During the First World War, Hugh Lofting‘s children at home in England asked him to illustrate the letters he sent them. His experiences with wounded horses at the Casualty Clearing Station in France led him to visualize a fictional doctor who would learn to speak the animals’ languages…from these beginnings came the ever-popular Doctor Dolittle series. Lofting’s nine books about the friendly doctor who “talked to the animals” have been favorites ever since, and by 1934 had themselves been translated into twelve languages.
Pamela (P. L.) Travers was born in Australia in 1906. While living in Sussex, England, she first began to write while recovering from an illness. Mary Poppins was the result, and the magical governess who “blew in on an east wind” was an instant success. Mary Shepard did the charming illustrations for this and the later books. Travers would go on to write three sequels to the first book, and Walt Disney’s film version starring Oscar-winning Julie Andrews increased Poppins’ worldwide popularity. In a 1934 interview, Ms. Travers said, “If you are looking for autobiographical facts, Mary Poppins is the story of my life.”
Boston-born artist/illustrator Tasha Tudor is famed for her delightful illustrations for many children’s books including a few of her own. Married to Thomas McCready, Jr., the couple moved to New Hampshire with their three children in the 1930s and enjoyed the old-fashioned farm ways and holidays that give an added charm to the artist’s work.