April 15, 2013
Fifteen years ago I wrote three books about the amazing travels of animals in the sea, over land, and in the air. These animal migration books were very different from what I usually do because they didn’t use photographs. My editor, Linda Zuckerman, had to work hard to convince me that I should do these stories of awesome animal journeys as illustrated books. I kept resisting, saying that we needed to see photographs of the animals on these extraordinary and in many cases inexplicable travels. Then she showed me the work of a wonderful painter named Elsa Warnick. As soon as I saw Elsa’s luminous watercolor paintings, I knew that I had to work with her on these illustrated books.
I’m not sure, but I think these were the first children’s books that Elsa Warnick illustrated, and she went on to do more. Throughout her career as a painter, Elsa was devoted to teaching other artists, and every summer she would make time to serve as a faculty member at the Portland State University Children’s Book Conference. My condolences go out to her sons, Matt and Milan, who wrote last week to let me know that Elsa had died, and to tell me how much our collaboration meant to her.
Elsa lived on the West Coast and I live on the East Coast, so we had rarely been in touch in recent years, until I called her two years ago to ask her permission to republish these beautiful books in digital. Her paintings came alive once again, this time in professionally narrated, digital editions. I am so happy that she was able to see how beautiful they are.
Here is a sample from THEY SWIM THE SEAS, one of the books we did together. Click on the "play" button down below to view (be patient - it may take as long as a minute or two to load the first time you view it). You will see what a wonderful artist Elsa Warnick was, and why I am so proud of these books.
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THEY SWIM THE SEAS: SAMPLE
Posted by: Seymour Simon