Lois Ehlert

Lois Ehlert (born November 9, 1934) is an author and illustrator of children's books, most having to do with nature. Ehlert won the Caldecott Honor for Color Zoo. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Lois Ehlert
BornNovember 9, 1934 (1934-11-09) (age 85)
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, U.S.
OccupationAmerican illustrator and children's writer
Years active1987-present


Ehlert grew up painting and sculpting. Even in her early years, she always erased her drawings and was never satisfied. Her favorite art technique was and remains to this day to be cutting and pasting. This method is called collage—the process of cutting out pieces of paper, fabric, or objects and gluing them to a backing. [1]

Ehlert was born and raised in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. [2]

Family backgroundEdit

Her mother was a seamstress who taught her how to sew at 8 years old. Her mother also shared fabric scraps with her, which gave her art exposure early on. Her father had a basement workshop and always had art supplies available, just not the traditional supplies. He had materials like scrap lumber and nails. [3]

Educational backgroundEdit

Ehlert graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a degree in English and Psychology. Then she went to the Layton School of Art. [4] After getting her degree she worked as an apprentice in an art studio delivering illustrations. Here, Ehlert was able to work in the evenings on her own art. [5][failed verification]

Work processEdit

Ehlert has her own book creation process. She begins with a “dummy book” made from pencil drawings. Then, Ehlert assesses to determine the subject matter of the new book. Once she has a topic, she will do background research to learn more. Then she will begin her artwork, which involves cutting out each piece individually and then gluing them on the pages of her book.[6]


Ehlert won the Caldecott Honor Book in 1990 for Color Zoo and won a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year for Snowballs. Ehlert became the Booklist Editors' Choice for Cuckoo/Cucú: A Mexican Folktale/Un cuento folklórico Mexicano. She also was awarded the IRA Teachers' Choice and NCTE Notable Children's Trade Book in the Language Arts for Feathers for Lunch and received the American Library Association Notable Children's Book and Boston Globe – Horn Book Award for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.[7] She received an Honorable Mention from the National Outdoor Book Award (Children's Category) in 2005 for Leaf Man, which was also awarded the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 2006.

Selected worksEdit

  • Growing Vegetable Soup (1987)
  • Planting a Rainbow (1988)
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (illustrator) (1989)
  • Color Zoo (1989)
  • Eating the Alphabet (1989)
  • Thump, Thump, Rat-a-Tat-Tat (illustrator) (1989)
  • Color Farm (1990)
  • Fish Eyes (1990)
  • Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf (1991)
  • Feathers for Lunch (1990)
  • Circus (1992)
  • Moon Rope/Un Lazo a La Luna (1992)
  • Nuts to You! (1993)
  • Mole's Hill: A Woodland Tale (1994)
  • Snowballs (1995)
  • A Pair of Socks (illustrator) (1996)
  • Under My Nose (1996)
  • Cuckoo/Cucú: A Mexican Folktale (1997)
  • Angel Hide and Seek (illustrator) (1998)
  • Top Cat (1998)
  • Waiting for Wings (2001)
  • Market Day/Día de marcado (2002)
  • In My World (2002)
  • Crocodile Smile (illustrator) (2003)
  • Moon Rope (2003)
  • Hands: Growing Up to Be An Artist (2004)
  • Pie in the Sky (2004)
  • Leaf Man (2005)
  • In My World (2006)
  • Wag a Tail (2007)
  • Oodles of Animals (2008)
  • Boo to You! (2009)
  • Lots of Spots (2010)
  • Rrralph (2011)
  • The Scraps Book (2014)
  • Holey Moley (2015)
  • Rain Fish (2016)
  • Heart to Heart (2017)

Color ZooEdit

Color Zoo is one of her more famous books. Ehlert won the 1989 Caldecott Honor Award for this book. It is very simple and easy. Ehlert used shapes to create animals. She created an educational book with only shapes and colors. She names the shapes and then has the name of the animal on the next page. This book is enjoyable for all ages.


  1. ^ "Workspace Login". friend.ly.net. Archived from the original on 2005-03-06. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  2. ^ "Lois (Jane) Ehlert". The Writers Directory, Gale In Context: Biography. Detroit, MI: St. James Press. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  3. ^ [1] Archived October 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Lois (Jane) Ehlert". Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults. Detroit, MI: Gale. 2002. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Page Not Found - JSOnline". www2.jsonline.com. Archived from the original on 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2014-04-12. Cite uses generic title (help)
  6. ^ "Author of the Month". Mhhe.com. 1934-11-09. Retrieved 2014-04-08.
  7. ^ "Children's Literature - Meet Lois Ehlert". Childrenslit.com. Archived from the original on 2014-04-08. Retrieved 2014-04-08.

External linksEdit