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Donald Crews grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and says that all through his childhood the members of his family were always doing something with their hands. He was always drawing pictures. Now, in the old farmhouse where he lives with his wife, the noted author and illustrator Ann Jonas, Donald Crews is still drawing pictures.
After graduating from New York City's Cooper Union, Mr. Crews spent three years working as a designer. He was assistant art director of Dance magazine, on the staff of a small design studio, and did freelance work as a book-jacket designer. But in 1962 he was inducted into the Army, and for a time his artistic pursuits were set aside. As the end of his eighteen-month military stint in Germany approached, he assigned himself to the task of writing and illustrating a children's book to add to his portfolio. The result was the brilliant concept book We Read: A to Z (Harper & Row, 1967), which, nearly twenty years later, was reissued by Greenwillow Books. Ten Black Dots, a counting book, came next, and then several books for which he did illustrations only. But the turning point came in 1978, when Greenwillow published Freight Train, a picture book inspired by Mr. Crews's childhood train trips from Newark to visit his grandmother in Florida. It was named a Caldecott Honor Book. Since then, Mr. Crews has created several other highly acclaimed picture books (including Truck, a 1981 Calclecott Honor Book), all painted in the flat, clean colors and bright, unambiguous shapes that are the hallmarks of his striking graphics.
When Donald Crews is asked why he focuses on picture books, he frequently answers, "Why not?" All the tools necessary for the creation of any piece of art are also elements in a successful picture book. Mr. Crews chooses a subject, explores ways to develop the subject visually, writes a story, then produces his finished illustrations. And the final audience, the children, tell him that they like what he does. Why not, indeed!
The book content is great! The topic and illustration are simple however, my daughter loves it! I was just disappointed about the book format I purchases as used article which was... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Sabine
Yet another book I bought for my toddler son! We borrowed it from our local library for weeks on end, so again it was a no doubt purchase. Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2012 by Seffy
I bought this book for my grandson who is 18 months old. The pictures in it are wonderful and he loves the book. Read morePublished on Dec 12 2010 by Gramma B
My 2-year old son absolutely loves this book. The book is very simple--the pictures are minimalist, and each page displays only a few words--which means my son has easily memorized... Read morePublished on March 1 2007 by CanadianMother
This book is the greatest children's book ever created - it was always my favourite. Simple and elegant images tell the story of the freight train. Highly recommended!Published on May 5 2004 by Terry Silver
My three year old nephew loves "Freight Train"--it's simple enough that he can "read" it--he's learned the names of the different cars and it reinforces color recognition. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2004 by J. Marren
Freight train is a exalt book for the ages of kids 3-5 years old or when the are just starting to read and learn their colors.
The book doesn't have much of a plot. Read more
This has been my son's (23 months old) FAVORITE book for 6+months! He loves it. We read it every night & several times throughout the day. Read morePublished on July 11 2003 by Kimberly
of both my little boys. it helped my oldest with his colors and it became a soothing story to read at bedtime. Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2002