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Considered by some children's book authorities to be the d'Aulaire's finest work, this biography of Leif Erickson, son of Eric the Red, best exemplifies the artist's skill in Norwegian folk art, style, and history. Their well-researched text is lavishly illustrated with Viking rune-like carvings, from the dragon prow of the ship that Leif must hurry to remove, lest it anger the spirits of the land, to the stave churches so unique to Norway. Landscapes depict emerald green fjords against floes of ice and mountains of snow. The grand halls of King Olav Trygvason are ornamented with carvings of Nordic mythical creatures while tame polar bear cubs romp and play. In this setting the young Leif grows to manhood and learns the skills of navigation, sailing his own ship when just a teen from Greenland to Norway. It is on his return journey that he discovers a new land—what we now know to be Newfoundland. Later he sends settlers there—actually establishing a colony. His tale is aptly and authentically told in the d'Aulaires's inimitable style.
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After the publication of Ola in 1932, the work of Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire has needed no introduction - their beautiful picture books have delighted countless children ever since. Ingri Mortenson and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire met in Munich where both were studying art in the 1920's. Ingri had grown up in Norway; Edgar, the son of a noted portrait painter, was born in Switzerland and had lived in Paris and Florence. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to the United States and began to create the picture books that have established their reputation for unique craftsmanship. Their books were known for their vivid lasting color. a result of the pain-staking process of stone lithography used for all their American history biographies. This was an old world craft in which they were both expert, which involved actually tracing their images on large slabs of Bavarian limestone. Throughout their long careers, Ingri and Edgar worked as a team on both art and text. Their research took them to the actual places of their biographies, including the countries of Italy, Portugal and Spain when they were researching Columbus; to the hills of Virginia while they researched Washington; and to the wilds of Kentucky and Illinois for Abraham Lincoln, winner of the Caldecott Medal. The fact that they spoke 5 languages fluently served them well in their European travels and in their research of original documents. Since their deaths in the 1980's, Ingri and Edgar's books and works have been kept alive by their two sons Ola and Nils.
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