Anna Dewdney, author and illustrator of the Llama Llama children's book series, died September 3. She was 50. The bestselling series, which has almost 10 million copies in print, includes Llama Llama Red Pajama, Llama Llama Holiday Drama, Llama Llama Misses Mama and Llama Llama Time to Share. Dewdney was also the author/illustrator of Nobunny's Perfect and Nelly Gnu & Daddy Too. She had just completed work on a new picture book, Little Excavator, scheduled for publication in June 2017 by Viking Children's Books.
"The entire Penguin Young Readers family is heartbroken," said Jen Loja, president. "And as we grieve, we also celebrate Anna's life, in dedicating ourselves to carrying forward her mission of putting books into as many little hands as possible. We will miss her so, but consider ourselves so lucky to be her publishing family and her partner in her legacy."
Ken Wright, v-p and publisher, Viking Children's Books, commented: "Anna was an extraordinary talent. But much more than that, she was a dear, dear friend to so many of us at Viking and Penguin, and she will be deeply and personally missed by her entire Penguin family."
In lieu of a funeral service, Dewdney asked that people read to a child.
Brian Wildsmith, the British children's author and illustrator who, during the course of his long-standing association with Oxford University Press, wrote and illustrated more than 80 books, died August 31, the Bookseller reported. He was 86. Wildsmith began working with OUP in the late 1950s when children's publisher Mabel George commissioned him to illustrate 12 color plates for Tales from the Arabian Nights. This was followed by ABC, published in 1961, which won the Kate Greenaway Medal. Since 2007, a number of his books have been brought back into print.
A spokesperson for OUP said Wildsmith "was an immensely thoughtful, compassionate and perceptive man and these qualities touched all those at Oxford University Press who had the privilege to work with him over the years."
Author Michael Rosen commented: "Floods of color exploding across the pages with a name to match: Wildsmith. He was a wild smith. I remember feeling envious: why hadn't I had books as wild and lush as these?"