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P. D. Eastman
Born Philip Dey Eastman
(1909-11-25)November 25, 1909
Amherst, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died January 7, 1986(1986-01-07) (aged 76)
Cresskill, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Writer, illustrator, storyboard artist
Genre Children's literature
Notable works
Years active 1936–1986
Spouse Mary Louise Whitham

Philip Dey "Phil" Eastman (November 25, 1909 – January 7, 1986) was an American screenwriter, children's author, and illustrator. As an author, he is known primarily as P. D. Eastman.

Early life

Eastman was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to Clarence Willis and Ann Hull (Dey) Eastman. After studying at Phillips Academy Andover and Williston Academy, he graduated from Amherst College in 1933 and later from the National Academy of Design in New York City.


Film and animation

From 1936 to 1941, Eastman worked at Walt Disney Productions in assistant animation, story-sketch, and production design. From 1941 to 1942, he worked in the story department of Leon Schlesinger Productions, Warner Bros.'s cartoon unit, and was a member of Local Number Eight Hundred And Thirty-Nine of Motion Picture Screen Cartoonists, the trade union representing cartoonists in the United States.

In 1942, Eastman was drafted by the Army and assigned to the Signal Corps film unit, which was headed by Theodor Geisel, who later became known as Dr. