Verna Aardema was born on June 6, 1911 in New Era Michigan. She received her B.A. degree from Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences in 1934. She was a grade school teacher from 1934 to 1973 and staff correspondent for the Muskegon Chronicle from 1951 to 1972. Aardema started writing children's stories in the 1950's, and in 1960 she published her first books, Tales from the Story Hat and The Sky God Stories. She specializes in the modernization and adaptation of traditional African folktales. In the 1970s, Aardema joined illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon and produced three picture books. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears received the Caldecott Medal in 1976 and the Brooklyn Art Books for Children Award in 1977. Who's in Rabbit's House? was the 1977 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award winner in 1978. Aardema received the Children's Reading Round Table Award in 1981, and several of her books have been selected as Notable Books by the American Library Association. Oh Kojo! How Could You! won the 1984 Parents' Choice Award for Literature. Verna Aardema died in 2000.
Petra Mathers came to the U.S. when she was 23. She started painting the walls in her son's room and eventually had a gallery showing of her art. Friends encouraged her to try illustrating children's books. Her early books were filled with black-and-white illustrations, but Petra really wanted to do color. She has moved on and among the books that have garnered praise are Kisses from Rosa, Sophie and Lou, Patchwork Island and When It Snowed that Night. Petra now writes her own stories and accompanies them with full-color art. Her heart is in the Lottie stories and she said that she would like to be as prolific as Beatrix Potter and do scads of books. Her latest is Dodo Gets Married in which Lottie's friend Dodo meets a retired Coast Guard helicopter pilot with a wooden leg. It is a match made in heaven and the wedding preparations and big celebration bring all of her characters together at one big happy event. Petra is a self-taught artist. Her earliest works were created with crayons and cheap watercolors. Petra believes that her inspiration comes from the muses-all she really does is record what is coming to her.