Will Hill's Department 19 by Lou Morgan
Terry Brooks' The Sword of Shannara by Justin Landon

The Art of Amos and Boris

Amos and Boris
William Steig (1907 - 2003) drew thousands of cartoons for the New Yorker, with his scritchy little pen and ink drawings adorning nearly every issue for decades. (Plus, to quote Wikipedia, 117 covers. Crikey.)

His children's books won a small stack of awards. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (1969) won the Caldecott Award and was a National Book Award finalist. Doctor DeSoto (1982), the clever tale of a mouse dentist and his fox patient, won the National Book Award and an Academy Award, when it was adapted into an animated short in 1984. Mr. Steig's largest legacy is big, green and smelly. The eternal engine of Disney's Shrek franchise is based on his children's book, Shrek!, first published in 1990.

For me, Mr. Steig's genius will forever be best expressed by three books from the early 1970s. The Real Thief (1973) is a mystery in a dozen pages, and never fails to make me giggle (there's a very proud goose involved). Dominic (1972), one of the first books I ever remember reading (or having read to me!), is the reason I'm still obsessed with fantasy. But of them all, it may be Amos and Boris (1971) that's the most astonishing. The tale of an unlikely friendship between a mouse and a whale, Amos and Boris shows off the simplicity and the power of both Mr. Steig's writing and his art.

Also, it still makes me tear up.

Art by William Steig