Top to Bottom Down Under

Overview

Ted and Betsy Lewin's adventures take them from the northernmost tip of Australia to the southernmost tip. At the top, they interrupt a python's mealtime, encounter a ferocious pack of dingoes, and come face-to-face with a crocodile. Down at the bottom, they dine with rude kangaroos, meet their first platypus, and confront an ill-tempered sea lion!

The vivid colors, close-up paintings, and rich landscapes rendered in the Lewins' distinct watercolor styles, combined with ...

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Overview

Ted and Betsy Lewin's adventures take them from the northernmost tip of Australia to the southernmost tip. At the top, they interrupt a python's mealtime, encounter a ferocious pack of dingoes, and come face-to-face with a crocodile. Down at the bottom, they dine with rude kangaroos, meet their first platypus, and confront an ill-tempered sea lion!

The vivid colors, close-up paintings, and rich landscapes rendered in the Lewins' distinct watercolor styles, combined with action-packed narrative, will make you want to pack your bags and visit the land down under!

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-An attractive addition to the Lewins' personal adventure series, which includes Gorilla Walk (1999) and Elephant Quest (2000, both HarperCollins). Ted's handsome, realistic watercolors are complemented by Betsy's colorful field sketches as the two explore Kakadu National Park and Kangaroo Island, respectively, in the hot north and chilly south of the Australian continent. Salt-water crocodiles, dingoes, an echidna, and a platypus are among the wildlife observed, as are encounters with some brush-tailed possums and smallish kangaroos that aggressively demand the Lewins' dinner at "tucker" time (Australian lingo is defined). A few black-and-tan sketches of Aboriginal life are included, oddly labeled "all circa 1900," with no explanation. Nonetheless, this eye-catching and informative title is a treat for animal lovers and adventurers alike.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Lewins' latest travelogue offers typically vivid glimpses of distinctive wildlife, but is marred by anachronistic references to the indigenous human population, plus repeated reference to the persistent but wrong idea that draining water turns in different directions on different sides of the equator. Adding light-hearted commentary to a mix of Ted's distinctive, expert watercolors and Betsy's comic figures, the two visit a billabong in Kakadu National Park in the north of Australia and the wildlife preserve on Kangaroo Island to the south. They catch sight of the likes of kangaroos, sea lions, tall storks, a platypus, several saltwater crocodiles, an echidna and as night brings a sense of closure, a flock of tiny fairy penguins. People seldom appear in the painted scenes, but several sketched vignettes labeled "(ALL CIRCA 1900)," and so presumably copied rather than directly observed, superfluously shoehorn in picturesque groups of thong-clad Aborigines hunting and gathering. Australia's flora and fauna are always worth a gander, but next to the Lewins' Gorilla Walk (1999) and Elephant Quest (2000), this outing has a touristy superficiality. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)
ALA Booklist
“… a fresh, funny, fact-filled travelogue… the text is intelligently written…”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688141134
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/2005
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Ted Lewin grew up in an old frame house in Buffalo, New York, with two brothers, one sister, two parents, a lion, an iguana, a chimpanzee, and an assortment of more conventional pets. The lion was given to his older brother, Don, while he was traveling as a professional wrestler, and he shipped it home. The family kept Sheba in the basement fruit cellar until Don returned and their mother convinced him to give it to the Buffalo zoo.

Ted always knew he wanted to be an illustrator. As a child he copied the work of illustrators and painters he admired, including N. C. Wyeth, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Velázquez, and Goya. When it came time to go to art school (Pratt), he needed to earn money to finance his education. So, following in his brother’s footsteps, he took a summer job as a wrestler — the beginning of a 15-year part-time career that eventually inspired his autobiographical book I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler. Ted’s career as an artist began with illustrations for adventure magazines, and it’s only over the last several years that he has devoted his time to writing and illustrating children’s books. "I’m having more fun doing this than anything I’ve ever done before," he says. He is an avid traveler, and many of his books are inspired by trips to such places as the Amazon River, the Sahara Desert, Botswana, Egypt, Lapland, and India. His Market!, published in 1996, showcases markets around the world, from Uganda to Ireland to Ecuador.

Touch and Go is a collection of stories about the adventures Ted had while researching his books. Gorilla Walk is his first collaboration with his wife, Betsy, and is about their trek to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda. They’ve just completed their second collaboration, Elephant Quest, set in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. Ted’s current project is about a Civil War drummer boy.

Ted and Betsy live in Brooklyn, New York, where they share their home with two cats, Slick and Chopper.

Ted Lewin grew up in an old frame house in Buffalo, New York, with two brothers, one sister, two parents, a lion, an iguana, a chimpanzee, and an assortment of more conventional pets. The lion was given to his older brother, Don, while he was traveling as a professional wrestler, and he shipped it home. The family kept Sheba in the basement fruit cellar until Don returned and their mother convinced him to give it to the Buffalo zoo.

