Category Archive: Tidbit Histories

Tidbit Histories – WWI is Raging when Raggedy Ann Makes Her Debut!

Born in 1880 into the household of noted landscape painter Richard B. Gruelle, John Barton Gruelle developed rapidly as an artist. While still in his teens, Gruelle became a cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star and by the time he was twenty, he had accepted a position at the Cleveland Press. A gifted artist, Gruelle could …

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Tidbit Histories – Flash! James and the Giant Peach better than Charlotte’s Web!?

On September 19, 1940 a young Royal Air Force pilot named Roald Dahl stepped out of a Gloster Gladiator onto a remote military airfield in northern Egypt. This was the beginning of his military service and the experiences that would shape much of his writing for the rest of his life. Aside from a book …

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Tidbit Histories – Alphabet books from A-Z and Beyond!

If you were a child in colonial America, you would probably start your school day by reciting “In Adams Fall / We Sinned all.” From that day to this, two things in the classroom have remained constant, children and alphabet books. Countless authors have invented variants on the staple “A is for apple” and a …

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Tidbit Histories – Flash! GRINCH rolls off Seuss’ pen.

Shortly after publishing the ground-breaking THE CAT IN THE HAT in 1957, Ted Geisle set about writing a Dickensian story to protest the commercialization of Christmas. Despite his wife Helen (also his long time editor) claiming that his first drawings of Papa Who made him look like a bug and his struggles with the conclusion, …

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Tidbit Histories – Mr. Toad Takes the World by Storm

In May of 1904, Kenneth Grahame’s son Alastair had a disastrous fourth birthday ending in a flood of tears. In his attempt to comfort his son, Kenneth Grahame promised a bedtime story about any subject his son chose. Alastair, nicknamed Mouse, said he wanted a story about a rat, a mole and a giraffe. The …

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Tidbit Histories – African-American Children’s Literature: The Creative Explosion.

During the first half of the twentieth century there was a very small body of work by African-American authors and illustrators of African-American children’s books (see last week’s post, http://readmeastoryink.com/blog/?p=186 ). However by the early 60s, spurred on by the civil rights movement and Brown vs Board of Education, there was an explosion of African-American …

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Tidbit Histories – Caldecott winner, Lynd Ward Testifies: “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.

Lynd Ward was born in Chicago, in 1905, into the house of a Methodist Minister. Forbidden to play games on Sunday, the young Lynd Ward would pass the time reading and looking at the pictures in the few books found in their household. Two of Ward’s favorites were a bible, illustrated by the great French …

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Tidbit Histories – The Story of Ferdinand Written in Record Time!

When inspiration hits, books can be written with amazing speed. A contender for the world record, though, is one of the most beloved children’s books of the 20th century.  Munro Leaf jotted down THE STORY OF FERDINAND on a yellow legal pad for his illustrator friend, Robert Lawson, in less than one hour. May Massee, …

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Tidbit Histories – Did Mary Really Have a Little Lamb?

On a cold March morning in the early days of the nineteenth century, a young girl named Mary Sawyer went to the barn with her father. That night two lambs had been born and one had been forsaken by its mother. Mary nurtured the newborn and they grew inseparable. Mary even took the lamb to …

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Tidbit Histories – Anne of Green Gables Makes Her Debut.

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in 1874 in the tiny village of Clifton, on Prince Edward Island. Her mother died when she was two and when her father remarried six years later, moving to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, the young Lucy was shipped off to live with her austere grandparents in Cavendish. With few neighbors her …

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