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Barb's People Builders Teaching Help  (Total items found: 0)
    Author: Ruth Heller

Information about this author from Barb's People Builders Teaching Help.
   Ruth Heller was born in Winnipeg , Manitoba, Canada, in 1924. She was interested in art as far back as she could remember. Like many children today, she enjoyed coloring, cutting and pasting, and drawing. After she finished her studies, she became a designer and illustrator. But it was on a visit to an aquarium to research a coloring book on tropical fish she was designing that she got her first idea for a children's book. A strange-looking shape was floating in one of the tanks. It turned out to be the egg sac of a dogfish shark. This got Ms Heller thinking about other animals that laid eggs. As she read more about them and saw their pictures, she was beginning to visualize colors, shapes, and compositions, adn she realized she had acquired enough information to write a book. That book became Chickens Aren't the Only Ones, which was published in 1991.

Writing and illustrating a book is one thing. Getting it published is another. In those days picture books just weren't being published on nonfiction subjects. It was a new idea. Ruth Heller was a pioneer in this respect, as was Gail Gibbons. Until these ladies and a few others came along, children's books on nonfiction subjects were pretty boring --more like old textbooks. Editors thought that the children who would enjoy the pictures would be too young to absorb the information and that children old enough to understand the information would think the pictures were too young for them. Finally an editor was willing to take a chance, and the rest is history. Today we can't imagine a bookstore without beautifully illustrated books about science, nature, history, and other subjects that interest children.

Most of Ruth Heller's children's books are written in rhymes that explain the pictures or urge the reader to interact with the pictures. The How to Hide a.... series challenges children to find the creatures hidden in their habitats. Another popular series deals with parts of speech. All of these books are art masterpieces in themselves. As with all great illustrations, they appeal to adults reading to children as much as to the children themselves. Ruth says she wants each page to be a surprise. She tries not to repeat herself. She researches her subjects by taking pictures at the zoo, keeping a file of photographs, and reading loads of magazines and books. Instead of just imagining creatures and objects in her head, she needs to have either the object or its photograph in front of her as she works.

Any child not yet exposed to these books is deprived of a wonderful way to learn more about some of God's most interesting creatures, and a unique way to learn the parts of speech. I highly recommend these books.

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