Birthday Music Quartet - Birthday Greeting Card
February-born Wilhelm Carl Grimm co-wrote The Musicians of Bremen with his brother. Here, this tale is offered as a birthday greeting card featuring J.P. Miller's adaptation!
This month, we're honoring a diverse array of talented artists born in February! From the pioneer spirit of Laura Ingalls Wilder to the whimsical worlds of Adrienne Adams and Elsa Beskow, each artist brings their unique vision to life through their illustrations! Explore the intricate storytelling of David Small, the enchanting tales of Eleanor Farjeon, and the captivating scientific illustrations of Ernst Haeckel. Delve into the charming illustrations of Nancy Ekholm Burkert and Louis Slobodkin, the macabre elegance of Edward Gorey, and the fairy tale magic of Wilhelm Carl Grimm. Experience the imaginative artistry of Uri Schulevitz and the iconic illustrations of John Tenniel. Join us in celebrating the birthdays of these remarkable authors and illustrators, whose contributions continue to inspire and enchant readers of all ages!
Born on February 7, 1867, Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American author, is best known for her autobiographical Little House on the Prairie series. Raised in Pepin County, Wisconsin, her childhood experiences on the late 19th-century American frontier inspired her iconic books. Growing up in a pioneer family, Wilder witnessed both the challenges and joys of frontier life, from the Little House in the Big Woods to the vast prairies of the Midwest. Through vivid storytelling, she captured the essence of pioneer life, earning a lasting place in American literature. Her contributions continue to resonate with readers of all ages, offering a glimpse into the trials and triumphs of early American settlers.
Garth Williams, a Laughing Elephant favorite, lent his artistic talents to bring Laura Ingalls Wilder's popular Little House on the Prairie series to life! 
Adrienne Adams, born February 10, 1906, was a highly acclaimed American illustrator and author. Born in Arkansas, she displayed a passion for art from a young age, and her artistic talent eventually led her to a successful career in the world of children's literature! She illustrated over 30 children's books, both collaborating with contemporary authors and for the classic tales from the likes of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm. Her work often featured delicate lines and intricate patterns, creating a magical and imaginative atmosphere in the books she illustrated.
Adams won two Caldecott Honors: Houses from the Sea in 1959 (a page from which is seen here) and The Day We Saw the Sun Come Up in 1961, both by Alice E. Goudey.
Born on February 11, 1874, Elsa Beskow was a renowned Swedish author and illustrator celebrated for her enchanting children's books. Hailing from Stockholm, her artistic talents emerged early, leading her to study at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. Her career as an illustrator began in the early 20th century, where her distinctive style, characterized by intricate detail and whimsy, quickly garnered widespread acclaim. Beskow's stories often revolved around nature, fantasy, and folklore, reflecting her profound connection to Sweden's landscape and traditions. Notable titles include Peter in Blueberry Land (1901) and The Flowers' Festival (1914). Beskow's timeless illustrations continue to captivate readers worldwide.
If you grew up in Scandinavian culture, you likely grew up with Beskow's books! This page is from her Children of the Forest (1910).
David Small, born February 12, 1945, is a celebrated American writer and illustrator from Detroit, Michigan. After studying at the Pratt Institute in New York City, he pursued a career as a freelance illustrator before venturing into writing and illustrating his own stories. His graphic novel memoir Stitches (2009) stands out for its candid portrayal of his childhood and health struggles, earning him widespread acclaim. Small's work delves into themes of identity and family, showcasing his mastery as both a storyteller and illustrator.
This 1930s city scene is from the pages of The Gardener (1998), for which Small won The Caldecott Honor; the book was authored by his wife, Sarah Stewart!
Eleanor Farjeon, born February 13, 1881, was a renowned English author, poet, and playwright celebrated for her enchanting contributions to children's literature. Hailing from London, her literary talent emerged early as she began writing poetry and stories in her youth. Recognized for her poetic works, which often reflected themes of nature, childhood, and imagination, Farjeon's career flourished in the early 20th century. She penned numerous beloved children's books, including The Little Bookroom, which won the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1956. Farjeon's lyrical prose and ability to evoke wonder enchanted readers of all ages, solidifying her legacy as a masterful storyteller and poet in children's literature.
This sweet literary scene was illustrated by Edward Ardizzone for Farjeon's The Little Bookroom, first published in 1955.
Ernst Haeckel, born February 16, 1834, was a prominent German biologist, naturalist, and artist whose groundbreaking work revolutionized biology and evolutionary theory. Originating from Potsdam, Germany, his fascination with the natural world led him to pursue studies in medicine and biology. Making significant contributions to various scientific disciplines such as zoology, botany, and ecology, Haeckel's remarkable artistic talent set him apart. His detailed illustrations of microscopic organisms, particularly intricate depictions of radiolarians and other single-celled organisms, captivated scientists and the public alike. His renowned work, Art Forms in Nature (1899), showcased an extraordinary ability to merge art and science, featuring lithographic prints of diverse marine lifeforms. Haeckel's illustrations served as invaluable scientific records and inspired generations of artists and designers with their exquisite beauty and intricate detail.
Isn't this detail extraordinary? It's plate 49 from Kunstformen der Natur (1904) and perfectly illustrates how Haeckel merged art and science!
