Saturday, August 29, 2015

Featured Illustrator, part 4: books by Ted and Betsy Lewin

Our featured illustrator for August is one of my all-time favorites, Ted Lewin! Part 1 introduces Ted Lewin as well as my must-read books that I share every year with my students. Part 2 highlights book that he illustrated for various authors. Part 3 featured books both written and illustrated by him, while this final post will share books that are a collaboration with his wife, Betsy Lewin.

Adventures around the World Series

The Adventures around the World series is a collection of books by both Ted & Betsy Lewin that combine travelogue with both their unique illustration styles.

Gorilla Walk (1999) by Ted and Betsy Lewin. Gorilla walk details the Lewin's trek through Uganda to see the mountain gorillas in the wild. Access is tightly controlled, and the detailed description and illustrations really gives you the experience of taking the trip along with them. This first collaborative book paved the way for the rest of the books that follow.

Elephant Quest (2000) by Ted and Betsy Lewin. This book follows a trip to the Okavango Delta region of Botswana with a focus on their encounters with the wildlife.

Top to Bottom Down Under (2005) by Ted and Betsy Lewin. Traveling to Australia, the Lewins again experience many mysterious (and a few frightening!) creatures.

Horse Song: the Naadam of Mongolia (2008) by Ted & Betsy Lewin. In this story, Ted and Betsy travel to Mongolia to learn about the culture and witness the horse races. In their conference presentation back in 2010, Betsy confirmed that the results of the race match what happened in real life, no artistic license was used. Unlike the other books in this series, this one has a much stronger focus on the people than the wildlife.

Balarama a Royal Elephant (2009) by Ted and Betsy Lewin. This touching nonfiction book details the authors visits to India and their interactions with the royal elephants culminating in a giant parade and Mysore Dasara celebration. The back matter includes facts about elephants in general and the royal elephants individually, as well as a glossary and pronunciation guide.

Puffling Patrol (2012) by Ted and Betsy Lewin. This is the book that the Lewins were working on when I heard them speak. They had traveled to the island of Heimaey off the coast of Iceland to experience the annual "Puffling Patrol" when children help rescue misguided, fledgling puffins. (Really, is there anything cuter than a puffin?) Backmatter includes information about the puffins, the volcanic eruption of 1973 on Heimaey, the dire situation of puffins today, and a glossary and Icelanic pronunciation guide.


How to Babysit a Leopard and Other True Stories from our Travels across Six Continents (2014) by Ted and Betsy Lewin. This memoir-travel journal contains a wealth of small stories and big moments in the travels of the Lewins. Each page is a bit like a scrapbook, containing photographs, memorabilia, and illustrations by both artists. Sections are organized geographically beginning in Africa, the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, South America, and the US. This is a wonderful resource to get even more behind-the-scenes details about the trips and activities depicted in their books, but this is clearly a book geared towards an adult audience.

Click here or the featured illustrator tag to see all the posts in the featured illustrator series.


  1. I met the Lewins a few years ago at a publisher's office. What nice people, and their work is so reflective of that. I particularly like Ted's illustrations. I'm looking forward to the rest of your posts on these two talented people.

  2. So great to see a blog series giving love to illustrators! They are so important to the storytelling process in kid lit. Thanks for introducing me to the Lewins! Hopping over from the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

  3. I love the diversity of the animals featured! The illustrations are amazing! Thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop! Pinning! :-)

  4. I love the diversity of the animals featured! The illustrations are amazing! Thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop! Pinning! :-)

  5. What fabulous books! Thanks for sharing on the Kid Lit Blog Hop!


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