Books by Ann Stalcup

LEO POLITI by Ann Stalcup
Released: Dec. 1, 2004

Stalcup bases her biography, the first ever, of Politi, largely on interviews and personal memories—and rather than shape it as a conventional tally of travels and awards, she focuses on this Caldecott-winner's character, artistic development, and favorite themes. Born in Fresno, Politi grew up in California and Italy. He returned to the former as an adult on a voyage through the Panama Canal and up the west coast that crystallized his interest in Latino culture. He settled in the Los Angeles area, where he became an inveterate observer of Olvera Street and other ethnic neighborhoods. Adding a generous mix of paintings, sketches, and spot art, some of it previously unpublished, the author trails along, pointing out, for instance, how the caricatures in his first children's book, Little Pancho (1938), became real figures, drawn from life, in later titles, and how innovative it was then to depict ethnically specific children in particular, rather than generic, neighborhoods. Closing with a timeline and an annotated bibliography, this perceptive portrait should go far toward rekindling interest in an artist and writer whose reputation, outside his customary haunts at least, has faded considerably. (Biography. 10-12)Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1998

A touching memoir from a former teacher, about her experiences in Lydney, England (120 miles west of London), as a young child during WW II. Born in 1935, and only four years old when England entered the war against Germany, Stalcup wonderfully recreates the voice of young child to recount the everyday incidents of a small family coping bravely with the war. She describes the issuing of gas masks, which "looked like pigs' snouts and smelled foul," her mother and father's attempts to keep her from worrying, and the blacking out of windows with thick curtains. She describes the evacuation of women and children from London, rationing, and the rescue of Allied soldiers at Dunkirk by the "little ships." One night, in a scene right out of the film Hope and Glory, when an 18-year-old German parachutist landed in the field next to her house, the author discovered that he was a nice lad and "realized that a great many of the German people were probably just like us." This child's view of WW II is certain to touch the hearts of readers. (glossary, further reading, index) (Memoir. 11-14) Read full book review >