Emberley, Ed(ward Randolph) 1931-
EMBERLEY, Ed(ward Randolph) 1931-
PERSONAL: Born October 19, 1931, in Malden, MA; son of Wallace Akin (a carpenter and house painter) and Evelyn (a clerk in a clothing store; maiden name, Farrell) Emberley; married Barbara A. Collins (an author and illustrator), 1955; children: Rebecca Anne, Michael Edward. Education: Massachusetts School of Art, B.F.A.; also studied at the Rhode Island School of Art (now Rhode Island School of Design). Religion: Protestant. Hobbies and other interests: Sailing.
ADDRESSES: Home and Office—6 Water St., Ipswich, MA 01938; 6 Sanctuary Rd., North Conway, NH 03860-5918.
CAREER: Author and illustrator of children's books; illustrator of textbooks and for periodicals; designer. Also worked as a cartoonist and paste-up artist for a direct-mail advertising firm, Boston, MA. Founder, with wife, Barbara, of Bird in the Bush Press. Designer of children's merchandise for Boston Marathon, 2003. Military service: U.S. Army, two years.
AWARDS, HONORS: Notable Book citation, American Library Association (ALA), 1961, for The Wing on a Flea: A Book about Shapes; award for best-illustrated book, New York Times, 1961, for The Wing on a Flea, and 1965, for Punch and Judy: A Play for Puppets; Junior Literary Guild selection, 1962, for The Parade Book, and 1966, for Rosebud; Art Books for Children citation, Brooklyn Public Library, 1966, and Caldecott Honor Book, ALA, 1967, both for One Wide River to Cross; New Jersey Authors Award for science, New Jersey Institute of Technology, 1968, for Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home; Caldecott Medal, ALA, and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, both 1968, both for Drummer Hoff; Chandler Book Talk Reward of Merit, 1968; Black-Eyed Susan Book Award (Maryland), 1994-95, for Go Away, Big Green Monster!
The Wing on a Flea: A Book about Shapes, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1961, revised edition, 2001.
The Parade Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1962.
Cock a Doodle Doo: A Book of Sounds, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1964.
Punch and Judy: A Play for Puppets, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1965.
Rosebud, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1966.
Green Says Go, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1968.
Klippity Klop, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1974.
The Wizard of Op, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1975.
A Birthday Wish, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1977.
Ed Emberley's ABC, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1978.
Ed Emberley's Amazing Look-Through Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1979.
Ed Emberley's Crazy Mixed-up Face Game, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1981.
Six Nature Adventures (contains "The Butterfly," "The Dandelion," "The Chameleon," "The Chicken," "The Frog," and "The Hare"), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1982.
Go Away, Big Green Monster!, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1992.
Ed Emberley's Three Science Flip Books, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1994.
(With Anne Miranda) Glad Monster, Sad Monster: A Book about Feelings, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.
(With Rebecca and Michael Emberley) Three: An Emberley Family Sketchbook, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1998.
Ed Emberley's Rainbow, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2000.
Thanks, Mom!, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2003.
illustrator; written by wife, barbara emberley
Night's Nice, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1963.
(Reteller) The Story of Paul Bunyan, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1963, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1994.
(Reteller) One Wide River to Cross, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1966, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1992.
(Reteller) Drummer Hoff, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1967, published as a board book, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1987.
Simon's Song, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1969.
illustrator; with wife, barbara emberley
Seymour Simon, The BASIC Book, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1985.
Seymour Simon, Bits and Bytes: A Computer Dictionary for Beginners, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1985.
Seymour Simon, How to Talk to Your Computer, Crowell (New York, NY), 1985.
Seymour Simon, Meet the Computer, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1985.
Franklyn M. Branley, Flash, Crash, Rumble, and Roll, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1985.
Seymour Simon, Turtle Talk: A Beginner's Book of LOGO, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1986.
Franklyn M. Branley, The Moon Seems to Change, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1987.
self-illustrated; "ed emberley's drawing book" series
Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1970.
Ed Emberley's Drawing Book: Make a World, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1972.
Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Faces, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1975.
Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1977.
Ed Emberley's Big Green Drawing Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1979.
Ed Emberley's Big Orange Drawing Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1980.
Ed Emberley's Halloween Drawing Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1980.
Ed Emberley's Big Purple Drawing Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1981.
