Lois Ehlert, the creator of Boldly Colored Children’s Books, died at the age of 86

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Children’s book writer and illustrator Lois Ehlert, who won Caldcott honors for “Color Zoo” (1997) and whose 1989 book, “Chika Chika Boom Boom,” sold more than 12 million copies in various formats on Tuesday in Milwaukee. has expired. She was 86 years old.

The death was confirmed by Ms. Ehlert’s publisher Simon & Schuster’s publicity director Lisa Moraleda.

Ms. Ehlert produced 38 books for young readers – some for infants and toddlers, others for children as young as 10 years old. Publishers Weekly, in his obituary, found “bold objects and crisp cut shapes as well as objects found in his signature collage artwork.”

In “Chika Chick Boom Boom”, Whose text is written by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, an entire alphabet of brightly colored lowercase letters competes to climb the coconut tree and reach the top first. Chaos, minor injuries and unswerving excitement arise. in 2013 White House Easter Egg Roll, President Barack Obama read the book – and showed Ms. Ehlert’s illustrations – to younger visitors.

In “Color zoo“(1979) – one of the many board books written and illustrated by him – squares, circles and triangles become mice, tigers, foxes and more. The American Library Association Committee honored Caldecott that year (only three other honors Books were), one of the most prestigious awards in children’s book publishing, called it a “masterpiece of graphic design”.

Ms. Ehlert’s other book topics included gardens (“Rainbow planting,” 2003), Snowman (“Snowball,” 1999), Trees and their accessories (“Leaf Man,” 2005), animals interested in space-travel (“Moon Rope / Un lazo a la Luna,” 2003, based on Peruvian folklore), a dog that appears to talk (“Raralf,” 2011) and a cat Which has a reverse motive for backyard bird watching (“Feathers for Lunch,” 1996).

In 2014 interview With trade magazine The Horn Book, Ms. Ehlert stated that her work place at home was “a very complete and overflowing dustbin” (because “I make a lot of mistakes”) as well as “leftover xerox,” “Was different from the worm. Pieces of paper all over the floor” (she was working on her book “Holy Mole” at the time) and six pair of scissors. And his workday, he said, was a never ending series of paper cuts.

“I’m working with one on my right thumb now,” she said. The night before, he found a paper worm in his shoes.

Lois Jane Ehlert was born on November 9, 1934, in Beaver Dam, Wis., A small town by the lake. She was the eldest of three children of Harry Ehlert and Gladys (Grace) Ehlert. Mr. Ehlert was identified as a trucker in the 1940 census, but his family preferred to call him a blue-collar worker whose jobs included dairy workers, maintenance men, and gas-station attendants.

She began making artwork as a child, and her parents set up a folding table at home specifically for her projects. Then they made a deal: As long as she kept working on her art, she didn’t need to clean her papers, equipment, and materials at the end of each day. For decades, Ms. Ehlert publicly expressed her appreciation for that one luxury. “We had a very small house,” he recalled.

Ms. Ehlert received a scholarship Layton School of Art In Milwaukee, where he earned a certificate in advertising design in 1957. Some family reports indicate that he earned a bachelor’s degree at Layton and others said that he did a BFA from the University of Wisconsin.

She worked as an independent painter and graphic designer, and by the mid-20s she was drawing children’s books from other authors. Her first was “I Like Orange” (1961) by Patricia Martin Janes. The first book he wrote and illustrated was “Growing Vegetable Soup” (1987), A kind of garden-to-table guide from sowing seeds in the kitchen to boiling water.

Ms. Ehlert married artist and designer John j. Reece In 1967; They divorced in the 1970s. Her survivors include a brother, Dick, and a sister, Shirley Dinsch.

Those working with Ms. Ehlert often referred to her love of nature. A longtime editor, Eileen Johnston of Beach Lane Books (part of Simon & Schuster), also praised the apparent acceptance of the dark side of nature.

Ms. Johnson recalled that while she was working on “Ten Little Caterpillars,” Ms. Ehlert’s 2011 collaboration with Bill Martin Jr., she expressed concern that so many lives of the title characters, especially such young readers In a book for, were in grave danger.

Ms. Ehlert responded calmly, addressing him with her personal surname: “Tweeter,” she said, “The children know that the caterpillars lead an uncertain life.”



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