Joan Walsh Anglund, 95, illustrator (The Golden Treasury of Poetry, ed. Louis Untermeyer, 1959)
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2021-03-19 16:30:47 UTC
She lived in Suffield, Connecticut.



...The Anglunds welcomed daughter Joy while in Pasadena, then relocated to Evanston, Ill., where their son Todd was born. By 1956 the family had settled in New York City, a move that proved difficult initially. Anglund was “profoundly lonely” in New York and her husband traveled frequently for work. Missing their life in the Midwest, she began putting words and drawings in a notebook. “The small-town feel of Illinois inspired by writing,” she said. “I would look at the huge buildings around me and imagine that behind every window was someone who had the potential to be a friend.” Her illustrations were inspired by her own two children as well as her observations of kids on the playground. The result was the seed of what became her first children’s book, A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You (Harcourt, 1958), which was selected as one of the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books that year.

That debut title’s journey to publication is a story in itself. Bob Anglund came across his wife’s notebook in a desk drawer, and without telling her, showed the work to several publishers. After a few rejections, the manuscript landed on editor Margaret McElderry’s desk at Harcourt Brace. She called Joan and delivered the news, “I think we have a book here.” A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You, Brave Cowboy (Harcourt Brace, 1959), and Love Is a Special Feeling (Harcourt Brace, 1960) were among the earliest of her more than 120 books, many of which became international successes. In total her books have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.

Over her career, Anglund’s artwork has been featured on Hallmark greeting cards and licensed for figurines and dolls, among other items. Collectors of her work and merchandise have formed fan clubs, and some of her notable admirers have included Queen Elizabeth II and Eleanor Roosevelt. Filmmaker and musician Tim Jackson, a longtime family friend of the Anglunds, produced the feature documentary Joan Walsh Anglund: Life in Story and Poem in 2015...


(birthday post from 2016, with long book list, videos, reviews, and the story of Obama's mistake regarding Angland and Maya Angelou)

Excerpt from the top:

In case anyone needs reminding, she's famous for her drawings of cute kids with inkspot eyes and no mouths or instantly visible noses.

I knew her mainly for her illustrations in the 1959 classic anthology "The Golden Treasury of Poetry," ed. Louis Untermeyer. In that one, there are also pictures of normal-looking kids. (Not to be confused with the 1987 book "The Joan Walsh Anglund Book of Poetry.") It also has plenty of normal-looking adults - and some not so normal looking, especially if you count the pencil-thin woman in "Moy Castle"!

Here are some of them (mixed in with pictures not in the book- scroll WAY down to see some of her better drawings)


The book was reissued in 1998 with some poems removed; look here to see which ones.


I can't believe she only has ONE entry in the "Something About the Author" encyclopedia series - and that was in the early 1970s! However, she does have an 11-page entry in volume 94 of the "Children's Literature Review" encyclopedias - from 2004, I think.

One of her more popular 1950s books is "The Brave Cowboy." (In 2000, it was reissued, with a change - the "Indians" were changed to bank robbers.)

(includes old photo and list of famous fans of hers)

(five Kirkus reviews - the other book, she didn't write)

Incredibly, I could not find a Kirkus review of the Louis Untermeyer collection. A real shame. (Just so you understand, the 316-page anthology, which ends with Invictus, consists of poems by MANY poets, and only a few are by Untermeyer.)

(remembrances and three poems)

(more remembrances)

2021-03-20 02:53:46 UTC
And, for an example of just how UNCUTE her drawings could be when she wanted...


Scroll halfway down. The "lustfully vengeful" poem, as one critic described it, is by Robert Southey, from 1802.

(Since part of the poem is missing in the photo, here's the complete poem.)

2021-03-20 14:38:39 UTC


...“I think perhaps I am trying to get down to the essence of a child — not drawing just a particular, realistic child, but instead I think I’m trying to capture the ‘feeling’ of all children — of childhood itself, perhaps,” Ms. Anglund observed in reflections quoted in the reference guide “Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults.”

“This may be too why I find myself dressing the children in my books in a timeless manner,” she continued, “not really in any definite ‘period’ in time — but always with a vague sense of nostalgia.”

Her first book, “A Friend Is Someone Who Likes You,” was published in 1958 after her husband discovered the manuscript and submitted it to the Harcourt publishing house in New York City, where the family lived at the time. A transplanted Midwesterner, Ms. Anglund was consumed by loneliness and despaired that she might never find a companion in the city.

"I would look at the huge buildings around me and imagine that behind every window was someone who had the potential to be a friend,” she once said, according to an obituary that appeared in Publishers Weekly.

Her ruminations on friendship became the germ of her book, which Ellen Lewis Buell, a reviewer of children’s literature for the New York Times, described as “small, pretty” and “deceptively slight-looking.” For any child who has ever felt left out, she wrote, Ms. Anglund’s “theme — that friendship is where you find it — can be a very reassuring experience.”

Ms. Anglund went on to produce dozens more books, finding particular success in the early years of her career with “Love Is a Special Way of Feeling” (1960), “Christmas Is a Time of Giving” (1961) and “Spring Is a New Beginning” (1963).

She displayed particular skill in defining emotions in ways that children could understand — explaining, for instance, that love is the “good way we feel when we talk to someone and they want to listen and don’t tell us to go away and be quiet.” If some readers dismissed her writing as saccharine, other found it pure and true...
2021-04-01 20:07:36 UTC
I don't know what took the NY Times so long, but anyway, here it is.


Last two paragraphs:

...“My books are about what I really believe is important in life: finding and being a friend, expressing love,” she told The World of Hibernia.

“When I first started writing them,” she added, “there were no children’s books about emotions; it was all ‘See Dick run.’ I wrote simply, in part because my son was dyslexic and I wanted him to enjoy my books. I also wanted people to get the essence of what I was saying and to give everyone the joy of saying, ‘I read a book.’”