The German children’s book author and illustrator Wolf Erlbruch is dead. He died in Wuppertal at the age of 74, according to the Hanser publishing house. Erlbruch became legendary with the children’s book “About the little mole who wanted to know
who hit his head”. In 2017, Erlbruch received the Astrid Lindgren Prize established by the Swedish government – the most valuable award of its kind at five million Swedish crowns (around 522,000 euros).
Erlbruch began his career as a children’s book illustrator in 1985 with The Eagle That Wouldn’t Fly. For his work, Erlbruch has received both a special prize from the German Youth Literature Prize and the Hans Christian Andersen Award for
Illustration. Until 2009 he was a professor of illustration at the University of Wuppertal.
...Erlbruch focuses on the cycle of life in The Miracle of the Bears. One spring, waking from a long hibernation, a bear cub goes in search of companionship after realizing that life only has meaning when it is shared. The author/illustrator grapples
with another universal theme in the award-winning picture book The Big Question, which poses the quandary: "Why am I here?" In presenting a world of answers from a host of creatures, Erlbruch encourages each child to ponder and celebrate his or her own
purpose on Earth. Calling The Big Question "striking in its simplicity," Booklist contributor Ilene Cooper added that the book's "amazing images" and "inventive" text will spark "conversation" and "musings." A Kirkus Reviews contributor echoed Cooper's
assessment, calling Erlbruch's book "certain to leave even younger readers in a reflective mood." "Existentialists, and those who enjoy the occasional Zen koan, will appreciate this volume's inquisitive spirit and multiplicity of possible answers,"
concluded a Publishers Weekly reviewer of the work.
While noting the range of award-winning artwork Erlbruch has contributed to the texts of authors such as Gioconda Belli, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Karl Philipp Moritz, Heidkamp maintained that the illustrator's original stories, such as Nacht, Mrs.
Meyer, the Bird, and The Miracle of the Bears, are the "most moving. No fantasy adventures, no social problems and no heroes," the critic added." "Just simple, quiet stories. About not being able to sleep at night, about grandpa dying, about wanting to
have someone to hug, about taking care of the bird that can't fly. Or about getting up every day and having to create a bit more world. Just simple stories that become great books."