race half wild horses. The hero of their story, nine-year-old Tamir, is a composite of the real children they met at the festival. We share a tent with them at the training camp, eat traditional foods, and watch the many preparations. On the day of the race, it is pandemonium, trying to get the horses in line as they run. Tamir manages to come in first in the race. Ceremonies end with the awarding of prizes and the traditional "horse song." Ted Lewin's watercolors describe events with compelling naturalism. He provides information while also evoking the emotions felt as a participant in the events. As the horses gather, we sense the tension of both riders and mounts. An interior scene also shows many objects and traditional activities. Betsy Lewin's small reed pen-and-watercolor vignettes add informational details and a leavening of humor. The front and back endpapers of sketches of the jockeys must come from her sketchbook, as they have immediacy with the liveliness of sharp observation. There are pages of additional factual information, a map, and a glossary with a pronunciation guide. 2008, Lee & Low Books, $19.95. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Awards, Honors, Prizes:
Cybils, 2008 Nominee Non-Fiction Middle Grade/Young Adult Book
ISBN: 9781584302773
ISBN: 1584302771

The Longest Night
Marion Dane Bauer
Illustrated by Ted Lewin
   Bauer paints a poetic verbal picture of a long, dark night with deep snow, when "the stars are ice, the moon is frost, and the entire world is still." Bears and mice sleep; the wind wails; and the crow caws, "Gone!" telling how he saw the sun go and how he will wake it up. "Gone!" cries the moose, declaring that he will scoop it up. "Gone!" barks the fox, who says he will sniff it out and dig it up. To each the wind says, "Not you." Only the chickadee can bring back the sun, says the wind, to the surprise of the others, but it is the "dee and dee" of its song that finally causes the sun to open his eyes and smile; then "the journey toward spring begins." For this variation on a myth common to many cultures, Lewin's equally poetic double-page scenes communicate the deep silences of the winter forest. Using only three watercolor pigments for almost all the illustrations, he creates the trees, rocks, and snowy blanket as well as the quartet of creatures, respectful of anatomical facts but investing each with an almost mystical presence. The chickadee perched on a tangle of naked branches on the jacket/cover almost shows us the gentle voice that might well coax the sleeping sun to action. Close-up portraits of the other characters are equally effective. Do not miss the end pages. 2009, Holiday House, Ages 4 to 8, $17.95. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9780823420544
ISBN: 082342054X

Lost City: The Discovery of Machu Picchu
Ted Lewin
   Bound by the symbolic opening endpapers of deep jungle followed by the closing well-knit building stones of the Lost City, Lewin takes readers on the trail that Yale professor Hiram Bingham followed into Peru. Bingham had heard of the lost city of the Inca, Vilcapampa, had seen other walled structures constructed by the famed Incan builders, and was determined to discover this city. So, by asking if there were any ruins nearby, he finally secured information about a city straight up through jungles and into the cloud-covered mountains. Lewin's detailed and dramatic watercolors depict Bingham crawling over a log bridge, hacking his way through jungle, and for child reader interest, a boy who watches from above as the party make its way upward. Lewin's pictures reveal to readers the first structures, the steps emerging from bamboo thickets and jungle vines, to an ending aerial view of the city structure once the vines were removed years later. It is a fine trip for a budding scientist and explorer to make in Bingham's company and a book that evokes wonder about other "lost cities" or unexplored places. Lewin's author's note tells how he found the boy, an actual character from Bingham's journal, and how he prepared for making his pictures accurate. For a slightly older audience or readers who want even more facts about this marvelous Peruvian treasure, Machu Picchu, by Elizabeth Mann (Mikaya, 2000), is a fine straightforward informational book that answers even more of the questions children may have about this civilization and additionally includes more information about Hiram Bingham. 2003, Philomel, $16.99. Ages 7 to 11. Reviewer: Susan Hepler, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0399233024
ISBN: 9780399233029

One Green Apple
Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Ted Lewin
   Farah, a Muslim girl, knows her dupatta and incomprehension of English make her stick out at her new school. She has recently emigrated from a country that has had difficulties with the United States, and she wonders if she will be accepted by the other children. On a school field trip to an orchard, Farah finds some similarities between her new country and her home country that make her feel less homesick. There are the friendly faces of two classmates, Anna and Jim, and farm dogs, with the insides of ears as "pink and shiny" as her dog Haddis's ears. She attends to sounds that are universal: the crunch-crunch of dogs eating, the ka-chunk of apples in the cider press and laughter, including her own. In saying her first English word, "App-ell," aloud, Farah begins to take her place in this new culture just as the apple she chose mingles with those of her classmates in the cider press. Master author Bunting brings a compassionate eye and light touch to this story of resilience and self-acceptance, a story that will resonate with children of all cultures. Lewin's stunning watercolors capture the sun-dappled orchard, the day's shifting light and the changing expressions of Farah and her classmates. 2006, Clarion, $16.00. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum (Children's Literature).
Awards, Honors, Prizes:
Charlotte Zolotow Award, 2007 Highly Commended
ISBN: 0618434771
ISBN: 9780618434770

