Ronni Solbert, Children’s Book Illustrator, Dies at 96

She did the artwork for dozens of books, 尤其是《GPK电子游戏》,这是一个关于战胜恶霸的寓言, 作者:她的伴侣, 让美林.

Ronni Solbert in 1959: Her joyful illustrations helped make &宝贝,手推车战争” a classic children’s book about peaceful resistance to injustice.
信贷...作者:Lisa Solbert Sheldon

In 1961, Ronni Solbert was living with her partner, 让美林, on the north side of Tompkins Square Park, 在曼哈顿东村, alongside the immigrants and bohemians who defined the neighborhood’s idyllic, small-town-in-a-big-city氛围.

When the city’s Parks Department announced plans to tear out many of the park’s benches, chess tables and centenarian trees to make room for a softball field, 邻居们起来反对, 写信, organizing protests and forming the Committee for the Preservation of Tompkins Square Park.

They won their fight, at least in part, and in doing so helped inspire Ms. 索尔伯特是一位插画家. 美林 an author, to write a young adult novel, as Ms. Solbert explained in 2014 to The Valley News, a newspaper covering parts of Vermont and New Hampshire (by then she had moved to Vermont). The two had already published several books together and would collaborate on 18 in all, but “手推车战争,” published in 1964, was their greatest achievement.

The story revolves around a ragtag band of pushcart vendors who go to war against the fleets of trucks taking over their narrow city streets, most memorably by attacking enemy vehicles with pea shooters. A modern-day parable of underdogs taking on bullies, it quickly found millions of readers.

Ms. Solbert, whose death on June 9, at 96, was not widely reported, credited Ms. 美林 2012年去世他是这本书的主要作者. 但是女士. Solbert的插图, 既文雅又感性, very much in the vein of midcentury New Yorker cartoons, were likely to have contributed to its rapid elevation into the pantheon of children’s literature.

Her niece, Lisa Solbert Sheldon, said Ms. Solbert died at her home in Randolph, Vt.在那里,她和米歇尔. 美林在1970年搬了家.

Among the many fans of “The Pushcart War” was the playwright Tony Kushner, who at one point hoped to adapt it as a screenplay and later wrote a blurb for an edition published by The New York Review of 书 in 2014.

“The book gave me a point of entrance — my first, I imagine — into the world of resistance to political and economic injustice and chicanery,” Mr. 库什纳写道. “这使反对, 甚至非暴力的非暴力反抗, seem fun and right and necessary and heroic, and something even someone as powerless as a kid could and should undertake.”

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信贷...《GPK电子》的孩子们

Romaine Gustave Solbert, who went by her childhood nickname, Ronni, was born on Sept. 1925年7月,华盛顿. Her family soon moved to Rochester, N.Y., 她的父亲, 奥斯卡Nathaniel Solbert, was the first director of the George Eastman Museum of photography and film. Her mother, Elizabeth (Abernathy) Solbert, was a homemaker.

Ms. Solbert graduated from Vassar College in 1946, and received a masters in fine arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan in 1948. 在瑞典工作了几年之后, 她父亲出生在哪里, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in art.

她走了两条路. 她画的, mostly in the vein of Abstract Expressionism, 而且相当成功, with 17 of her works included in the Museum of Modern Art’s “New Talent” exhibition in 1959.

She also began illustrating children’s books. 她遇到了女士. Merrill soon after arriving in New York, and they released their first book together, “手绘老鼠亨利,” in 1951. They went on to collaborate on 17 more, including “The Pushcart War.”

批评人士指出,奥巴马在这方面付出了多大的努力. 索尔伯特的工作提升了索尔伯特女士的地位. Merrill’s texts, many of which told complex stories about outsiders fighting bureaucratic conformity.

Reviewing their 1969 book “The Black Sheep” for The New York Times, 娜塔莉·巴比特, a noted children’s book author and illustrator, praised the way “让美林 pulls off a difficult thing very well with the assistance of Ronni Solbert’s carefully careless, 滑稽的图画.”

Ms. Solbert worked with other authors as well. She illustrated the poet Gwendolyn Brooks’s “Bronzeville Boys and Girls” (1956) and “The Two Runaways” (1959) by Aline Havard. She also wrote three books of her own.

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信贷...Jessamyn西

Ms. Solbert和女士. Merrill bought a farm in Washington, Vt., in 1962. They left New York for good eight years later, having watched their beloved Tompkins Square Park fall into disrepair 犯罪活动在东村蔓延.

“You found yourself trying to spend more time trying to fix things, 但问题太大了,” Ms. Solbert told The Valley News in 2014.

2013年,也就是她去世一年后. 美林的死亡,女士. Solbert, 谁没有留下直接幸存者, gave their farm to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science and settled full time in Randolph, a small town in the center of the state. She had largely stopped illustrating but continued with her art, which by then included photography and sculpture.

“Art is my sanity, joy, frustration and passion,” she wrote in an artist’s statement. “My subject is the human animal, our relationship with each other and to the world we inhabit. I want the work to invite reflection, open perspectives and challenge the viewers’ emotional and intellectual responses.”