Animation storyman Phil Eastman (1909-1986) worked for Disney, Warner Bros., UPA, even Terrytoons during his career in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. But his biggest claim to fame has to be the series of Beginner Books he wrote and drew beginning in the late 1950s. Sam and The Firefly, Are You My Mother? A Fish Out of Water, and of course Go, Dog, Go! were certainly on my reading list at age 5. They influenced a lot of folks who later went into animation and comic art. I loved those books and still have my original battered copies.
Now Sue and Tony Eastman (Phil’s son, and one of the best animators in the business himself) have put together a new website dedicated to his father’s books. Tony writes:
Its purpose is to entertain/inform, and at the same time sell books. There really wasn’t a place where you could see all of his books together, plus we thought a short biography (appropriate for children) and a way to get in touch with his family would be useful. I put together the P.D. caricature on the home page from two self portraits he had done.
Unfortunately we couldn’t include The Cat in The Hat Beginner Book Dictionary “by the Cat himself and P. D. Eastman” on the site because the Dr. Seuss Estate (DSE) – as the owner of the copyright in the forward and owner of trademark rights in the character, would not grant permission for inclusion of this book on the website dedicated to the work of P. D. Eastman.
Also, we couldn’t include A Fish Out Of Water because The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego says it is the copyright holder of Helen Palmer Geisel’s 50% interest and insists that the website show them as such, however, my mother and Geisel are listed as the copyright holders on the US Copyright website and on the copyright page of a recently purchased book. We can’t list the Museum without proof of assignment of the copyright to them.
This website is dedicated to P.D. but, since my books (Fred and Ted Go Camping and Fred and Ted Like To Fly) are sequels to Big Dog… Little Dog, we decided to make them available via a “BD… LD” page. Next summer I will have a new book out, and at that time we will launch a site devoted to my books!