Arnold Lobel

2014 Lifetime Achievement Award (Posthumous): Arnold Lobel

Arnold Lobel (1933–1987) was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Schenectady, New York. He was ill and homebound during most of second grade, and one of the ways he kept busy was by drawing animals. When he finally returned to school, he used his drawings as a way to make friends with his classmates. His art has been making friends for him ever since.

Arnold graduated from Pratt Institute, where he focused on illustration. At first he created pictures for other people’s stories and poems. Then in 1962, he published his first author/illustrator project, A Zoo for Mister Muster (HarperCollins). Nearly one hundred books for children followed—along with many awards and honors. In 1972, he received a Caldecott Honor for Hildilid’s Night by Cheli Duran Ryan (Macmillan), which he illustrated, and in 1981, he won the Caldecott Medal for Fables (HarperCollins), which he wrote as well as illustrated.

Out of all his varied work, Arnold is probably best remembered for his beloved Frog and Toad series (HarperCollins). With their engaging plots and memorable characters, these books significantly raised the quality and changed the content and focus of the traditional beginning reader. Frog and Toad Are Friends was a Caldecott Honor Book, and Frog and Toad Together was a Newbery Honor Book, making him the only person to be recognized for both text and art in this genre. Among his other acclaimed works are The Book of Pigericks (HarperCollins), Whiskers and Rhymes (Greenwillow), and I-Can-Read books such as Mouse Tales, Uncle Elephant, Owl at Home, and Small Pig.