Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Peter Spier

I have loved the illustrator and author Peter Spier since I was a child. I have recently come across an interesting connection though. Spier has a distinct illustrating style and has won many awards for his children's books.

I was interested in the history of spices and came across an inexpensive volume at one of my favorite used book stores entitled The Spice Cookbook by Avanelle Day and Lillie Stuckey. I picked it up, partially because it had these charming little sketches in it. When I finally got around to reading it, I was struck page after page with how familiar the illustrations seemed. I finally looked in the front to see who the illustrator was, and it turned out to be Jo Spier. I Googled his name, excited by the connection that I thought was sure to be with my old childhood books. Indeed, Jo Spier was Peter Spier's father. Interestingly, Jo Spier was a cartoonist in the Netherlands and was imprisoned (along with his whole family) by the Nazis for an unfavorable cartoon. He spent much of his time drawing on the walls of the children's wing of the concentration camp.

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