"In third grade I wrote a book report on the d'Aulaire's Ben Franklin book. I still have that book report and the book itself! The d'Aulaire picture books are enchanting and unforgettable. I well remember their books on George Washington, Buffalo Bill, and Abraham Lincoln as well. They capture and celebrate the ineffable innocence and magic of childhood in a way I've simply never seen equaled."
-- Eric Metaxas, New York Times Bestselling author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and The Heroic Campaign to End Slavery.
"He was born in a little red brick house that his father had built on the oyster-shell hill. By that time so much land had been cleared that the wilderness was far in the distance" (10). So begins the simple and inauspicious life of George Washington—a backwoods Virginia boy destined to become the Father of His Country. Meticulously researched, the d'Aulaires hiked and camped all over Virginia as they imbibed the spirit of this great man. The story follows his growth from young boy to surveyor, to soldier in the French and Indian War where he became a war hero. Then George courted Martha Custis and after their marriage they built a thriving plantation at Mount Vernon. Slavery is depicted as an acceptable fact "where his hundreds of slaves . . . kept everything spick and span and in beautiful order" (40). Then we see Washington lead his troops through the dark and hungry days of the Revolution—by his courage and integrity, inspiring the same in his men. The d'Aulaire illustrations reflect the folk-art style they intended, seeking to depict characters that would appear much as the rocking horses and toy soldiers children played with in their nurseries.
About the Authors: After the publication of Ola in 1932, the work of Ingri and Edgar d'Aulaire has needed no introduction - their beautiful picture books have delighted countless children ever since. Ingri Mortenson and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire met in Munich where both were studying art in the 1920's. Ingri had grown up in Norway; Edgar, the son of a noted portrait painter, was born in Switzerland and had lived in Paris and Florence. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to the United States and began to create the picture books that have established their reputation for unique craftsmanship. Their books were known for their vivid lasting color. a result of the pain-staking process of stone lithography used for all their American history biographies. This was an old world craft in which they were both expert, which involved actually tracing their images on large slabs of Bavarian limestone. Throughout their long careers, Ingri and Edgar worked as a team on both art and text. Their research took them to the actual places of their biographies, including the countries of Italy, Portugal and Spain when they were researching Columbus; to the hills of Virginia while they researched Washington; and to the wilds of Kentucky and Illinois for Abraham Lincoln, winner of the Caldecott Medal. The fact that they spoke 5 languages fluently served them well in their European travels and in their research of original documents. Since their deaths in the 1980's, Ingri and Edgar's books and works have been kept alive by their two sons Ola and Nils.