This six-volume biographical directory includes 800 sketches of well-known authors and illustrators of children's books. They range from Kenneth Grahame and Wanda Gag to Graeme Base and the Babysitter's Club's Ann Martin. The individual selections have been adapted from Gale's "Something about the Author" ("SATA") and feature separate sections on personal data, career summaries, awards and honors, writings, adaptions in other media, works in progress, and additional information sources. An important feature is the "Sidelights" section, which provides a critical narrative on the individual's life and career. Entries have not been just reprinted from "SATA" but have been updated when appropriate, and the "Sidelights" essays have been rewritten. Entries are arranged in alphabetical order and include current black-and-white photographs of the subjects. Some entries include sample illustrations, book jackets, or movie stills. However, there are fewer illustrations than in the parent set, and they are often smaller
Authors were chosen for inclusion through a selection process that surveyed 1,500 school and public librarians. The responses were then reviewed by an advisory board of six professionals currently active in children's library services. The authors and illustrators included cover the spectrum of children's literature, including all genres in levels from preschool through young adult
Wilson's Junior Authors and Illustrators series is now in six volumes and covers more than 1,500 people. There is a considerable amount of overlap in the people covered with the Gale set. However, "Major Authors and Illustrators" includes more nineteenth-century authors, such as Louisa May Alcott and J. M. Barrie. Its entries are longer and have more illustrations
"Major Authors and Illustrators" will be helpful to students doing reports. The format is easily accessible, and the vocabulary level is suitable for upper-elementary grades. Students will especially respond to the personal insights and reminiscences included in the "Sidelights" sections. Libraries that serve student populations and that do not have a standing order for "Something about the Author" (now in 70 volumes) or its companion "Authors and Artists for Young Adults" (now in 9 volumes) should consider purchase.