Picture Pie: A Circle Drawing Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1984.
Ed Emberley's Big Red Drawing Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1987.
Ed Emberley's Christmas Drawing Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1987.
Ed Emberley's Drawing Box, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1988.
Ed Emberley's Second Drawing Box, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.
Ed Emberley's Thumbprint Drawing Box, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1992.
Mosaic: A Step-by-Step Cut and Paste Drawing Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.
Ed Emberley's Picture Pie Two: A Drawing Book and Stencil, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1996.
Ed Emberley's Fingerprint Drawing Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2000.
Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Weirdos, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2002.
Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Trucks and Trains, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2002.
Ed Emberley's Complete Funprint Drawing Book, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2002.
self-illustrated; "ed emberley's little drawing book" series
The Ed Emberley Little Drawing Book of Birds, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1973.
The Ed Emberley Little Drawing Book of Farms, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1973.
The Ed Emberley Little Drawing Book of Trains, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1973.
The Ed Emberley Little Drawing Book of Weirdos, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1973.
Ed Emberley's Little Drawing Book of Horses, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.
Ed Emberley's Little Drawing Book of Fish, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.
Ed Emberley's Little Drawing Book of Trucks, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.
Ed Emberley's Little Drawing Book of More Weirdos, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.
Ed Emberley's Little Drawing Book of Sea Creatures, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.
board books; "first words" series
Home, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1987.
Sounds, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1987.
Animals, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1987.
Cars, Boats, and Planes, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1987.
Ruth Bonn Penn, Mommies Are for Loving, Putnam (New York, NY), 1962.
Franklyn M. Branley, The Big Dipper, Crowell (New York, NY), 1962.
Mary Kay Phelan, The White House, Holt (New York, NY), 1962.
Roma Gans, Birds Eat and Eat and Eat, Crowell (New York, NY), 1963.
Leslie Waller, American Inventions, Holt (New York, NY), 1963.
Richard Schackburg and others, Yankee Doodle, Prentice-Hall (New York, NY), 1965.
Letta Schatz, Rhinoceros? Preposterous!, Steck-Vaughn (Austin, TX), 1965.
Dorothy Les-Tina, Flag Day, Crowell (New York, NY), 1965.
Paul Showers, Columbus Day, Crowell (New York, NY), 1965.
M. C. Farquhar, Colonial Life in America, Holt (New York, NY), 1965.
Augusta Goldin, The Bottom of the Sea, Crowell (New York, NY), 1966.
Agusta Goldin, Straight Hair, Curly Hair, Crowell (New York, NY), 1966.
Leslie Waller, The American West, Holt (New York, NY), 1966.
Judy Hawes, Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home, Crowell (New York, NY), 1967.
Heywood Broun, The Fifty-first Dragon, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1968.
Leslie Waller, Clothing, Holt (New York, NY), 1969.
Mindel and Harry Sitomer, What Is Symmetry?, Crowell (New York, NY), 1970.
Ian Serraillier, Suppose You Met a Witch, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1973.
John G. Keller, Krispin's Fair, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1976.
Franklyn M. Branley, Space City, Harper (New York, NY), 1991.
Contributor to books, including Kid-Friendly Web Guide, by Laura Leininger and others, Monday Morning Books (Palo Alto, CA), 1997; Kid-Friendly Computer Book, by Elnora Chambers and others, Monday Morning Books (Palo Alto, CA), 1997; and Kid-Friendly Start-Ups: Activity Cards for Writing-Geography-Math, by Elnora Chambers and others, Monday Morning Books (Palo Alto, CA), 1998.. A collection of Ed Emberley's manuscripts and art is included in the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, University of Southern Mississippi, and the Cooperative Children's Book Center (Madison, WI).
ADAPTATIONS: Drummer Hoff was adapted for film by Gene Deitch and released by Weston Woods, 1969; it was released as both a sound filmstrip and, later, a video. The Story of Paul Bunyan was released as a filmstrip by Educational Enrichment Materials, 1969. Ed Emberley's Three Science Flip Books was featured on the television program Reading Rainbow, PBS Kids. The Story of Paul Bunyan was issued in Braille.
