Synopses & Reviews
What can you do with ten black dots?
"One dot can make a sun or a moon when day is done. Two dots can make the eyes of a fox...". Count all the way to ten with Donald Crews and delight in the simple rhymes, everyday objects, and stunning graphics of a master of the picture concept book.
About the Author
Donald Crews is the renowned creator of two Caldecott Honor books, Freight Train
Among his other enormously popular books are such favorites as Night at the Fair, Sail Away, Bigmama's, Shortcut,
and School Bus.
He and his wife, Ann Jonas, live in New York's Hudson River Valley.
Donald Crews grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and says that all through his childhood the members of his family were always doing something with their hands. He was always drawing pictures. Now, in the old farmhouse where he lives with his wife, the noted author and illustrator Ann Jonas, Donald Crews is still drawing pictures.
After graduating from New York City's Cooper Union, Mr. Crews spent three years working as a designer. He was assistant art director of Dance magazine, on the staff of a small design studio, and did freelance work as a book-jacket designer. But in 1962 he was inducted into the Army, and for a time his artistic pursuits were set aside. As the end of his eighteen-month military stint in Germany approached, he assigned himself to the task of writing and illustrating a children's book to add to his portfolio. The result was the brilliant concept book We Read: A to Z (Harper &Row, 1967), which, nearly twenty years later, was reissued by Greenwillow Books. Ten Black Dots, a counting book, came next, and then several books for which he did illustrations only. But the turning point came in 1978, when Greenwillow published Freight Train, a picture book inspired by Mr. Crews's childhood train trips from Newark to visit his grandmother in Florida. It was named a Caldecott Honor Book. Since then, Mr. Crews has created several other highly acclaimed picture books (including Truck, a 1981 Calclecott Honor Book), all painted in the flat, clean colors and bright, unambiguous shapes that are the hallmarks of his striking graphics.
When Donald Crews is asked why he focuses on picture books, he frequently answers, "Why not?" All the tools necessary for the creation of any piece of art are also elements in a successful picture book. Mr. Crews chooses a subject, explores ways to develop the subject visually, writes a story, then produces his finished illustrations. And the final audience, the children, tell him that they like what he does. Why not, indeed!