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 Picture Books Author of the Month

Crosby Bonsall

2 January 1921 -- 10 January 1995

Crosby Barbara Newell was born on January 2, 1921 in Queens, New York. She lived on Long Island until she was 14 years old. She would spend summers on the island making paper dolls. She took an active interest in school papers. She moved to Tenafly, New Jersey with her family, where she attended high school.

As a young child, Crosby had always expressed an interest in design. It was because of that interest that it came of no surprise to family and friends when she chose what to study in college. Upon completing high school, Crosby attended the New York University School of Architecture She also attended the American School of Design, where she specialized in commercial art.

After college, Crosby began working in small advertising agencies. It was through this career choice that she found her way into children's literature. It all started with a doodle on her drawing board in an advertising agency in which she was a partner. A doll manufacturer who saw the doodle bought the rights to manufacture a doll based on it. The doll, which debuted in 1951, was a freckle-faced, orange-haired rag doll with turned in toes and saddle shoes. Her name was Annie Beansprout and each doll came with a surprise in the pocket. Later, Crosby created a whole family of dolls, which were the used as characters in her first book created completely on her own,The Surprise Party, which was published in 1955.

Crosby married George Bonsall, with whom she had collaborated on several books that were published by Treasure Books and Wonder Books in the early- to mid-1950's. George was an avid collector of rare books, old toys and games, and interested in libraries and publishing. It was his idea to do their first collaboration, Tell Me Some More, which was published in 1953.

Crosby was usually her own illustrator. Her style was primarily composed of simple line drawings.

During her writing career Crosby Bonsall wrote more than 40 stories for youngsters. She sometimes wrote under the name Crosby Newell. She also had many successful collaborations with photographer Ylla.

Crosby died on January 10, 1995 in Boston, Massachusetts following a stroke.

Information for this biography was taken from:
1) Anne Commire (ed.). Something About the Author, #23; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 1981.
2) Doris De Montreville and Donna Hill (ed.). Third Book of Junior Authors; The H.W. Wilson Company: New York, 1972.
3) The Crosby Bonsall Home Page; http://www.crosbybonsall.com.
4) Sara and Tom Pendergast (ed.). The St. James Guide to Children Writers; St. James Press: Detroit,Mich., 1999.

E-BON/ABC-BON And I Mean It, Stanley (1974) -- A little girl plays alone until her dog arrives.

E-Bonsall The Case of the Cat's Meow (1965) -- The four members of the Private Eyes Club -- Skinny, Wizard, Snitch, and Tubby -- solve the baffling case of the missing cat.

ABC-BON The Case of the Double Cross (1980) -- Marigold concocts a mystery that finally gets her and her friends into the boys' private eye club.

E-Bonsall The Case of the Dumb Bells (1966) -- Doorbells are mysteriously ringing all over the neighborhood, and the four Private Eye Club members are in for some big surprises as they search for the culprit.

E-Bonsall The Case of the Hungry Stranger (1963) -- The disappearance of a blueberry pie sends the members of the Private Eyes Club on a search for a "blue smile."

ABC-Bonsall The Case of the Scaredy Cats (1971) -- Chronicle the series of events occurring after the girls tale over the boys' club house.

ABC-Bonsall The Day I Had to Play With My Sister (1972) -- A young boy finds trying to teach his little sister to play hide-and-seek very frustrating.

E-BON/ABC-Bonsall Mine's the Best (1973) -- Two little boys meet at the beach, each sure that his balloon is better

ABC-Bonsall Piggle (1973) -- Nobody will play with Homer until Bear comes along and teaches him a new game.

E-BON/ABC-BON Twelve Bells for Santa (1977) -- Three children, off to deliver 12 chocolate bells to Santa for winning a contest, get very hungry along the way to the North Pole.

E-BON What Spot? (1963) -- Although his friend tries to discourage him, a walrus is determined to identify a small black spot he sees in the snow.

ABC-Bonsall Who's Afraid of the Dark (1980) -- A small boy projects his fear of the dark on his dog.

E-Ylla Polar Bear Brothers (1960) with photographs by Ylla (pseudonym of Camilla Koffler) -- A young polar bear and his brother spend some time playing in their pool.

Gentleman Briggs (http://www.crosbybonsall.com) - This site provides all sorts of information about this popular children's author. The site is maintained by her family.

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