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BGHB at 50: Cold Feet by Cynthia DeFelice, illus. by Robert Andrew Parker

As a 2001 Boston Globe-Horn Book judge, I had the pleasure of honoring Cynthia DeFelice and Robert Andrew Parker for their picture book Cold Feet, a deliciously creepy retelling of a Scottish ghost story. I liked everything about the book, but here I want to give a tip of my hat to Parker, who I have long felt is one of our finest and most underappreciated illustrators. During a career that is now in its seventh decade, Parker has been a painter, New Yorker illustrator, and picture book artist, and has somehow always flown a little bit under the radar. (Ironically, one of the first children’s books he illustrated was Melvin B. Zisfein’s Flight, a deeply researched history of aviation.) Parker’s drawings have a freedom of line and spirit, and a dead-on inevitability, that I associate with Edward Ardizzone and only a very few other illustrators of our time. There’s more art — and life — in a Parker drawing than in a lot of the shinier objects coming down the pike, often taking the big prizes as they go. I invite readers to take a “second look” at the art of Robert Andrew Parker.

In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, established in 1967, we will be publishing a series of appreciations of BGHB winners and honorees from the past. Further installments will appear in the Magazine and on throughout 2017.


Leonard S. Marcus About Leonard S. Marcus

Leonard S. Marcus’s forthcoming books include Helen Oxenbury: A Life in Illustration (Candlewick) and, as editor, The Kairos Novels (Library of America) by Madeleine L’Engle. His exhibition Garth Williams: Illustrator of the Century opens at the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine, on May 1, 2018.



  1. Love this book! I used to read it aloud to some classes when I was a school librarian. My students thought it was “deliciously creepy” too.

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