Pennies in a Jar
Dori Chaconas
Illustrated by Ted Lewin
   A young boy tells about learning to face his fears while waiting for his father to return from serving in World War II. One day, a man comes by with a pony and offers to take the boy's picture on the pony for fifty cents. The boy has the money; he has been saving his pennies in order to buy his dad a special birthday present. However, he is frightened of the pony. His initial reaction is to say no. Then he remembers that his dad told him that if something is important enough, you just have to do it. He knows that the picture would be the perfect present for his dad. Overcoming his fright, the boy laughs out loud as his picture is being taken. He writes a touching note to send with the picture, telling his dad not to worry since he is taking care of things at home. This thought-provoking story is both solemn and uplifting, giving a glimpse into the past that remains meaningful today in both circumstances and theme. The beautiful watercolor illustrations are realistic representations of the times and the places. A two-page author's note at the end of the book provides additional details about life during the war years from 1939 to 1945. 2007, Peachtree Publishers, $16.95. Ages 6 to 10. Reviewer: Vicki Foote (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 9781561454228
ISBN: 1561454222

Red Legs: A Drummer Boy of the Civil War
Ted Lewin
   Award-winning author/illustrator Ted Lewin has a knack for creating indelible images with both his words and paintings. This book is no exception. Lewin relates the story of Stephen, a drummer boy for the "Red Legs" regiment of the Union army. Though only nine years old, Stephen wants to do his part to preserve the Union. With moving and heartfelt passion, Stephen describes his feelings from the eve of battle right up to its shocking conclusion. Lewin's colorful illustrations, obviously drawn with painstaking care, are nothing short of remarkable. Dozens of weapons, horses and soldiers come to life on each page. This book offers tribute not only to the boys and men--700,000 of them--who lost their lives during the American Civil War, but also to the men and women who keep the memory alive today through reenactments. 2001, HarperCollins, $15.95. Ages 6 to 10. Reviewer: Christopher Moning (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0688160247
ISBN: 0688160255
ISBN: 9780688160241
ISBN: 9780688160258

Sunsets of the West
Tony Johnston
Illustrated by Ted Lewin
   Pa felt pinched for space. He knew the stars of Maine but he itched to know the endless prairies and the Sierra with snow. "Gather your necessaries," he told his family, "We're going west." Young readers can follow along with this brave pioneer family as they leave their New Hampshire home to make a new life out west. Readers can get a feel of the mixture of sadness and excitement as they leave their home, and the dangers they face along the way. The authentic lifelike watercolors perfectly harmonize with the story to bring it alive. The hardships the family faces are offset by the breathtaking scenery and the glorious sunsets, which serve to keep them going. The artist's research included purchasing authentic pioneer clothing, and watching a reenactment of a wagon train. The author's note is full of facts on what life was like for these brave pioneers. 2002, G T Putnam's Sons, $16.99. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer: Cheryl Peterson (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0399226591
ISBN: 9780399226595

Tooth and Claw: Animal Adventures in the Wild
Ted Lewin
   This unique travel book takes animal lovers on journeys around the world. The author shares his fascinating adventures in an appealing narrative-style that young readers will enjoy. Each of the fourteen chapters is introduced with a map of the region. The author recounts his experiences with the native species of the region. He shares his encounter with bull sea lions, "six hundred pounds bigger than Hulk Hogan," on the beaches of the Galapagos Islands. The author also swims in the sea with thousands of marine iguanas. Encounters with grizzly bears in Denali Park, Alaska, leave the author terrified and shaking. Adventures of waiting to spot the deadly puff adder in the Central Kalahari Game Preserve in Botswana are recounted. Author notes at the end of each chapter offer additional information on the animals and their habitat. Each page also includes black and white drawings, sketches or photos that offer important visual images to the reader and function well with the easy-to-read text. This book is an important and useful nonfiction book for classrooms and libraries. A glossary is also included in the endnotes. 2003, HarperCollins, $15.99. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Sue Reichard (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0688141056
ISBN: 0688141064
ISBN: 9780688141059
ISBN: 9780688141066

Top to Bottom Down Under
Ted and Betsy Lewin
   The Lewins, particularly Ted, have been taking young readers along on their adventures around the world for years. Here they begin in Kakadu National Park at the northern tip of Australia and end on Kangaroo Island off the southern shore. In the park they encounter local birds, crocodiles, a python, as they glide through the mangrove swamp into a bamboo thicket that recalls the Dreamtime creation stories told by the aboriginals. They travel across the flood plains to see dingoes and predatory kites. Flying across the continent to Kangaroo Island, they find--in addition to kangaroos--emus, koalas, possums, echidnas and a platypus. Nearby, sea lions surround them on a beach, while fairy penguins come out of the sea at sundown. Ted's naturalistic watercolors which depict the animals in action in their habitats, are paired here with Betsy's light-hearted sketchy watercolor drawings, which provide some enlarged details and many scenes of the couple's engagements with animals like the sea lions and the kangaroos. Their cooperative visual narrative contributes to a fuller picture of natural history adding a human context to the adventures. This introduction to a very different world includes additional facts on the creatures they met and a brief list of the Australian slang in the text. 2005, HarperCollins Publishers, $16.89. Ages 6 to 9. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
ISBN: 0688141137
ISBN: 0688141145
ISBN: 9780688141134
ISBN: 9780688141141

Learn more about Ted Lewin.

 

Updated 11/24/2009

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