SIDELIGHTS: In a career that spans more than forty years, the husband-and-wife team of Ed and Barbara Emberley have become well respected for creating picture books that are noted for their rhythmic texts and vivid art. The pair has taken on the roles of author (Barbara) and artist (Ed) for their collaborations on original works and have acted together to illustrate science books for children by writers Seymour Simon and Franklyn M. Branley. The Emberleys are perhaps best known as the creators of Drummer Hoff, a retelling of an old folk song about the build-up to and aftermath of the firing of a cannon by a group of soldiers; The Story of Paul Bunyan, a recounting of the legends about the tall-tale hero; and One Wide River to Cross, an adaptation of an African-American spiritual about Noah's Ark. Several of the team's works are considered classic examples of juvenile literature and have won prestigious awards; for example, Drummer Hoff won the Randolph Caldecott Medal for its illustrations and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award for its text and pictures, and One Wide River to Cross was named a Caldecott Honor Book. The Emberleys have not produced a book that is credited to both of them since 1969. However, Barbara has taken a behind-the scenes role in helping to produce the works that are written and illustrated by her husband. These titles, which are published under Ed's name, chiefly are activity, concept, picture, and board books. Ed, who has developed a reputation as one of the most prolific and popular authors in the field, has received special attention for his "Drawing Books" series. These best selling books present step-by-step instructions for creating a variety of subjects, both realistic and fantastic, by using simple geometric shapes. The volumes are credited with introducing young artists to artistic techniques in a particularly understandable and enjoyable manner. Ed also is commended as the creator of Go Away, Big Green Monster!, a toy book that uses cut out pictures in a cumulative effect to create and then disembody a scary monster; the book, which is praised for helping children to surmount their fears, often is considered a contemporary classic. Emberley also illustrates books by other authors, and his art has graced works by such writers as Paul Showers, Ian Serraillier, Letta Schatz, and Heywood Broun. In addition, Ed and Barbara's children, Rebecca and Michael Emberley, have worked with their parents on some of their books and have followed in their footsteps to become popular, award-winning author/artists.
As a literary stylist, Barbara employs crisp yet relaxed prose for her texts, which characteristically are drawn from folk songs, folktales, and nursery rhymes. As an illustrator, Ed uses mediums such as pencil, pen and ink, woodcuts, and computer graphics to create his pictures. Emberley often is acknowledged for his originality and skill as both an artist and a designer. His knowledge of production and printing techniques—he and Barbara operate a private printing press and letterpress, Bird in the Bush Press, and publish limited editions of children's books—and strong graphic sensibility are credited with informing the works that he has illustrated. Ed, who tries to vary his technique with every book, characteristically creates energetic, expressive pictures in bold colors, though he also employs more subdued tones. The artist is considered particularly influential, particularly on the children who have learned to appreciate art through his instructional drawing books. Emberley sometimes has been faulted for including difficult elements in his drawing series, for teaching children to copy rather than to draw, and for continuing to produce these works after exhausting his formula; in addition, the quality of his illustrations generally is considered better than that of his texts. However, Emberley is noted as an artist of talent, inventiveness, and expertise and as an author who understands children and what appeals to them. Writing in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Jeannette Hulick commented, "Kids definitely have their own ideas about the kind of books they think are fun and satisfying. Emberley's books are a good example of how sometimes it is perfectly O.K. to give kids what they want." Writing in School Library Journal, Jean Reynolds stated, "An Ed Emberley picture book leaves one with a strange feeling of predestination. It is as if to say, 'Why, of course, it had to be done that way because no other way could be right.'" Reynolds concluded, "The deceptive simplicity of the finished book makes the exact basis for its lively appeal difficult to describe. The key seems to lie in that integration of technique, art work, and text that consistently marks an Ed Emberley picture book."
Born in Malden, Massachusetts, Ed Emberley grew up in the nearby town of Cambridge, which also is home to Harvard University; he washed dishes at Harvard for a year to earn money for art school. Emberley's maternal grandfather was a coal miner in Nova Scotia and his paternal grandfather was a sailor in Newfoundland. In his twenties, Emberley's father, Wallace Akin Emberley, left Newfoundland for America and settled in Massachusetts. He and his wife, Evelyn, encouraged Ed, who has said that he always knew that he would become an illustrator, in his early artistic endeavors. In an interview with his wife, Barbara, in Horn Book, Emberley stated that this encouragement came "mostly, by lack of discouragement and by having pencils and paper in the house at all times for us to use if we wanted to." Emberley, who liked to read as well as to draw, first began to write stories in kindergarten. Most of his personal library was composed of funny books and old Life magazines, although he also liked Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Helen Bannerman's The Story of Little Black Sambo, and the "Oz" books by L. Frank Baum. As a boy, Emberley looked in vain for a book that would show him how to draw animals. He rectified that situation in 1970 with the publication of the first volume of his art-instruction series, Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals. Emberley's dedication read, "For the boy I was, the book I could not find."
