Author-illustrator Glen Rounds died September 27 in Pinehurst, N.C., following a long illness. He was 96.
Rounds was born in 1906 in a sod house near Wall, S.Dak. A year later, Rounds's family moved—via covered wagon—to Montana, a place that would inspire the western setting and spirit of many of his picture books. He studied at the Kansas City Art Institute in the mid-1920s. As a young man determined to earn a living with his art, Rounds abandoned a series of odd jobs and traveled to New York City with a collection of drawings depicting ranch life and various adventures. He continued his formal art studies at night at the Art Students League.
Rounds's artwork and his easy manner of telling a story impressed several editors, including Vernon Ives, one of the founders of Holiday House. Holiday House published Rounds's first book, a compilation of original Paul Bunyan tales entitled Ol' Paul the Mighty Logger, in 1936. A long line of books that Rounds wrote and/or illustrated followed, including several titles starring Whitey the cowboy (published by Holiday House in the 1940s). Rounds received the University of Minnesota's prestigious Kerlan Award in 1980, "in recognition of singular achievements in the creation of children's literature."
In the late 1980s, Rounds faced a crucial career turning point, when severe arthritis forced him to stop drawing with his right hand. Rather than give up the work he loved, Rounds spent a summer teaching himself how to draw left-handed. He reemerged with his new drawing method in books like Cowboys (Holiday House, 1991), which received warm reviews. His final book, Beaver, was published by Holiday House in 1999.