Young Readers One Book 2017 Features Unforgettable Illustrator

Van Dusen a Veteran Artist

Van_Dusen_peterluhr.jpgStudents around South Dakota will get a unique treat this year with their copies of the 2017 Young Readers One Book – the chance to meet the illustrator and learn more about his work.

This year’s selection is Tales from Deckawoo Drive, a bind-in of three books in a series written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.

As part of the 2017 Young Readers Festival of Books, Van Dusen will visit third-graders in Rapid City on Sept. 21 and the Northern Hills Sept. 22-23, giving drawing demonstrations and sharing his experiences of illustrating his own books and books written by others. DiCamillo, a past Young Readers Festival author, will also send a video greeting to the students.

The Young Readers bind-in will include three books: Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon, and Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln?

The trio of books will provide endless entertainment for young readers around the state. 

Interconnected Storylines - Mercy Watson, Mr. Magee and King Hugo

"We think youth will really respond to the interconnected storylines of these three books, all of which take place in the same neighborhood and feature some of the same characters," said Jennifer Widman, director of the South Dakota Center for the Book. "We're also excited to give students a chance to meet an illustrator and see how he works, whether he's illustrating another author's books or for those he's written himself. They're going to love his drawing demonstrations!"

Each of these adventurous characters first appeared in the popular Mercy Watson series, also by DiCamillo and Van Dusen, so they will be familiar to many students.

Author/illustrator Van Dusen brings humor, adventure, lively language and richly colored, kinetic illustrations to his children’s books.

Along with Mercy Watson, he has created a number of unforgettable literary characters, including Mr. Magee (and his trusty dog, Dee) and King Hugo (the royal with the big ego).

Talent from a Young Age

Van Dusen developed his artistic talents as a child, when he and his brothers would spend hours drawing pictures – his specialty was aliens, robots, and monsters. He has always been inspired by the musical rhythm of Dr. Seuss’ words and the meticulous detail of Robert McCloskey’s illustrations.

Van Dusen has also created illustrations that have been published in magazines and books and printed on T-shirts and greeting cards. He lives in Maine with his wife, two sons and, naturally a dog.