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)
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
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.)
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.)
...“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...