Touch and Go: Travels of a Children's Book Illustrator

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9780688141097: Touch and Go: Travels of a Children's Book Illustrator
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A Caldecott Honor winning illustrator takes readers along on some of his travels to meet the people who have provided the inspiration for many of his books, including a man who cares for orphaned animals in the Amazon.

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About the Author:

Ted Lewin grew up in an old frame house in Buffalo, New York, with two brothers, one sister, two parents, a lion, an iguana, a chimpanzee, and an assortment of more conventional pets. The lion was given to his older brother, Don, while he was traveling as a professional wrestler, and he shipped it home. The family kept Sheba in the basement fruit cellar until Don returned and their mother convinced him to give it to the Buffalo zoo.

Ted always knew he wanted to be an illustrator. As a child he copied the work of illustrators and painters he admired, including N. C. Wyeth, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Velázquez, and Goya. When it came time to go to art school (Pratt), he needed to earn money to finance his education. So, following in his brother’s footsteps, he took a summer job as a wrestler -- the beginning of a 15-year part-time career that eventually inspired his autobiographical book I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler. Ted’s career as an artist began with illustrations for adventure magazines, and it’s only over the last several years that he has devoted his time to writing and illustrating children’s books. "I’m having more fun doing this than anything I’ve ever done before," he says. He is an avid traveler, and many of his books are inspired by trips to such places as the Amazon River, the Sahara Desert, Botswana, Egypt, Lapland, and India. His Market!, published in 1996, showcases markets around the world, from Uganda to Ireland to Ecuador.

Touch and Go is a collection of stories about the adventures Ted had while researching his books. Gorilla Walk is his first collaboration with his wife, Betsy, and is about their trek to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda. They’ve just completed their second collaboration, Elephant Quest, set in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. Ted’s current project is about a Civil War drummer boy.

Ted and Betsy live in Brooklyn, New York, where they share their home with two cats, Slick and Chopper.

From Publishers Weekly:

In an introductory note to this aptly titled travel memoir, Lewin comments that his journeys to various countries have inspired many of his children's books. He adds that "often some of my most memorable travel momentsAmy brief acquaintances with people along the wayAdon't fit into a thirty-two-page picture-book story." Such individuals are the subjects of these 33 vignettes of varying length and substance, set in locations as diverse as Botswana, Alaska, the Gal pagos Islands (the setting for his Nilo and the Tortoise, reviewed above), Nepal, Australia and Brazil. Lewin tells of an elderly Berber man whom he watched saddle his donkey in Morocco ("I watched each step carefully; he ignored me just as carefully"); a humorous tale of a friendly Egyptian guide who brings the author to a densely crowded camel market; and a trusting boy in the Amazon jungle who invites Lewin to hold his three-toed sloth, her baby hanging from her neck. Though the raconteur reveals an easygoing writing style, both succinct and graphic, a number of his entries fall flat, lacking context or apparent significance. Since Lewin's primary focus is on adults, this is the audience most likely to appreciate his impressionistic travelogues. A center signature collects two dozen superb photos shot by Lewin (including the Berber man mounting his donkey), as well as several stunning watercolors which display his signature photographic-quality crispness. Ages 9-up. (May)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780688141103: Touch and Go: Travels of a Children's Book Illustrator

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ISBN 10:  0688141102 ISBN 13:  9780688141103
Publisher: Lothrop Lee & Shepard, 1999
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