Pen Name: None
Born: 1916 in Chicago, Illinois
Died: March 27, 1987
Provensen was born in Chicago and attended the Art Institute of Chicago.
Biographical and Professional Information
Provensen was an American author-illustrator who teamed with his wife, Alice, to create children's books. There was a remarkable similarity to the couple's early histories. Both were born in Chicago, Illinois, and both moved to California when they were twelve. Both received scholarships to the Art Institute of Chicago, and both attended the University of California, though at separate campuses. After college, Alice went to work with Walter Lantz Studio, the creators of Woody Woodpecker, and Martin took work with the rival Walt Disney Studio, where he collaborated on Dumbo, Fantasia, and Pinocchio.
The pair met in 1943 when Martin, working as a creator of training films for the American military, was assigned to the Walter Lantz Studio. They were married in 1944 and began illustrating children's books together. They shared work on all of the pictures, passing them back and forth until they were completely satisfie with the results.
After they were married, they resettled in Washington, D.C., where they worked on war-related projects. Following the end of the war, they moved to New York City, where a friend assisted them in finding their first job, illustrating The Fireside Book of Folk Songs. In 1952, Tony the Tiger, designed by Martin, debuted as a Kellogg's mascot. Following that, they illustrated several Little Golden Books and wrote many books based on Maple Hill Farm, their home in New York State.
They received the Caldecott Honor Medal for their illustration of A Visit to William Blake's Inn, by Nancy Willard. They were further recognized just two years later, when they received the Caldecott Medal for A Glorious Flight. The Provensens have been on the New York Times list of the Ten Best Illustrated Books eight times. In all, the couple wrote and illustrated more than 50 books.
- Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm, Random House, 1974
- The Year at Maple Hill Farm, Atheneum, 1978
- A Visit to William Blake's Inn, Voyager Books, 1982 - written by Nancy Willard
- The Glorious Flight, Viking Press, 1983
Titles for Purchase and at Your Library
Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm
Release Date: 2001-12-01
The Year At Maple Hill Farm
Release Date: 2001-12-01
The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot July 25, 1909 (Picture Puffin Books)
Release Date: 1987-08-01
Caldecott Honor Medal for their illustration of A Visit to William Blake's Inn, by Nancy Willard in 1982.
Caldecott Medal for A Glorious Flight in 1984.
This page can only be edited by Illinois Center for the Book staff, this author or this author's representatives. Please contact us for access.