Bill Peet (1915-2002) created stories and animation for many classic animated films.
He was born in Grandview, Indiana, then moved to Indianapolis at the age of three, eventually attending the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, Indiana, before trying out as an animator for a major movie company in California. After getting the job and many years of working as an artist, he wrote a children’s picture book and then left the company to write about thirty more books. According to boryarnabooks.com:
“Bill Peet had been an instrumental player in the early growth of the Walt Disney Studios dating back to the late 1930s when he joined the company as a graduate of John Herron Art Institute in Indiana. His early work as an artist in the animation department was on display in the 1937 film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. He eventually became one of Disney’s top writer-illustrators on such animated classics as Pinocchio, Fantasia, Alice in Wonderland, 101 Dalmatians, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella.”
“I am an author-illustrator of children’s books – and yet – I must confess I don’t do the books for the kids. When I’m working on a book I’m somewhere else – at the circus – or a rustic old farm – or deep in a forest – with no thought of who might read the book or what age group it would appeal to. I write them so I can illustrate them.” –Bill Peet
All of Peet’s children’s books are on the Accelerated Reading list, according to billpeet.net, so students may get extra credit for reading them, if enrolled in an elementary school that offers the Accelerated Reading program. Known as “AR,” the program is designed to encourage independent book selection and reading of young students. It also provides quizzes to check reading comprehension.
Click here to see a list of books by Bill Peet: billpeet.net/PAGES/booklist.htm.
Where He Is Memorialized
Peet’s handprints and signature can also be seen on a plaque at the movie company’s headquarters in Burbank, California, to this day.
Herron School of Art and Design
The Herron School of Art and Design (735 W. New York Street in Indianapolis) was first established through a bequest in 1895 and grew to offer more than a dozen college majors as well as several graduate degree programs in the visual arts field.
The Herron School of Art and Design is the third stop on our Indiana Author Adventures Trail.