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Blegvad, Lenore 1926-

Blegvad, Lenore 1926-

Personal

Born May 8, 1926, in New York, NY; daughter of Julius C. (a mechanical engineer) and Ruth (a teacher) Hochman; married Erik Blegvad (an illustrator), Sep- tember 12, 1950; children: Peter, Kristoffer. Education: Vassar College, B.A., 1947; studied painting in New York, NY, and Paris, France.

Addresses

Home—Wardsboro, VT; London, England; France.

Career

Painter and writer. Exhibited abstract papier maché sculpture in London, 1975.

Awards, Honors

International Reading Association/Children's Book Center Children's Choice designation, 1985, for Anna Banana and Me; Parent's Choice Silver Honor and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, both 2005, both for Kitty and Mr. Kipling.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Mr. Jensen and Cat, illustrated by husband, Erik Blegvad, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1965.

One Is for the Sun, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1968.

The Great Hamster Hunt, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1969.

Moon-Watch Summer, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1972.

(Editor) Mittens for Kittens, and Other Rhymes about Cats, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1974.

(Editor) Hark! Hark! The Dogs Do Bark; and Other Rhymes about Dogs, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1975.

(Editor) This Little Pig-a-wig, and Other Rhymes about Pigs, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1978.

(Editor) The Parrot in the Garret, and Other Rhymes about Dwellings, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1982.

Anna Banana and Me, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1985.

This Is Me, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Random House (New York, NY), 1986.

Rainy Day Kate, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1987.

(Self-illustrated) Once upon a Time and Grandma, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1993.

A Sound of Leaves, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Erik Blevgad) First Friends, illustrated by Erik Blegvad, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2000.

Kitty and Mr. Kipling: Neighbors in Vermont, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Sidelights

Often setting her stories in her home state of Vermont, Lenore Blegvad is the author of a number of books for elementary-grade readers. Her engaging prose combines with illustrations created by her husband, Danish-born artist Erik Blegvad, in books such as A Sound of Leaves, the picture book Anna Banana and Me, and the novel Kitty and Mr. Kipling: Neighbors in Vermont. In her self-illustrated intergenerational picture book Once upon a Time and Grandma, Blegvad introduces an elderly woman who shares the rich highlights of a turn-of-the twentieth century childhood with her two grandchildren. Praising Once-upon a Time and Grandma in Publishers Weekly, a writer noted that "Blegvad's confidence in the power of small, episodic statements informs not just her story but her art."

Nine-year-old Silvie takes her first family vacation to a small, rural seaside town in Blegvad's chapter book A Sound of Leaves. Illustrated with detailed drawings by the author's husband, the story focuses on the impressions of the city-dwelling girl as she adjusts to the experiences of being an unwanted outsider while learning to appreciate the sounds and rhythms of country life. Praising Blegvad's story, Horn Book contributor Maeve Visser Knoth cited A Sound of Leaves for its ability to depict Sylvie's "emerging self-assurance" as well as "the joy and difficulty" the girl experiences in her encounter with a new environment.

In the early 1890s noted English writer Rudyard Kipling moved with his American-born wife to Vermont, where he wrote The Jungle Book and built a large home in the rural town of Dummerston. In her novel Kitty and Mr. Kipling, Blegvad brings to life the response the residents of this small New England community likely had with respect to their new neighbor. Through the fictional character of Kitty, an overly inquisitive eight year old whose family lives next door to the famous nineteenth-century author, Blegvad proves that "Kipling's personality and the events of his life…. certainly would have interested an eight-year-old girl," according to Horn Book contributor Margaret A. Bush. Noting that the friendship that develops between the two inspires Kitty's natural curiosity and teaches Kipling to appreciate American culture during his four-year stay in the United States, a Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that in Kitty and Mr. Kipling Blegvad "artfully blends fact with fiction, shaping equally credible and affecting portraits of" each title character. Writing that Eric Blegvad's penciled illustrations "give readers a good sense of time and place," School Library Journal contributor Alison Follos deemed the novel "a fast read, and a good recommendation for those looking for historical fiction."

An artist and illustrator as well as a writer, Blegvad has studied under Moses Sayer, Andre Lhote, Fernand Leger, and other artists. As she once noted: "I divide my time between writing and painting, and which one I do at any given moment is dictated by various things:

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

mood, inspiration, location (we live part of each year in Vermont, London and the south of France). I find the creative effort for each equally exciting, arduous, and absorbing. The change from one occupation to the other brings new insights every time and somehow suits me to perfection."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 1993, Lisa Napoli, review of Once upon a Time and Grandma, p. 1850; May 1, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of A Sound of Leaves, p. 1505; April 15, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of First Friends, p. 1555.

Book World, November 3, 1968; August 31, 1969.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 1982, review of The Parrot in the Garret, and Other Rhymes about Dwellings, p. 22; March, 1985, review of Anna Banana and Me, p. 120; May, 1996, review of A Sound of Leaves, p. 292; March, 2006, Maggie Hommel, review of Kitty and Mr. Kipling: Neighbors in Vermont, p. 302.

Christian Science Monitor, May 6, 1988, review of Rainy Day Kate, p. B4.

Horn Book, August, 1982, Paul Heins, review of The Parrot in the Garret, and Other Rhymes about Dwellings, p. 421; May-June, 1985, Nancy C. Hammond, review of Anna Banana and Me, p. 298; September-October, 1996, Maeve Visser Knoth, review of A Sound of Leaves, p. 592; January-February, 2006, Margaret A. Bush, review of Kitty and Mr. Kipling, p. 73.

Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2005, review of Kitty and Mr. Kipling, p. 1182.

New York Times Book Review, April 28, 1985, review of Anna Banana and Me, p. 26; November 14, 1993, Enola G. Aird, review of Once upon a Time and Grandma, p. 55.

Publishers Weekly, February 5, 1982, review of The Parrot in the Garret, and Other Rhymes about Dwellings, p. 387; February 13, 1987, review of Anna Banana and Me, p. 95; February 12, 1988, review of Rainy Day Kate, p. 76; February 1, 1993, review of Once upon a Time and Grandma, p. 94; October 31, 2005, review of Kitty and Mr. Kipling, p. 57.

Riverbank Review, summer, 1998, Christine Alfano, profile of Erik and Lenore Blegvad, p. 16.

School Library Journal, September, 1982, Ruth M. McConnell, review of The Parrot in the Garret, and Other Rhymes about Dwellings, p. 104; August, 1985, review of Anna Banana and Me, p. 52; May, 1988, Ruth Semrau, review of Rainy Day Kate, p. 76; August, 1993, Jean H. Zimmerman, review of Once upon a Time and Grandma, p. 139; May, 1996, Maggie McEwen, review of A Sound of Leaves, p. 85; July, 2000, June Roberts, review of First Friends, p. 134; December, 2005, Alison Follos, review of Kitty and Mr. Kipling, p. 101.

Times Educational Supplement, June 26, 1987, review of This Little Pig-a-Wig, and Other Rhymes about Pigs, p. 23.

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