Alexander Pushkin was one of the great Russian poets. Born in Moscow in 1799, he began writing poetry while still in school and continued to explore its many different forms throughout his career. The novel he wrote in verse, Eugene Onegin, considered his greatest work, is the basis for a world-famous opera, as is his historical drama, Boris Godunov. Pushkin married a beautiful young woman who was greatly admired by many men. Objecting to the attentions paid to his wife by a French admirer, Pushkin challenged the man to a duel in 1837 in which the poet was killed.
Gennady Spirin is one of the foremost illustrators of children’s books and his paintings have won international acclaim. His first book to appear in the United States was Once There Was a Tree (Dial) by Natalia Romanova, a New York Times Notable Book. Mr. Spirins The Fool and the Fish (Dial) retold by Lenny Hort, was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year and his books Boots and the Glass Mountain by Claire Martin and The Frog Princess by J. Patrick Lewis (both Dial) received Gold Medals from the Society of Illustrators. The Children of Lir (Dial) by Sheila MacGill-Callahan, garnered starred reviews from The Horn Book Magazine, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, which noted the effect of his art as one of “abundance, energy, and joy.” Mr. Spirins work has been exhibited throughout the world and many of his paintings are in private collections. He now lives in New Jersey with his wife and their three sons.