Inspiration: Trina Schart Hyman
It was when I was pretty small, maybe five or six, when I was first allowed to pick out books on my own at our local library, a small collection of books above the post office in town. The elderly librarian came in a few times a week to reshelf the books that people had returned, but otherwise you were on your own. You made a stack, wrote down the titles in the librarian’s notebook along with your name, and promised to bring them back within a month or so. If you didn’t, she would look up your name in the phone book and call in a reminder.
The book that I borrowed the most was “The Pumpkin Giant.” Based on an English folk tale, it told of a terrifying giant with a pumpkin head who ate fat little boys. The story, to me, was secondary. What I loved were the illustrations, showing the gnarled hands and feet of the Pumpkin Giant, his collection of skulls, and all the other macabre details that boys love.
The illustrator was Trina Schart Hyman. Inspired by the great illustrators of the late 19th and early 20th century, she continued in that tradition with moody pen-and-ink illustrations and vivid watercolors. From 1973 to 1979 she was the art director of Cricket magazine, and went on to win several Caldecott honors for her marvelously illustrated books. She didn’t write many books herself, but illustrated many favorites of mine, including "St. George and the Dragon" and "The Kitchen Knight".
She died in 2004 at the age of 65.
"How I Do My Work" by Trina Schart Hyman
Trina Schart Hyman on Wikipedia
Page at R. Michelson Galleries
The text of "The Pumpkin Giant"