Booklist starred (January 1, 2014 (Vol. 110, No. 9))
Grades 1-4. Ehlert offers a highly visual presentation of her roots as an artist and her process as a writer and illustrator of picture books. She describes growing up with “parents who made things with their hands.” They encouraged her to do the same, providing her with good tools and a place to work as well as leftover fabrics, buttons, and wood scraps. Later, she went to art school and began to create picture books. Simply written and inviting, the text leads readers to understand her approach to creating books as well as her hands-on involvement with art throughout her life. Ehlert guides readers through the making of picture books, including gathering ideas, writing, creating storyboards, and making collages. Admirers of her clean, precise pictures may be surprised to read, “I’m messy when I work.” Illustrated with photos from her childhood, vivid artwork from her books, and found objects that she has incorporated into her collages, the colorful pages of this “portrait of the artist” are visually riveting. Creative children will find inspiration and encouragement here. And, short of a personal visit from the writer herself, this is the best resource available for any classroom doing an author/artist study on Ehlert and her distinctive books.