The American Library Association
The Child Study Association
The California Reading Initiative
As is their custom, the d'Aulaires have thoroughly researched their subject in order to provide the most historically accurate account of the life of the man Samuel Eliot Morrison called "the greatest mariner that ever lived." In their pursuit, the d'Aulaires traveled to Spain, Portugal, and the Caribbean Islands to research original documents on the life of Columbus.
Their text reflects many little-known facts not generally included in the typical biographies of Columbus. Readers will learn that it was the saga of Leif Erickson that was one of the inspirations for Columbus's voyage to the East. They will also learn that Columbus was such a skilled astronomer that he knew the exact date when the next eclipse of the moon was and used that knowledge to his advantage. They will also learn that though "Columbus was a great man, he was not a modest man. He wanted too much, and so he did not get enough" (54).
This book is lavishly illustrated with the d'Aulaire's detailed lithographs in four colors.
About the Authors:
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 George 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.