Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Alice Provensen  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Children;

Born: 1918 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Alice Provensen on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Provensen was born in Chicago and attended the Art Institute of Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Alice Provensen was an American author-illustrator who teamed with her husband, Martin, 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 satisfied 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. Alice and Martin Provensen 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.When Martin died in 1987, Alice thought about selling Maple Hill Farm, not certain if she would ever want to write or draw again. But her fondness for history drew her to back to writing ''The Buck Stops Here: The Presidents of the United States''. Its success and that of ''My Fellow Americans: A Family Album'' and ''Punch in New York'' revived her interest in writing, and she decided to stay at Maple Hill Farm. Alice enjoys traveling, and her love for exotic places came into play in her 2001 book, ''The Master Swordsman & The Magic Doorway: Two Legends from Ancient China.''

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm
ISBN: 0689844999

Aladdin. 2001

Who lives at Maple Hill Farm?
Two dogs, five horses, a pig, some geese, lots of chickens, a few cows, a few goats, several sheep, and four special cats -- these are the animals at Maple Hill Farm.
With simple text that is both affectionate and wry, and irresistible illustrations that burst with personality, Alice and Martin Provensen bring their barnyard friends to life for the delight of animal lovers both young and old.

The Year At Maple Hill Farm
ISBN: 0689845006

Aladdin. 2001

This is a book about farm animals, and what happens during one year on a farm.
In January, the cows stay in the barnyard, and the chickens don't lay many eggs. By March, you can tell spring is coming: the barn is filled with baby animals. Month by month, the animals at Maple Hill Farm sense the changing seasons and respond to the changes.
Through gently humorous text and charming illustrations, Alice and Martin Provensen capture one year at their beloved Maple Hill Farm in a way sure to delight city slickers and country folk alike.

A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers
ISBN: 0152938230

HMH Books for Young Readers. 1982

Inspired by William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, this delightful collection of poetry for children brings to life Blake’s imaginary inn and its unusual guests.

The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot July 25, 1909 (Picture Puffin Books)
ISBN: 0140507299

Puffin Books. 1987

Winner of the Caldecott Medal, this stunningly illustrated book depicts Louis Bleriot's historic first cross-Channel flight.

“Factually accurate, yes-but also a witty pictorial reincarnation of Bleriot’s first experience of an airship”--Kirkus Reviews

The Buck Stops Here: The Presidents of the United States (Updated Edition)
ISBN: 0152016287

HMH Books for Young Readers. 1997

This updated version of The Buck Stops Here is filled with fascinating details that enliven the histories of the presidents of the United States, from George Washington to Bill Clinton. The lighthearted rhymed text will help readers remember the names of the presidents in sequence, and the pictures connect each president to his contributions--distinguished or dubious--to American history.

Punch in New York (Picture Puffins)
ISBN: 0140540679

Puffin. 1996

After Punch is abducted as he arrives in New York City, he needs all his ingenuity to save himself

My Fellow Americans: A Family Album
ISBN: 0152766421

HMH Books for Young Readers. 1995

In this fascinating compendium, Alice Provensen creates an album that reveals the words and deeds of fellow Americans in elegant pictures brimming with lively detail. An eclectic sampling of Americans is represented-from Pocahontas to Henry Ford, Sojourner Truth to Jim Henson, and Al Capone to Dr. Seuss. By showing us the myriad personalities who have influenced our lives, Mrs. Provensen provides remarkable insight into what it means to be a part of the American family. “Inspiring is the best adjective to describe this very personal book.”-USA Today

The Master Swordsman & the Magic Doorway: Two Legends from Ancient China
ISBN: 068983232X

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. 2001

In two original stories set in ancient China, Little Chiu masters the sword and Mu Chi escapes death through his marvelous painting.


A Visit to William Blake's Inn

  • Caldecott Honor Medal
  • A Glorious Flight

  • Caldecott Medal

    Speaking Engagements

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