Ehlert, Lois


Ehlert grew up in Beaver Dam, and in a house where “people were always making things”. Her mother was a talented seamstress who gave her sewing lessons and bright pieces of leftover fabric. Her father was a woodworker who gave her scraps of lumber from his workshop in the basement. With this abundance of nontraditional art supplies, Ehlert became a resourceful artist with a love for bright colors and interesting textures. An old card table served as headquarters for her many art projects. Not surprisingly, Ehlert went on to study art in college. After graduating from the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee, she worked in graphic design for a number of years. When she first attempted to illustrate children’s books, she became frustrated with the limitations inherent in illustrating another person’s story. Eventually, she did return to children’s books — but this time as the illustrator, designer, and author. In 1990, Ehlert’s Color Zoo received a prestigious Caldecott Honor Award. In 2003, the Milwaukee Art Museum honored the Wisconsin native’s original artwork with an exhibit entitled, “Handmade by Lois Ehlert: Art for Children’s Books”. She currently lives in Milwaukee, WI.

Selected Work

Title: Waiting for Wings

Author: Lois Ehlert

Illustrator: Lois Ehlert

Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books

Year: 2001

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Format: Hardcover; 40 pages; 31.0 cm x 25.9 cm

ISBN: 0152026088; 978-0152026080

MARC Record

In this book, Ehlert again spreads her creative wings to deliver this inventively designed picture book about caterpillars’ metamorphosis into butterflies. Nestled against a verdant spring-garden backdrop formed by the front end paper and opening page, a small book is inside. On each of the smaller pages, which are artistic extensions of the main background spread, Ehlert unfolds a rhyming text explaining how caterpillars lay eggs and form “a case in which to grow” before “wings unfold; new butterflies are born!” A series of half and full pages show the brilliant butterflies taking wing, flitting among bold cut-paper-collage flowers in vibrant pinks, purples, yellows, reds and oranges. The brief and cheery tone serves as an inviting introduction into a fascinating life cycle. Several closing pages contain detailed information on butterflies, a visual glossary for butterfly and flower identification and suggestions for growing a butterfly garden. (From

Other Works

Market Day. Written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Harcourt, 2000.

Hands.Written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Harcourt Brace, 1997, 2004.

Snowballs.  Written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Harcourt Brace, 1995.

Nuts to You. Written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Harcourt Brace, 1993.

Color Zoo. Written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Harper & Row, 1989. Caldecott Honor Award, 1990.

More works of Lois Ehlert could be found here.

More Information

Meet Authors & Illustrators: Lois Ehlert, from Children’s Literature: Independent Information and Reviews.

Interview with Lois Ehlert:

Birthday & Mother’s Day

4 Responses to “Ehlert, Lois”

  1. Randi Thorson Says:

    Does Lois Ehlert do school visits? How can we contact her? This is for Deerfield Elementary School, Deerfield, WI, 12 miles north of Madison.

    • Liza Says:

      Unfortunately, we have no idea. This isn’t an author site or associated with any publishing house. We are just fans and students. I would try contacting her through her publisher.

  2. Stefanie Roedenbeck Says:

    Dear Liza, I am trying to get in touch with a WI childrens book author and/or illustrator. What I need is help and colaboration in the making of a children’s book idea. I am not a writer or illustrator and work in business but need to get in touch with people in the art world to maybe consider a book project on this idea. I thought of Lois Ehlert, since she is the most famous, but also somebody less famous coudl be of help. Do you have any suggestions for me? Thanks, steffi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: