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Uri Shulevitz is original, expressive and one of children's literature's premier authors and illustrators. A small sampling of his books appear on this page: "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship" by Arthur Ransome was awarded the 1969 Caldecott Medal Book, and " Snow," was a 1999 Caldecott Honor Book. He lives in New York City. Click on the following links for more about Uri Shulevitz.

Uri Shulevitz [See also] Horn Book Radio Interview
What Is a Wise Bird Like You Doing in a Silly Tale Like This?
Written and Illustrated
by Uri Shulevitz
Ages 5 Up

The Traveling Salesman and Lou
[click image for larger view]

The Emperor and The Janitor
[click image for larger view]

Pictures © 2000 by Uri Shulevitz
Used with the permission of the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Wow! Whimsical, nonsensical, ludicrously comical and brilliant are just a few adjectives that could best describe "What Is a Wise Bird Like You Doing in a Silly Tale Like This?"

It all takes place in a place called Pickleberry, an unlikely empire which consists of one village, Pickleberry, a bit over four acres of land and twenty-six and a half citizens. “The half citizen was an invisible fellow with a big mustache whom everyone knew and who spoke in half words….
_ _llo!”

The Emperor had a twin brother, the janitor, who had a broom; and a bird named Lou who could talk and was the empire’s genius. Lou was so wise (some think he studied with the invisible half citizen) that the Emperor consulted him every day on important matters affecting Pickleberry.

“Could Pickeberrians eat pickled pickles pickled in strawberry jam on a future Tuesday without getting an irresistible urge to start a shouting match on a Monday past?”…to which Lou replied, “Yes and no.”

The Emperor regarded Lou with such great esteem that he showered him with extravagances, the likes of which no other bird could imagine. But, Lou spent his nights and days in a cage. And while it was lavish, Lou was not free.

Let me see if I can wind this up. The Emperor asks the Janitor (his brother) to go on an extraordinary mission (shopping) and Lou asks the Janitor to seek his Aunt Millie (who is even smarter than Lou) who faints when she hears that Lou is in a cage. The next morning, at the palace, the Emperor finds Lou dead (“How dare he die without my permission!”) and ordered The Janitor to throw him away.

Lou flew away and it just gets plain silly from there!

Don’t miss this book!

Written and Illustrated
by Uri Shulevitz
1999 Caldecott Honor Medal


“Shulevitz captures the small child's joyful vision...The innocent, small boy with his dog, uncluttered by adult experience, can see clearly what is happening around him. He counts each snowflake, one by one, until the world is white and the snow is everywhere. In contrast, the suave, sophisticated adults...they are dismissive, they are certain: "No snow." But they are wrong....Kids will enjoy the small child's triumph in the fact that he is right, even as they will recognize the exhilaration of a snowfall that changes what you thought you knew.”—Booklist
Fool of the World and the Flying Ship
Retold by Arthur Ransome
Uri Shulevitz (Illustrator)
1969 Caldecott Medal


Tontimundo, the Fool of the World and the youngest son of a simple peasant, hears that the Czar has offered his daughter to anyone who can build a flying ship.

With only a few crusts of bread he sets out for the palace to find a flying machine and win the hand of the Czar's daughter.

Other notable books by Uri Shulevitz include:

Rain Rain Rivers

The Treasure