Encouraged by his parents and high-school teachers, Emberley went to the Massachusetts School of Art in Boston. Considered one of the best students at the school, he studied painting, illustration, and design as well as printing and production techniques. While at college, Emberley met Barbara Anne Collins, a fellow student who was studying fashion design. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Barbara grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts. After Ed and Barbara received their respective bachelor of fine arts degrees, they married in 1955. Then the Korean War began, and Ed entered the U.S. Army, where he completed a two-year assignment. While in the army, Ed worked as a sign painter and was assigned to a parade division on Governor's Island in New York City. His experience marching in parades later inspired Ed to write and illustrate The Parade Book, a nonfiction title for children that was published in 1962. It describes the sights and sounds of parades and features examples from Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in Manhattan, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, among others. After leaving the army, Ed continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Art (now the Rhode Island School of Design) in Providence, Rhode Island, where he studied illustration. During this time, Barbara worked as a librarian at Brown University in Providence. After Ed's course of study was completed, the couple moved to Boston, where Ed spent two years working as a paste-up artist and cartoonist for a direct-mail company.
Around the time that their children were born (Rebecca in 1958 and Michael in 1960), the Emberleys agreed that Ed should become a freelance illustrator. He then wrote his first book, The Wing on a Flea: A Book about Shapes, which was published in 1961. Described by Lee Bennett Hopkins in Books Are by People: Interviews with 104 Authors and Illustrators of Books for Young People as "an imaginative commentary on simple forms such as the triangle of a flea's wing or the beak of a bird," The Wing on a Flea uses upbeat rhymes and vigorous drawings in green and blue to demonstrate how to identify circles, rectangles, and triangles in everyday things. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, a critic concluded, "Only a real square would deny that here is a wonderful, lively way to learn." In 2001, Ed produced a newly illustrated version of The Wing on a Flea that includes full color art; printed on black paper, the book showcases pictures in bright primary colors and shiny accents in gold leaf.
Barbara Emberley's first work, Night's Nice, was published in 1963. This picture book soothes young readers and listeners by telling them that night is good for many things, such as sleeping, wishing on a star, and seeing city lights. Ed's illustrations portray the feeling of night by darkening oranges, reds, yellows, and greens while using other, brighter colors. Writing in School Library Journal, Eileen Lampert said, "Really effective illustrations illuminate this book." Lampert concluded that Night's Nice may lead a reader to "consider the myriad beauties of his world at night." Also in 1962, Ed started to experiment with woodcuts. He sent out a mailer to various publishers of children's books showing a print of Paul Bunyan and Pinocchio along with a note stating that he would like to illustrate the stories of these characters. The publisher Prentice-Hall agreed; in 1963, they published The Story of Paul Bunyan, which includes Barbara's text and Ed's illustrations. This collection of anecdotes about the massive lumberjack and his companion Babe the Blue Ox is written in "easy, yarn-spinning prose," according to Barbara Wersba in the New York Times Book Review, and is illustrated in bold, detailed woodcuts in brown, blue, green, and white. Noting that the "robust and joyful" pictures "serve the story well," Wersba commented that the "comic exaggerations of the tall tale are beautifully rendered." Virginia Haviland in Horn Book called The Story of Paul Bunyan a "striking graphic arts achievement." Reviewing the reissued edition in another issue of the same magazine, a critic added that "the straightforward text is a fine introduction" to the tale of the legendary lumberjack.
