Saturday, August 22, 2015

Featured Illustrator, part 3: books written and illustrated by Ted 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. This post features books both written and illustrated by him, while Part 4 will share books that are a collaboration with his wife, Betsy Lewin.

Books about People Written and Illustrated by Ted Lewin

After illustrating books for others for many years, Ted Lewin eventually branched out into writing and illustrating his own stories. Many of these stories are based on his extensive travels, some of which can be linked to trips he did initially for books written by others.

Sacred River: the Ganges of India (1995) by Ted Lewin. This incredibly-illustrated book tells about the importance of the Ganges River and highlights the interactions of individuals with the river during the course of a day. The story concludes with details about Hindu cremation and scattering in the river.

Market! (1996) by Ted Lewin. This book features six different markets from around the world. Each market is given a few two-page spreads depicting the sights, sounds, and colors, along with a brief description of the market itself and the goods sold there.

Storytellers (1998) by Ted Lewin. This book is set in Morocco and follows a young boy and his grandfather on their walk through the city to where the grandfather will perform as a storyteller. Here though, the story focuses on the two of them and not on the tale-to-be told. Incredibly detailed illustrations bring this country and its people to life.

Nilo and the Tortoise (1999) by Ted Lewin. Set in an island in the Galapagos, Ted Lewin took some of his own experiences during his Galapagos visit and transposed them into a young boy, Nilo, who is briefly stranded when his father's boat breaks down on the way to pick him back up. Much of the story focuses in on his encounters with the incredibly varied wildlife on the island.

How Much? Visiting Markets around the World (2006) by Ted Lewin. This collection of comparative illustrations features several markets from different countries and continents (different than those featured in Market!).

Books about Animals

Stable (2010) by Ted Lewin. This story is more a reflection on the role of horses in the past and present, told through the lens of the modern Kensington Stables, the last remaining stable in Brooklyn. Some of the illustrations are reminiscent of those in Peppe the Lamplighter and Pennies in a Jar, which makes me think that Ted Lewin spent some time at these stables as study for those books as well.

This series of four "I Like to Read" beginning reader books were published by Holiday House as part of a series with many other authors and illustrators, including Betsy Lewin.

Look! (2013) by Ted Lewin. In the predictable text of this story each page contains the sentence, "Look!" followed by an animal and an action verb. This African savannah tour ends with the same pattern repeated for a young child connecting to the story.

What Am I? Where Am I? (2013) by Ted Lewin. Here, the two title questions serve as the structure for the book. A small circular illustration shows a part of the animal ("What am I?") while a page turn shows the full animal ("Where am I?") and another page turn shows their natural habitat. Some of the animal portraits have particularly endearing expressions.

Animals Work (2014) by Ted Lewin. This book is structured around the work that animals do, connecting animals to each other (three pages in a row, for example, of animals who carry). The story comes back again to Ted as a little boy at the end, caring for his cat. A map of where the animals live is also included.

Can You See Me? (2014) by Ted Lewin. The first half or so of the book features closeups of different rain forest animals followed by the "Can You See Me?" question. The end offers a little variation in the sentences and ends with a wide view of the rain forest. (I'm sure the biggest complaint about this book is the fact that it is not a hide-and-seek kind of book as the animals are not hidden in the wide views like you might expect.)


I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler (1993) by Ted Lewin. This memoir of Ted Lewin's teenage and young adult years is amply illustrated with family photographs, including many of his wrestling career and unusual pets, like a lion. Near the end of the story, illustrations and paintings join the photographs as Ted's art career springs to life. A fascinating look at the improbable story of an incredible artist.

Tooth and Claw: animal adventures in the wild (2003) by Ted Lewin. This collection of memoirs focuses around different animal-related adventures Ted Lewin has had in his adult life. Each chapter shares a different story with illustrations, photographs, and ephemera, and an author's note afterwards provides details about the location, as well as additional facts about the animals.

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

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