Richard Atwater was born on December 29, 1892 in Chicago, and educated at the University of Chicago, where he later taught Greek. In addition to teaching, Atwater worked as a book editor and newspaper columnist. Atwater wrote several books in his lifetime, including Doris and the Trolls and Rickety Rimes of Riq. However, it was his children's book Mr. Popper's Penguins that made him famous. In this story a house painter receives several penguins as a present. He keeps them in his refrigerator and the trouble they create is chronicled in the story. In 1934, Atwater suffered a stroke. Atwater's wife revised and completed the manuscript. Richard Atwater died on August 21, 1948. Mr. Popper's Penguins won the Newberry Medal in 1939 and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958.
Robert Lawson was born in 1892 in New York City. He studied art for three years under illustrator Howard Giles. His career as an illustrator began in 1914, when his illustration for a poem about the invasion of Belgium was published in Harper's Weekly. In 1922, he illustrated his first children's book, The Wonderful Adventures of Little Prince Toofat. Subsequently he illustrated dozens of children's books by other authors, including such well-known titles as The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. He has illustrated as many as forty books by other authors, and another seventeen books that he himself was author of, including Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin By His Good Mouse Amos and Rabbit Hill. His work was widely admired, and he became the first, and so far only, person to be given both the Caldecott Medal (They Were Strong and Good, 1941) and the Newbery Medal (Rabbit Hill, 1945). Ben and Me earned a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1961. Lawson died in 1957 at his home in Westport, Connecticut, in a house that he referred to as Rabbit Hill, since it had been the setting for his book of the same name. He was 64.