William Steig

January 21, 2007

About William Steig (1907-2003)

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Called the “King of Cartoons” by Newsweek, William Steig has carved out dual careers as both a highly respected and entertaining cartoonist and an award-winning, best-selling author of children’s picture books and novels. Illustrating for The New Yorker since 1930, Steig has produced more than sixteen-hundred drawings as well as onehundredseventeen covers for that publication. His cartooning work is collected in more than a dozen books. Beginning in 1968, at the age when others are contemplating retirement, the then sixty-one-year-old Steig launched a career in children’s books, bringing to that medium the same tongue-in-cheek and sometimes gallows humor that has made his adult work so popular. With his third title, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, he captured the prestigious Caldecott Medal. Many critics, including Roger Angell writing an appreciation of his colleague in The New Yorker, consider this to be “still his masterpiece.” His first venture into children’s novels, the 1972 Dominic, won for Steig the coveted Christopher Award. Other award winners followed: the Newbery Honor Books Abel’s Island and Doctor De Soto, as well as such popular picture books as Farmer Palmer’s Wagon Ride, The Amazing Bone, Yellow & Pink, Brave Irene, and Spinky Sulks. Steig’s book sales worldwide approach two million.

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