In 1966, the Emberleys published One Wide River to Cross, an adaptation of the African-American spiritual that also serves as a counting book. Barbara describes the gathering of the animals on board the ark, first one by one, then two by two, and leading up to ten by ten; after this, the rains begin. Ed illustrates the book in woodcuts that feature silhouetted figures and pages of varying colors. He includes the animals associated with the ark as well as some figures from folklore, such as the unicorn and the griffin. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Barbara Novak O'Doherty stated that One Wide River to Cross is "striking evidence that old themes, properly handled, are inexhaustible wells of inspiration." Alluding to the three books about Noah that had come out that year, a reviewer in Publishers Weekly claimed that the Emberleys' version "might well be the one that would have pleased him most of all." A critic in Kirkus Reviews suggested, "Buy it in twos, be prepared to have to reread it in tens." One Wide River to Cross was the sole runner-up for the Caldecott Medal in 1967.
The Emberleys produced their Caldecott Medal-winning book Drummer Hoff in 1967. The rhyming, alliterative text of this work is a retelling of the traditional poem "John Ball Shot Them All," which is about the making of a rifle. Barbara turned this verse into a cumulative rhyme about a group of happy soldiers who build a cannon that makes a loud explosion when their drummer fires it off. Ed's pictures—dynamic, stylized woodcuts that create the effect of thirteen colors through overprinting of red, yellow, and blue—give an antiwar subtext to the story. Both the soldiers and the cannon appear to have been destroyed by the blast; the last picture shows birds, ladybugs, and flowers—used as decorations in the previous pages—taking over the remains of the cannon. Emberley, who based his illustrations on the concept that a woodcut does not have to look like a woodcut, uses his woodcuts as if they were drawings, dropping colors into the open spaces left around the lines. By combining basic colors to create other tones, he was able to produce thirteen varied shades. Reviewers have praised the artist for both the originality of his idea and the success of its execution, and they have commended the reteller for the jaunty flavor of her text. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Eve Merriam called Drummer Hoff "a perfect wedding of text and pictures…. You don't have to be married to produce this wry, well-bred humor, but in the Emberleys' case, it doesn't hurt." Della Thomas of Library Journal stated, "An old folk rhyme is the perfect vehicle for this talented author-artist team." Thomas continued by calling Drummer Hoff "one of the liveliest picture books of the year." In 1987, Drummer Hoff was issued as a board book to mark its twenty-year anniversary. Liz Rosenberg of the Boston Globe commented that the book "continues strong in its board-book incarnation, as full of ferocity and wit as ever…. Barbara Emberley's adaptation is a gal loping tour de force, and Ed Emberley's pictures a wild combination of the antique and the psychedelic."
In 1970, Ed Emberley produced the first of his "Drawing Book" series, Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals. In this work, the artist demonstrates how to draw over fifty animals, from ants to whales, by using geometric shapes, letters, numbers, dots, curlicues, and other symbols. Emberley provides aspiring artists with clear verbal instructions and humorous visual examples. Writing in Time, Timothy Foote called Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals "that all but unheard-of success, a 'how-to-draw' book that really works." Pamela Marsh of the Christian Science Monitor predicted that the book "can turn anyone over eight into an instant artist" and noted that "it makes an encouraging book for those, adults included, who imagine they can't draw for toffee." Writing in the New York Times Book Review, George A. Woods said that, after finishing Emberley's book, "I've got a pad full of impressive doodles and drawings and my kids think that I'm a genius!" Since the publication of his first drawing book, Emberley has added more than twenty-five titles to his series. These works, which are divided into "Drawing Books" and "Little Drawing Books," use a format similar to that in Ed Emberely's Drawing Book of Animals to center on colors, holidays, faces, birds, animals, motorized vehicles, supernatural characters, and other things that interest children. Emberley also includes works that use fingerprints and thumbprints as their jumping-off points. Throughout his series, the artist gives directions for drawing a wide variety of people, creatures, animals, and objects that reflect both the natural world and that of the imagination. Although these works have been called gimmicky, they generally are considered clever, appealing introductions to art instruction.
Among Emberley's most acclaimed works is Ed Emberley's ABC, a title published in 1978. In this book, the artist represents each letter of the alphabet in a double-page spread that contains four panels of pictures that show an animal constructing the individual letter (for example, an ant forms the letter "A" by skywriting in an airplane). Through hand-lettered text and vibrant illustrations, readers are encouraged to find numerous examples of objects that begin with the designated letter. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Selma G. Lanes called it "an eyedazzler" and "an alphabet not to be missed." Ethel L. Heins in Horn Book called Ed Emberley's ABC a "substantial and original piece of work…. The pages show great ingenuity of conception and design, the color work is strikingly beautiful and subtle, and the whole book … constitutes a handsome, unified production." Gemma DeVinney of School Library Journal predicted that Ed Emberley's ABC "will be snatched up by children eager to peruse its colorful, fun-loving, action-filled pages."
