"You can't read," Arthur tells his little sister Violet. "Yes I can" she says.She proves it when Arthur enters the Super Chimp Comics sales contest. Arthur hopes to win a dinner for two with King Kong. The results are comic but not for poor Arthur. Violet understands the words describing the contest better than Arthur does. And it is Violet who wins a prize, because she really can read.Lillian Hoban's three-color pictures bubble with warmth and humor. Every child with an older brother or sister will delight in Violet's triumph. And in her friendliness too, as she lets her "reading teacher," Arthur, share her prize.
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Lillian Hoban's books for children have been working magic for nearly thirty years. Her illustrations can help change an unfamiliar setting-like a museum filled with dinosaurs and whales-into a wondrous adventure, and her words and pictures together can transform chimpanzees and badgers into very real companions for the youngest reader.
Ms. Hoban was born and raised in Philadelphia. Among the first books she illustrated were the ever-popular "Frances" books, and several years later she wrote and illustrated Arthur's Christmas Cookies, thereby ushering in her beloved 'Arthur" series.
In 1967 Ms. Hoban was asked to illustrate Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen. It was the beginning of an enormously popular collaboration that produced more that a dozen books about Jim, Paul, Danny, Anna Maria, and the rest of the first-grade classcharacters as familiar to children as their own classmates.
Perhaps the key to the unfailing popularity of Ms. Hoban's stories and illustrations is that she's long been a keen observer of children, having had firsthand experience raising four of her own.
Lillian Hoban lives in Connecticut.
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