Ann Kirn is a well known author-illustrator of books for children who also taught in the Fine Arts Department at FSU from 1944-1977. She grew up in Montgomery City, Missouri, and studied art at William Woods College, the University of Missouri, the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, the St. Louis School of Fine Arts, and the University of California at Los Angeles and spent a summer painting in Taxco, Mexico. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University. Before becoming a professor of art at FSU, she worked as a fashion illustrator and taught second grade. She has also illustrated and written other books such as Two Pesos for Catalina, Leopard on a String, Nine in a Line, I Spy, Tale of a Crocodile and Beeswax Catches a Thief. In turn, she donated her collection to FSU Special Collections.
While processing the collection of books and working drawings for each book, I came across a few that have become my favorites which I would like to share. They are Bamboo, Nine in a Line, and The Peacock and the Crow.
Bamboo (1966) (Fig. 1) is about a monkey named Bamboo, who loves orange so much that when she spots an orange parasol in a garden, she does whatever she can to attain it. Nine in a Line (1966) (Fig. 2) is based on a very old folk tale about a man named Amin who has to transport the sheik’s new camels. However, he must guard the camels from the Evil One so that all the camels can reach the sheik. The Peacock and the Crow(1969) (Fig. 3) is also based off of an old fairy tale. The fairy tale is based off of how the Peacock and the Crow got their colors. In the story, the Peacock and Crow were invited to Lord Tiger’s wedding and thought that their dull feathers weren’t impressive enough (they were thought to originally have been all-white), so they find some paint for their feathers. With the found paint, the Crow paints the Peacocks feathers beautiful colors of blue and yellow. However, the Peacock, in fear of being outdazzled at the wedding, doesn’t adorn the Crow with the same colors, but instead paints the Crow with black paint. These three books are only just a small part of the collection of children’s books illustrated by Ann Kirn.