Ed Emberley is the creator of several interactive activity books that engage youngsters by having them do such things as hold pages to the light, turn them sideways, and lift flaps. One of his most popular titles in this genre is Go Away, Big Green Monster!, a book published in 1992. In this work, Emberley uses stiff, die-cut pages with peep holes to let children construct and deconstruct the title character. The book starts with a black page and two round yellow eyes that peer from the darkness. Each pages adds a new element, such as a long blue nose, a red mouth, sharp white teeth, and a big green face. Finally, the culmination produces the visage of a frightening monster; however, the text reads, "You Don't Scare Me! So Go Away." Each subsequent page then subtracts each of the scary pieces until the last page is black. The final text reads, "And Don't Come Back! Until I Say So." Writing in Instructor, Judy Freeman called Go Away, Big Green Monster! "a cleverly designed gem that all ages will adore." A reviewer in Publishers Weekly noted that Emberley "makes wonderful use of innovative production techniques in this ingenious offering."
Barbara and Ed Emberley consistently have involved their children, Rebecca and Michael, in their artistic lives. For example, both children helped their mother to make overlays with drawing instructions for their father's books. In an interview with Jeanne McCartin in the Portsmouth Herald, Rebecca said, "My father just wanted to hand down every thing he knew to me and my brother. He sure did that…. We spent a lot of time together as a family. Creating things was just life. It certainly was not an event. It was just what we did." Rebecca also called her mother a major influence. Barbara taught her daughter how to sew and to design clothing, and Ed taught her to work in silver, copper, and numerous paint mediums. When Rebecca was twelve and Michael ten, they each received sailing dinghy kits from their father. "We sailed [the boats] for years," Rebecca told McCartin. When Rebecca was in high school, her father started training her, taking her into his studio for three house each day during summer vacations. Rebecca recalled to McCartin, "Everything my father learned in college, I learned in high school. He also educated some of my boyfriends those summers. They came around long after they broke up with me." Rebecca and Michael now are both successful author/illustrators of books for children. In 1998, they teamed up with their father to produce Three: An Emberley Family Sketchbook. A collection of narratives, drawings, and activities by each artist, the book includes fairy tales, stories, poems, recipes, and autobiographical information. Thematically, the concept of "three" appears throughout; artistically, the book reflects each illustrator's personal style. Ed uses computer-generated art, Rebecca uses woodcuts and paper collages, and Michael uses watercolors and bold ink-and-crayon art. Booklist critic Kathleen Squires commented, "The Emberley family delivers a triple dose of fun…. Children will be intrigued by this big book of fun." Writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Magazine, Karen MacPherson called Three: An Emberley Family Sketchbook "a book that rings with energy" before concluding, "What's best about this book is its message that there are many different ways to be an artist."
Ed Emberley has also received favorable critical attention for his picture book Thanks, Mom!, a title published in 2003. The book features Kiko, a little mouse in a circus act. While performing in the center ring, Kiko spies a hunk of cheese and grabs it. He then is chased by a cat, a dog, a tiger, and an elephant—all animals of increasing size—who get their moment in the spotlight. Sailing through the air, Kiko's mother, Koko, frightens the elephant and frees Kiko, who thanks his mom politely and is welcomed warmly in return. At the end of the story, both mother and son enjoy the cheese. Emberley illustrates Thanks, Mom! with neon-hued geometric shapes, including stars, stripes, and polka dots, and colorful yellow highlights. A reviewer in Publishers Weekly noted, "At once buoyant and understated, Emberley's story… slyly delivers lessons in punctuation, pecking order, and manners." Calling Thanks, Mom! "a visual lollapalooza," a critic in Kirkus Reviews found the work "a classic turning of the tables [that] gives readers both an eyeful and a first taste of allegory."
