A ride with destiny

Author Profile

February 09, 2000|By Tricia Bishop

Leo Lionni's 40-year career as a children's book author and illustrator didn't begin until he was nearly 50, and even then it started only out of desperation. "Little Blue and Little Yellow," Lionni's first children's book, sprang from a ride on a commuter train with his two young grandchildren. Trapped with the rambunctious pair, Lionni quickly improvised a story using torn pieces of colorful pages from Life magazine. The tale captured the duo's attention, and an author evolved.

Born in 1910, Lionni worked as an artist, magazine art director and graphic designer before settling into his niche as a writer of children's books with characters created from doodles, (Cornelius the lizard), and daydreams (Frederick the mouse). He died last October, leaving a legacy of metaphorical wisdom that lives on in the hearts of his fans.

Here are some of his more than 30 titles:

* "Frederick's Fables: A Treasury of 16 Favorite Leo Lionni Stories"

* "Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse"

* "Alphabet Tree"

* "Cornelius"

* "Fish is Fish"

* "A Flea Story"

* "Frederick"

* "Inch by Inch"

* "On My Beach There Are Many Pebbles"

* "Swimmy"

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