Joan Steiner, creator of the Look-Alikes series of books, died September 8 of cancer at her home in Claverack, N.Y. Steiner’s first children’s book, Look-Alikes, was published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in 1998. The book, and three subsequent titles in the series, featured three-dimensional dioramas that turned everyday objects like razors, coffeepots, or vegetables into scenes of cityscapes, street scenes, parks, and more. Steiner was also heavily involved with the Claverack Free Library, where she served as vice-president, among other roles.
Look-Alikes was named a best book of the year by several publications, including PW; the series sold more than one million copies in 16 languages worldwide. “Joan Steiner was a meticulous artist, and her ability to create the world on a tabletop set was unique among designers of children’s books,” Thomas Lindley, who photographed two of the Look-Alikes books, told School Library Journal, which has an extensive tribute to Steiner.
Little, Brown will publish a final Look-Alikes book, Look-Alikes Picture Puzzles, in spring 2011.