Welcome to SteigFEST!

SteigFESTI really admire William Steig’s picture books (just short of creating an in-home Steig-shrine!) and enjoy knowing there is much to his work for me yet to discover: with more than 30 books for children and numerous others, AND his cartoons and covers for The New Yorker, Steig was prolific! For each of the 13 days leading up to Steig’s birthday (born November 14, 1907 in Brooklyn, NY), I’ll post a picture book recommendation and tidbits collected while reading up on the picture book maker who did not patronize children, but presented their truths. In the end, you may think I’ve forgotten one of your favorites, but leaving out some of the most celebrated was deliberate: I hope to inspire you to read some you don’t know, as well as beloved ones again!


Publisher: Joanna Cotler Books/Harper Collins, 2003
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: William Steig, childhood, Bronx
Opening: In 1916, when I was eight years old, there were almost no electric lights, cars, or telephones – and definitely no TV. Even fire engines were pulled by horses. Kids went to LIBRARIES for books. There were lots of immigrants.
Summary: (from Amazon) This is the story of when I was a boy, almost 100 years ago, when fire engines were pulled by horses, boys did not play with girls, kids went to libraries for books, there was no TV, you could see a movie for a nickel and everybody wore a hat.


I like this book because: Published shortly before his death in 2003, it’s Steig’s return to his own childhood in the Bronx, not much different than that of my father born in Brooklyn 22 yrs later. Like Steig’s family, the Rowan’s were immigrants and moved around a lot. The colors are lively, and the lines are innocent yet sophisticated.


Resources/activities: ask children to interview a grandparent – certainly they would not have been born over 100 years ago, but ask what everyday objects didn’t exist for them as children; a good companion read: MIGRANT by Maxine Trottier and Isabelle Arsenault.



Today’s tidbit: Are you close to the University of Pennsylvania? You can visit the exhibit until December 19th, 2014: “As the Ink Flows: Works from the Pen of William Steig, explores the life and career of the artist, cartoonist, and children’s book author/illustrator William Steig.” More info HERE


18 thoughts on “Welcome to SteigFEST!

  1. Hi there! I thought I was alone is my adoration of William Steig. I can’t wait to see which books you post. Among my all-time faves is Pete’s a Pizza and The Amazing Bone. If you haven’t seen his books animated via The Scholastic Video Collection DVD Series, you should check it out. The DVD versions bring a different dimension to his stories, and one of them has a really cool bonus interview with Steig at his home. Thanks for the memories!



  2. I *wish* I were close enough to Philly to see that exhibit! I lived in DE for three years but I don’t think they had a Steig exhibit then. I’m going to enjoy discovering Steig with you for 2 weeks. I know of his work in general, but not in specifics. 🙂


  3. I just read Tiffky Doofky by Steig. Published in 1978, it had lots of words — a lovely treat when so many books are coming out with such limited words. Steig was a great story teller! Thanks for featuring this book.


  4. Your Steigfest is going to be fun! I love the Oct. 31, 1959 cover! You’ll be happy to know that it inspired my second PiBoIdMo idea of the day. I pasted this link and the cover in my document. This year I’m going to include inspiration in my list that I create in Word. Since I can’t draw like you…I will include any and all art that inspires an idea. I wish I’d done this other years because art inspires me sooo much. Live and learn!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: PPBF: HOG-EYE | julie rowan-zoch

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