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Ellen Raskin Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Figgs & Phantoms (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Westing Game (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Murder for Macaroni and Cheese (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Picture Books

Nothing Ever Happens On My Block (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Spectacles (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ghost in a Four-Room Apartment (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
And It Rained (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
The world's Greatest Freak Show (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Franklin Stein (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Who, Said Sue, Said Whoo? (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Moe Q. McGlutch, He Smoked Too Much. (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Moose, Goose and Little Nobody (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Twenty-two Twenty-three (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon

An impressive writer during her time, the American author Ellen Raskin was a fairly prominent name during the course of her writing career. With an influential and interesting backlog of work, she mostly wrote within the children’s genre, as she made a considerable impact on the art-form and how it was perceived. Releasing posthumous collections of her work in her name, it’s easy to see how important she had become, as her legacy still lives on to this very day.

Early and Personal Life

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the United States, the future children’s novelist Ellen Raskin was born on the 13th of March in 1928. Living till she was fifty-six, she passed away on the 8th of August in 1984, leaving behind a long and illustrious legacy of children’s literature. Creating a number of important and influential works during her time, she would constantly be working on harnessing her passion for literature from a young age.

Growing up within the Great Depression in America, she witnessed a lot during a childhood, much of which would also inform her work. Despite all of this she came through and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison whereby she gained a major in art. All of this helped her to form the basis of her writing career to follow, giving her ideas shape and form in the process.

Working as a graphic-artist for sometime prior to becoming a full-time writer, she was a highly accomplished designer by trade. It was for around fifteen years that she worked in commercial art, along with designing the covers for a number of other books. This would give a unique insight into the publishing industry unlike any other, allowing her to find her own brand and voice.

Marrying Dennis Flanagan, the editor of Scientific American, in 1960, she went on to live a happily married life for some time. It was only 1984 that she unfortunately passed away following a connective-tissue disease, but not before leaving behind an impressive legacy of work. With more and more discovering her work everyday, her books continue to appeal to readers worldwide, something that will continue for some time to come.

Writing Career

Creating and publishing her first book ‘Nothing Ever Happens On My Block’ in 1967, she made her entry on to the literary scene. A children’s book which she illustrated herself, she managed to best utilize all her skills to create a new and interesting piece of work. This was followed up in the same year with the title ‘Silly Songs and Sad’, which was another children’s book illustrated by herself.

Not really creating any series of books outright, Ellen Raskin would deal more with publishing children’s books which she’d illustrate herself. Over the years she also went into publishing Young Adult fiction as well, much of which she’d also treat in a similar manner. Providing her illustrations for a number of other writers too, she was a highly distinctive presence on the literary scene for quite some time.

Winning the ‘Newbery Medal’ in 1979 for her novel ‘The Westing Game’ she would also gain her fair share it awards too. This was later backed up with gaining the ‘Newbery Honor Book’ in 1975 for her children’s mystery novel ‘Figgs and Phantoms’. Gaining critical acclaim for her work, she soon be well on her way towards being respected by both her many peers and contemporaries alike.

Being a highly vocal spokesperson for her craft over the course of her career, she was a very active member of the literary community during her time. This saw her taking her brand worldwide, as readers on an international scale as well as a national one took to her work. With an ability to combine mystery and fun in a children’s novel, she was able to provide her young readers with a rich and intriguing narrative in an accessible manner.

Constantly writing throughout her later life she had a talent that really left its mark upon the literary industry. This is an impact that can still be felt to this very day, as many up-and-coming writers still continue to aspire to her and what she achieved. This appears to be something that is set to continue as her legacy carries on into the foreseeable future, inspiring generations to come.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel)

Initially published in 1971, this was first brought out through the Puffin publishing house to much acclaim at the time. With her fun illustrations that make it entirely idiosyncratic to her, this is a distinctive and entertaining entry from Ellen Raskin. Offering something for both the young and the old, it manages to be cross-generational in its appeal, giving readers of all ages something to enjoy.

Not having seen him since he was five, Mrs. Leon Carillon goes out looking for her husband, despite not knowing where to start or what to expect. That’s when a storm hits her boat knocking it overboard, as she then finds herself asking a series of ever more perplexing questions. Facing a whole host of mysteries, she meets a collection of fantastical and ever more whimsical characters, such as the glub-glubs and a pair of Siamese twins. Will she find him? Where did he go? What happened regarding the mysterious disappearance of Leon?

The Westing Game

First published under the ‘Puffin’ publishing label and later through the ‘Puffin Modern Classics’ publishing house, this was perhaps one of Ellen Raskin’s best known works. With a television movie in 1997 going under the name of ‘Get a Clue’, it was to be a much loved novel of hers. Brought out in 1978 it was a stand-alone title, offering a mystery for both children and young adults alike.

Sixteen people have been chosen seemingly at random to participate in the unveiling of the late Samuel W. Westing’s will. Choosing one of the ‘winners’ to inherit his fortune, this game-playing millionaire has decided to leave his legacy to the one person who can solve the riddle of his death. Whilst he may be dead, that won’t stop the eccentric millionaire from playing one final game before handing his fortune to a complete stranger. Will he find a worthy beneficiary? What is the riddle behind his death? Who will win the Westing Game?

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ellen Raskin

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