Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Happy Birthday Tomie dePaola!
Tomorrow, September 15th, is the 77th birthday of Tomie dePaola. This giant in the field of children's literature got his start way back in 1965 when the first children's book he illustrated, Sound, was published. He then went on to write/illustrate more than 200 books, including the Caldecott Honor book Strega Nona (1975) and the Newbery Honor book 26 Fairmount Avenue (1999). In honor of the doubly lucky number 77, here are seven facts you might or might not know about Tomie:
1. At age four, he wanted to be an artist, a writer, and a tap dancer. He's been all three.
2. After graduating from Pratt, a NYC art school, he went to a priory in Vermont to become a Benedictine monk before discovering the lifestyle wasn't for him.
3. His favorite food is popcorn, about which he wrote a book, aptly titled Popcorn.
4. His favorite of all his books is Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs.
5. His grandmother was the model for the grandmother in Watch Out for Chicken Feet in Your Soup.
6. A dog lover, his current pooch is an Airedale named Bronte.
7. And remember Barney, the purple dinosaur and star of Barney & Friends on PBS? Well, Tomie appeared in several episodes of the show, playing himself.
To find out more, visit Tomie's blog.
And check out this great tribute in honor of dePaola's 75th birthday. Three Kisses for Tomie features artwork by children's book illustrators commemorating him. My favorite? Erin Eitter Kono's "Arrangement in Grey and Black."