Ted always knew he wanted to be an illustrator. As a child he copied the work of illustrators and painters he admired, including N. C. Wyeth, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Velázquez, and Goya. When it came time to go to art school (Pratt), he needed to earn money to finance his education. So, following in his brother’s footsteps, he took a summer job as a wrestler — the beginning of a 15-year part-time career that eventually inspired his autobiographical book I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler. Ted’s career as an artist began with illustrations for adventure magazines, and it’s only over the last several years that he has devoted his time to writing and illustrating children’s books. "I’m having more fun doing this than anything I’ve ever done before," he says. He is an avid traveler, and many of his books are inspired by trips to such places as the Amazon River, the Sahara Desert, Botswana, Egypt, Lapland, and India. His Market!, published in 1996, showcases markets around the world, from Uganda to Ireland to Ecuador.

Touch and Go is a collection of stories about the adventures Ted had while researching his books. Gorilla Walk is his first collaboration with his wife, Betsy, and is about their trek to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda. They’ve just completed their second collaboration, Elephant Quest, set in the Okavango Delta of Botswana. Ted’s current project is about a Civil War drummer boy.

Ted and Betsy live in Brooklyn, New York, where they share their home with two cats, Slick and Chopper.

Betsy Lewin grew up in Clearfield,Pennsylvania. She always loved to draw and can’t remember ever wanting to be anything but an artist. Her mother (a kindergarten teacher) is responsible for her love of children’s books. She read to Betsy and her brother every night: Winnie the Pooh, The Adventures of Babar, Uncle Remus, and all the fairy-tale books. The illustrators Ernest Shepard and A. B. Frost were among her earliest heroes. Later on, when she started illustrating for children, Betsy realized how strongly she’d been influenced by the gentle watercolors of Beatrix Potter and the energetic line and humor of James Stevenson and Quentin Blake.

After graduating from Pratt Institute, where she studied illustration, Betsy took a job as an assistant art director at a greeting-card company in New York, which led to freelance work for several other card companies. Then she began to write and illustrate stories for children’s magazines. When an editor at Dodd, Mead & Company asked her to expand one of those stories into a picture book, Betsy says, “I jumped at the chance. I’ve been doing picture books ever since and loving every moment.”

Betsy’s art is usually humorous, drawn in pen with watercolor washes, as in Is It Far to Zanzibar? But she also paints in a naturalistic style, as in Walk a Green Path, in which she expresses her love for the natural world through paintings and poetry. Gorilla Walk is her first collaboration with her husband, Ted, and is about their trek to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda. They’ve just completed their second collaboration, Elephant Quest, set in the Okavango Delta of Botswana.

When not at work on their books, Ted and Betsy love to travel to exotic places around the world gathering material for new books. At home each of them has a studio in their brownstone house in Brooklyn. Besides the usual clutter of pencils and pens, paint tubes and brushes, drawing paper, and, of course, books, they surround themselves with mementos of their travels: peacock feathers from India, Herero dolls from Botswana, galimoto toys from Namibia and Brazil, brass pots from Egypt, postcards and snapshots.

Betsy Lewin grew up in Clearfield,Pennsylvania. She always loved to draw and can’t remember ever wanting to be anything but an artist. Her mother (a kindergarten teacher) is responsible for her love of children’s books. She read to Betsy and her brother every night: Winnie the Pooh, The Adventures of Babar, Uncle Remus, and all the fairy-tale books. The illustrators Ernest Shepard and A. B. Frost were among her earliest heroes. Later on, when she started illustrating for children, Betsy realized how strongly she’d been influenced by the gentle watercolors of Beatrix Potter and the energetic line and humor of James Stevenson and Quentin Blake.

After graduating from Pratt Institute, where she studied illustration, Betsy took a job as an assistant art director at a greeting-card company in New York, which led to freelance work for several other card companies. Then she began to write and illustrate stories for children’s magazines. When an editor at Dodd, Mead & Company asked her to expand one of those stories into a picture book, Betsy says, “I jumped at the chance. I’ve been doing picture books ever since and loving every moment.”

Betsy’s art is usually humorous, drawn in pen with watercolor washes, as in Is It Far to Zanzibar? But she also paints in a naturalistic style, as in Walk a Green Path, in which she expresses her love for the natural world through paintings and poetry. Gorilla Walk is her first collaboration with her husband, Ted, and is about their trek to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda. They’ve just completed their second collaboration, Elephant Quest, set in the Okavango Delta of Botswana.

When not at work on their books, Ted and Betsy love to travel to exotic places around the world gathering material for new books. At home each of them has a studio in their brownstone house in Brooklyn. Besides the usual clutter of pencils and pens, paint tubes and brushes, drawing paper, and, of course, books, they surround themselves with mementos of their travels: peacock feathers from India, Herero dolls from Botswana, galimoto toys from Namibia and Brazil, brass pots from Egypt, postcards and snapshots.

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