Du Bois, William Pène

Tagged: Art | Author

(1916-1993) US writer, illustrator and art editor and designer for the Paris Review, of which he was a founding editor, between 1953 and 1960. His own novels, which he illustrated himself (he also illustrated other writers' books), are usually juveniles, though the bold intricacy of his illustrations are of general interest, and are quite capable of conveying a Sense of Wonder to those open to their fascinated wit. He began publishing with stories for younger children like Elizabeth, the Cow Ghost (1936), Giant Otto (1936), and The Flying Locomotive (1941), and much of his work employs fantasy elements, like The Great Geppy (1940), about a detective horse named Susagep (Pegasus in reverse). The Antigravity device featured in Peter Graves (1950) is sf, and The Twenty-One Balloons (1947) is a full-fledged sf novel: a retired professor, travelling across the Pacific by Balloon in 1883, is forced down on Krakatoa, where he finds a Utopia in full swing, a highly successful Lost World financed by its inhabitants' secret trips to civilization to sell diamonds, which they have in plenty. The famous eruption of that year finishes the experiment, but everyone escapes by balloon. [JC]

see also: Children's SF.

William Sherman Pène Du Bois

born Nutley, New Jersey: 9 May 1916

died Nice, France: 5 February 1993

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