“Happy Birthday William Steig” November 14, 1907-October 2003

I always try and be the first person to wish my sons “Happy Birthday”. Depending on what time zone they are living in, I often need to call them a day ahead so, no surprise that I also want to be the first to wish William Steig a Happy Birthday for November 14. He would have been 100 years old. Deep down, and I know it makes no difference, but there is a little bit of me that is delighted we share November as the month we were both born.

William Steig is on my Evergreen Valentine List and I would send him a Valentine every February 14 for the rest of my life. When I think of William Steig, the line that instantly comes to mind is “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. However, as much as there is no need to waste precious time trying to convince a child of the importance of reading, there is even less need to sing the virtues of William Steig and the magnificent universe his books evoke—just read his books!

Which Steig books are my favorite—is like asking me which son is my favorite—and my answer is both! I will keep my list of “Steig favorites” to a few titles and this will be a good jumping off place to the magical and heartfelt “world of Seig” you are about the enter: Amos & Boris, Brave Irene, Doctor DeSoto, Gorky Rises, Dominic, The Real Thief, Abel’s Island and many others.

For those lucky folks who might find themselves in the vicinity of the Eric Carle museum in Amherst, Mass, there is an exhibition “”Heart and Humor: The Picture Book Art of William Steig,” on view through April 25.


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