Wanda Gag - A Life of Art and Stories - Karen Nelson Hoyle

Minnesota Press


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Wanda Gag: A Life of Art and Stories by Karen Nelson Hoyle / ISBN 9780816667710 / 176-page paperback, 5.5 X 8.5 inches, from University of Minnesota Press


At the young age of just 15, Wanda Gág received her dying father's last wish that she take up his dream of becoming a successful artist: "What papa couldn't do, Wanda would have to finish." Wanda assumed the role of head of the household and became the sole means of support for her sick mother and six siblings. Although times were tough, Wanda persevered and eventually became a celebrated artist and author living in New York City.

Karen Nelson Hoyle tells the story of Wanda Gág's eccentric life as a children's book author and traces the significant contributions she made to the genre. Drawn from extensive research of the artist's personal and professional papers and correspondence with friends and contemporaries, Hoyle presents a rich portrait of a gifted artist.

Karen Nelson Hoyle is professor and curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collection at the University of Minnesota. She has served as chair of the Caldecott Award committee and member of the Newbery Award Committee.


"Gág was among the first to create what we now call an artist-concept book--written, designed, and illustrated by one person. Her stories always have a funny twist that appeals to children. Her simplicity appeals in this complex world."--St. Paul Pioneer Press

"Her body of children’s books is not large, but each title is a treasure, done in her instantly recognizable style."--Horn Book Magazine

Best known for her Newbery Honor winner Millions of Cats, Wanda Gág (1893–1946) was a pioneer in children’s book writing, integrating text and illustration. Born in New Ulm, Minnesota, she rose to international acclaim. In recognition of her artistry, she was posthumously awarded the 1958 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award for Millions of Cats and the 1977 Kerlan Award for her body of work.

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