Bill Peet - A Biography
Bill Peet was born in Grandview, Indiana. As a boy, he liked trains and he liked to draw. He liked to draw himself into trouble as well. Bill drew in his textbooks. He was a paperboy when he wasn't drawing or gawking at locomotives. His biggest headline while he was a paperboy was "Lindbergh Flies the Atlantic!"
The summer between grade school and high school was a disaster for him. Bill's father came home from being a road salesman, asking Bill's mom for money. After a fight lasting a few days, his mom finally gave in and gave his dad the money. He then left again to go back on the road. Then, still in the same summer, his grandmother died.
When Bill went to Tech High School, he didn't take any art classes. He also failed every class but Physical Education. He did better when he took an art class. It gave him confidence to do well in other classes. After high school, he went to art school, where he met his future wife Margaret. They have been married for over 50 years.
Bill painted prize winning paintings and portraits. Most of them were very gloomy. One day while visiting friends at the art school, a friend gave him a brochure to apply for a job at Disney Studios. Bill got the job. He started to work there in 1937, and worked his way from being an in-betweener (someone who does the animation that fills in between the main story animation) to someone who does storyboards. He also worked on Song of the South, Peter Pan, Dumbo, and other Disney films. He wasn't that happy working there, and realized he wanted to write and illustrate his own books.
While he was still working for Disney Studios, he drew pictures for stories in his spare time. By the time he left Disney in 1964 he had five books published. His first book was Hubert's Hair-Raising Adventure. It was in print by September, 1959. He has over 30 childrens books published and is among the best writers of storybooks in the country.
From reading about Bill Peet, I learned that even though he had a lot of bad things happen in his childhood, he overcame them and has lived a very good life.