In his Caldecott Medal acceptance speech, which was reprinted in Horn Book, Ed Emberley said, "There is more to illustrating a picture book than knowing how to draw pictures. To an illustrator the picture on the drawing board is merely a means to an end. The end is the printed picture. An illustration could be defined as a picture that can be printed. A good picture is a bad illustration if it cannot be printed well. And, of course, a bad picture is a bad picture no matter how well suited it is to the printing process. I work in many different techniques when preparing illustrations—woodcuts, pencil, pen and ink. But as varied as they are in appearance they have one thing in common—the illustrations are meant to be printed. Although I am primarily an artist and not a printing expert, the necessity to be both dreamer and realist is what fascinates me most about picture-book making." In assessing his career in the field of children's literature, Emberley told Lee Bennett Hopkins in Pauses: Autobiographical Reflections of 101 Creators of Children's Books, "Working in the field of children's books is challenging. It is a wonderful field to be involved in. It is one wide river to cross after another, and you never quite feel that you have reached the other side." In an interview in Publishers Weekly, Emberley stated, "I love books, even the feel of books, not to mention what's inside. And I don't consider myself an illustrator or an author or an instructor. I like to think I am a creator of books. If lightning should strike tomorrow and I could no longer write or draw, I would still find a way of making books my career."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Emberley, Ed, Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1970.
Emberley, Ed, Go Away, Big Green Monster!, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1992.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett, Books Are by People: Interviews with 104 Authors and Illustrators of Books for Young People, Citation Press (New York, NY), 1969.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett, Pauses: Autobiographical Reflections of 101 Creators of Children's Books, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1995.
Booklist, October, 1998, Kathleen Squires, review of Three: An Emberley Family Sketchbook, p. 96.
Boston Globe, October 19, 1997, Liz Rosenberg, "The New Flexibility of the Board Book," p. P5.
Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine of Books, May 14, 1961, Joan Beck, review of The Wing on a Flea: A Book about Shapes, section 2, p. 2.
Christian Science Monitor, May 7, 1970, Pamela Marsh, review of Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals, p. B1.
Horn Book, February, 1964, Virginia Haviland, review of The Story of Paul Bunyan, p. 48; August, 1968, Barbara Emberley, "Ed Emberley," pp. 403-406; August, 1968, Ed Emberley, "Caldecott Award Acceptance," pp. 399-402; August, 1978, Ethel L. Heins, review of Ed Emberley's ABC, pp. 386-387; March, 1995, review of The Story of Paul Bunyan, p. 222.
Instructor, May, 1995, Judy Freeman, review of Go Away, Big Green Monster!, p. 78.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1966, review of One Wide River to Cross, p. 683; March 15, 2003, review of Thanks, Mom!
Library Journal, December 15, 1967, Della Thomas, review of Drummer Hoff, p. 602.
New York Times Book Review, May 14, 1961, review of The Wing on a Flea, p. 35; January 26, 1964, Barbara Wersba, review of The Story of Paul Bunyan, p. 26; October 16, 1966, Barbara Novak O'Doherty, review of One Wide River to Cross, p. 38; November 5, 1967, Eve Merriam, review of Drummer Hoff, p. 71; March 1, 1970, George A. Woods, review of Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals, p. 34; July 2, 1978, Selma G. Lanes, review of Ed Emberley's ABC, p. 11.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Magazine, March 21, 2000, Karen MacPherson, "Artful Books Open Up World of Art to the Young."
Portsmouth Herald, September 30, 2003, Jeanne McCartin, "A Story-Book Existence."
Publishers Weekly, December 26, 1966, review of One Wide River to Cross, p. 99; July 25, 1980, "Ed Emberley," pp. 78-79; March 29, 1993, review of Go Away, Big Green Monster!, p. 54; March 24, 2003, review of Thanks, Mom!, p. 74.
School Library Journal, October, 1963, Eileen Lampert, review of Night's Nice, p. 190; March, 1968, Jean Reynolds, "Ed Emberley," pp. 113-114; September, 1978, Gemma DeVinney, review of Ed Emberley's ABC, p. 107.
Time, December 21, 1970, Timothy Foote, review of Ed Emberley's Drawing Book of Animals, p. 68.
Bulletin of the Center of Children's Books, http://alexia.lis.uiuc.edu/ (August 1, 2002), Jeannette Hulick, "True Blue: Ed Emberley."*
Growing Up Well—Squiggles, Dots, and Lines: A Kid's Video Guide to Drawing and Creating Featuring Illustrator Ed Emberley, Inspired Corp., 2002.