MILWAUKEE – Lois Ehlert, whose cut and pasted shapes and vivid shades in books, including “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” ranked her among the most popular illustrators of preschool books of the late 20th century. She was 86 years old.
Publisher Simon & Schuster said Ehlert died a natural death Tuesday in Milwaukee.
In 1989, in the film “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”, Ehlert created a hyper-simple brown-green coconut tree and multicolored capital letters trying to gather on top of it, threatening to crash to the ground as the text repeated, “Chicka chicka boom boom! Will there be enough space? ”
According to Simon & Schuster, the book has sold more than 12 million copies.
She worked primarily by cutting out shapes and pasting them into collages, much like the preschoolers who were her primary audience.
In 1990, she received recognition from Caldecott as the author and illustrator of the “Color Zoo” which uses basic triangles, rectangles, squares, and circles to create images of animals in supersaturated oranges, purples, and greens. His only words are the names of the forms and creatures themselves.
Ehlert was born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, and graduated from Milton Art School in Milwaukee. She was involved in graphic design before she started illustrating children’s books in her fifties, starting in 1987 “Growing Vegetables from Soup”.
Her other books include “Planting a Rainbow” from 1988, “Eating the Alphabet” from 1989 and “Waiting for Wings” from 2001.