Pram Jam with Beth – Vale Lois Ehlert

May 2021 was a very sad month in Children’s literature land, with the passing of 2 amazingly influential talents: ‘Mr Hungry Caterpillar’ Eric Carle and renowned author and illustrator Lois Ehlert.

Jessica sang Eric Carle’s praises in her 2015 blog post, and today I’d like to bring attention to the creative talents of Lois Ehlert.

Lois Ehlert’s first acclaimed works included the 1987 title Growing vegetable soup, 1988’s Planting a rainbow and 1989’s  Chicka chicka boom boom! (see video below). Her preferred art technique was collage, coincidentally also my favourite medium.

Lois Ehlert book cover collage

I struggled to limit my collage to an acceptable size, which is an ironic problem given the subject matter! Lois Ehlert was a master of negative space and layering in her illustrations, I have much to learn…

Lois Ehlert shot to super star status with Chicka chicka boom boom, her playful illustrations proving popular with little ones all over the world. This is probably the title that you’ll most easily recognise. In 1990 her book Color Zoo offered insight into how geometric shapes laid the foundation of Lois’ illustrations and showed us all that collage is an art form accessible to all!

Lois Ehlert’s artwork focussed on bold colours, nature and healthy foods.

A firm fan of the creative process, Lois spoke fondly of her parents while reminiscing of her childhood creative pursuits, forever grateful that they had encouraged her and provided her with a dedicated space to work in their small family home.

Lois Ehlert’s books remain firm favourites here at Cockburn Libraries, as popular as ever and rarely on the shelf for long!


Eating the alphabet : fruits and vegetables from A to Z / by Lois Ehler.

An alphabetical tour of the world of fruits and vegetables, from apricot and artichoke to yam and zucchini. While teaching upper- and lowercase letters to preschoolers, Ehlert introduces fruits and vegetables from around the world. A glossary at the end provides interesting facts about each food.
Cover image for : Eating the alphabet : fruits and vegetables from A to Z / by Lois Ehler
Cover Image for: Chicka chicka boom boom / by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault ; illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Chicka chicka boom boom / by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault ; illustrated by Lois Ehlert.

An alphabet rhyme/chant that relates what happens when the whole alphabet tries to climb a coconut tree. Famously shared during the Easter Egg Roll storytime at the White House by President Obama in 2013 (see the video linked below).

Fish eyes : a book you can count on / Lois Ehlert

A counting board book depicting the colourful fish a child might see if he turned into a fish himself. This is a lovely book to read with a young lap sitting baby!

Cover Image for:  Fish eyes : a book you can count on / Lois Ehlert.
Cover Image for: Rain fish / Lois Ehlert.

Rain fish / Lois Ehlert.

Through rhyme and mixed-media collage illustrations, ‘rain fish’–the varied, colourful, and unique little collections of materials that float along on streams of rain water during storms–come to life. Given the weather that we are enjoying here in Perth at the moment, your little ones may find it easy to imaging themselves as a character in this story!

Nobody tells a story like President Obama (and Bo, the Obama’s beautiful dog, who also sadly passed away in May 2021).


I hope that you are inspired to find more of Lois Ehlert’s works, as she really did have a wonderful knack for imparting information without children even knowing it was happening! She will be missed by many but her publications will continue to delight future generations of readers.