Marcia Brown, award-winning book illustrator, dead at 96

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NEW YORK (AP) — Marcia Brown, a celebrated author and illustrator of children's books and three-time Caldecott Medal winner whose work ranged from the bold strokes of "Once a Mouse" to the more abstract and lyrical sketches of "Cinderella," has died.

Brown died April 28 of congestive heart failure at her home in Laguna Hills, California, publisher Simon & Schuster announced Friday. She was 96.

Brown won the Caldecott, the highest honor for children's picture books, for "Cinderella," ''Once a Mouse" and "Shadow." She was a National Book Award nominee in 1983 for "Shadow" and in 1992 received a Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime achievement. She is survived by her editor and longtime companion Janet Loranger.

A native of Rochester, New York, she had dreamed of being an artist since childhood, but decided at first that teaching was a safer choice. She majored in English at the New York State College for Teachers (now the University of Albany) and taught high school English for three years, continuing to paint during the summer. She later studied art at the New School for Social Research and absorbed the narratives of children's books while working at the New York Public Library. Her first book, "The Little Carousel," came out in 1946.

Brown used a wide variety of formats, from pastel to woodcuts, and worked on more than 30 books, many of them published worldwide. Her credits also included "Dick Whittington and His Cat," ''Stone Soup" and "Three Billy Goats Gruff."

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