Beverly Cleary has died aged 104. Full obituaries will be listed here as they appear.
1984 Hans Christian Andersen winner, Mitsumasa Anno, has died aged 94. He was known especially for wordless pictorial bird’s-eye view “Journey” books, in which a character’s travels embrace a country’s art, literature, culture, and history. His first book, English title Topsy-Turvies – described by Anita Silvey as “an amazing collection of improbable constructions filled with impossible perspectives and angles” – was published in 1968, when he was already in his forties. Before that he had been a primary school teacher. Anno’s Alphabet, published in 1974, received the Boston-Globe Horn Book Award and was specially commended for that year’s Kate Greenaway Medal (awarded that year to Pat Hutchins for The Wind Blew).
In 1985, Shirley Hughes wrote a profile of him for Books for Keeps, describing the artist as having “about him more than a touch of the genial magician, a flamboyant westernised style combined with the formal politeness of his fellow country-men; he is quick, observant and very, very intelligent.”
Hughes goes on to observe, “He shows a similar brilliant sleight-of-hand with perspective as the artist he is sometimes compared with, M. C. Escher. They both play on the way our eye perceives three-dimensional form on a flat surface. But Anno is the more humanly fanciful and, unlike Escher, works in colour which he uses with stunning fluency. He is not, one senses, particularly drawn to the role of interpreting other people’s texts. Responding very strongly to poetry, he feels (as many writers do) that a good piece of literature needs no further illustration to enhance its meaning. His books explore the converse of this reaction; that a visual medium doesn’t need words to explain the story.”
There is a Mitsumasa Anno Art Museum designed by world-renowned architect, Tadao Andou.
The New York Times reports the death of Gene Deitch, “an Oscar-winning animator who created the early television cartoon “Tom Terrific” and went on to make countless cartoons and film versions of popular children’s books for more than a half-century, died on April 16 in Prague, where he lived. He was 95.”
Deitch made animated version of Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” (1975), Tomi Ungerer’s “Moon Man” (1981) and many other other well-regarded children’s books.
An excellent, recommended obituary.
Ann McGovern, a prolific author for children whose work ranged over women’s history, adaptations of folk tales and her own exploits as a globe-trotting adventurer, died on Saturday at her home in Manhattan. She was 85.
The author of more than 50 titles that have collectively sold millions of copies, Ms. McGovern was known in particular for “Stone Soup,” her 1986 retelling of the traditional story, with illustrations by Winslow Pinney Pels.
Her books carried artwork by some of the foremost picture-book illustrators of the era, among them “Too Much Noise” (1967), illustrated by Simms Taback; “Zoo, Where Are You?” (1964), illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats; “Nicholas Bentley Stoningpot III” (1982), illustrated by Tomie dePaola; and “Little Wolf” (1965), with pictures by Nola Langner, a friend since grade school who illustrated a half-dozen of Ms. McGovern’s books.
Before turning to writing full time, Ms. McGovern was a children’s book editor in New York.
The older daughter of Julian Dann, an architect, and his wife, Jill, Penny was born in Slough, Berkshire, and was educated at Burnham grammar school, Buckinghamshire, and Brighton College of Art. After graduating, she remained in Brighton, where she played an active part in the monthly meetings of the Brighton Illustrators Group. Between the early 1990s and the early 2000s, she lived in Australia, in Sydney then Melbourne, but continued to work for London-based publishers.
After returning to the UK, through the Brighton Illustrators Group she met Tom Sanderson, a book designer, whom she married a few days before her death.