Gene [Eugene] Zion was born October 5, 1913 in New York, New York. He graduated from the Pratt Institute and worked for Esquire Publications and CBS, and worked as a free lance writer and designer from 1949 to 1975.
Gene served during World War II in the Antiaricraft Artillery Visual Training Aids Section, designing training manuals and filmstrips from 1942-44. He published his first book, All Falling Down, which was a runner up for the Caldecott Medal in 1951. His wife Margaret Bloy Graham (whom he married 1948, and later divorced in 1968) illustrated the book. The two collaborated on many works, including the popular "Harry the dog" books beginning with Harry the Dirty Dog in 1956. Critics praised Gene Zion's "charming" texts and his unique talent for envisioning the "story through the eyes of a child." Gene Zion's depiction of Harry's personality was also noted by critics who called Harry "a timeless personality inviting warmth, involvement and understanding." Gene Zion's stories and characters dealt with some of the "universal" problems children encounter and readers emphasized with the characters' plights. His books were also notable for their zany humor especially The Plant Sitter (1959), whose plot critics called a "happy blend of unanswerable logic and wild improbability."
Gene Zion died on December 5, 1975.
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