Nancy Ekholm Burkert, born February 16, 1933, is a celebrated American artist and illustrator recognized for her passion for storytelling and illustration. She studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and later honed her skills at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. Her career as an illustrator took off in the mid-20th century, gaining widespread acclaim for her distinctive style characterized by intricate detail and whimsical charm. Best known for her illustrations in Roald Dahl's beloved classic James and the Giant Peach (1961), Burkert earned critical acclaim, solidifying her reputation as a masterful illustrator. Her evocative illustrations transport readers into enchanting worlds filled with wonder and magic!
Burkert's most celebrated work is the beautiful picture book Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1972), which was a New York Times Notable Book and a Caldecott Honor Book.
Born on February 19, 1903, Louis Slobodkin was an esteemed American artist, illustrator, writer, sculptor, and teacher. He pursued formal training in illustration at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in New York City, where he honed his skills and developed his distinctive style. His career flourished in the mid-20th century, during which he collaborated with various authors to bring their stories to life with captivating illustrations. Slobodkin illustrated over seventy children's books, including The Moffats (1941) series by Eleanor Estes, for which he received the Newbery Medal. Additionally, he collaborated with his wife, Florence Gershkowitz, a poet and children's book writer. His illustrations are characterized by expressive linework and whimsical charm, capturing the hearts of readers young and old.
Though his illustrations are worth celebrating, we wanted to highlight Slobodkin's statue Abraham Lincoln, Rail Fence Mender because of its intriguing story: it was intended for display at the 1939–1940 World's Fair but mysteriously went missing. The statue, which had been controversial for unclear reasons, was likely destroyed. He later recast it in bronze, and it now resides in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Edward Gorey, born February 22, 1925, was an enigmatic and highly influential American writer and illustrator, renowned for his distinctive and macabre style. Born in Chicago, Illinois, his artistic talents emerged at an early age, and he went on to study art at Harvard University. After completing his education, Gorey pursued a career as a freelance illustrator and writer, crafting a unique visual language characterized by intricate pen-and-ink drawings and darkly whimsical narratives. He gained widespread acclaim for his illustrated books, which often featured eccentric characters, Victorian settings, and an air of Gothic mystery. His works, such as The Doubtful Guest (1957) and The Gashlycrumb Tinies (1963), captivated audiences with their blend of humor, darkness, and absurdity, earning him a dedicated following and cementing his legacy as a master of the macabre in the world of literature and illustration.
Gorey was a pioneer in book cover art and began his career in publishing by designing book covers for major New York publishers. Here's his visual interpretation of H.G. Wells's masterpiece, The War of the Worlds for its 1960 edition.
Wilhelm Carl Grimm, born February 24, 1786, was a German author, philologist, and one of the famous Grimm Brothers known for their collection of fairy tales. Born in Hanau, Germany, he, along with his older brother Jacob, dedicated much of their lives to collecting and preserving folk tales and folklore. Together, they compiled and published the first edition of Kinder- und Hausmärchen, commonly known as Grimm's Fairy Tales, in 1812. This seminal work included timeless stories such as Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, and Rapunzel, among many others. Their contributions to literature extended beyond fairy tales, as they also made significant contributions to linguistics and philology, particularly through their work on the German language and the publication of the monumental Deutsches Wörterbuch (German Dictionary). Wilhelm Grimm's dedication to preserving and sharing the rich cultural heritage of Germany through storytelling continues to enchant and inspire readers of all ages around the world.
In Primrose and Feather by the Brothers Grimm, one sister, Feather, rejects suitors and flees to the forest, where she is transformed into a white swan by a sorcerer. Her sister, Primrose, embarks on a mission to save her. Inspired by this story, Alphonse Mucha created the Primrose and Feather lithographic panels in 1899. We've adapted Feather into a greeting card, an art print, and a notebook!
Uri Shulevitz, born February 27, 1935, is a distinguished American artist, writer, and illustrator known for exceptional contributions to children's literature. Born in Warsaw, Poland, his early years were shaped by World War II, during which his family fled to the Soviet Union before eventually settling in Paris. In 1959, he immigrated to the United States, where he began his career as an illustrator and writer. His work is characterized by richly detailed illustrations and thoughtful storytelling, exploring themes of identity, belonging, and the immigrant experience. He has received numerous accolades for contributions to children's literature, including the Caldecott Medal for his book The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship (1990). His enduring legacy as an artist and storyteller continues to inspire readers of all ages around the world.
This page from Shulevitz's Writing with Pictures (1985) really showcases the fantastical and fun nature of his work.
Born on February 28, 1820, John Tenniel was an English illustrator and political cartoonist, best known for his iconic illustrations for Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. Showing artistic promise from a young age, Tenniel began his career as a painter. However, he gained widespread recognition and acclaim for his work as an illustrator and cartoonist for the satirical magazine Punch. His intricate and imaginative illustrations brought Carroll's whimsical tales to life, capturing the imagination of readers and contributing to the enduring popularity of the Alice books. Additionally, his incisive political cartoons provided biting commentary on the social and political issues of his time.
Tenniel's detailed and expressive Wonderland artwork, combined with Carroll's fantastical storytelling, has solidified his place as one of the most celebrated illustrators in the history of children's literature!
Thank you for joining us in honoring the artistic legacies of these talented artists born this month! If you're celebrating a February birthday, be sure to explore Laughing Elephant's extensive collection of over 200 birthday cards, specially crafted to add a touch of magic to your celebrations!

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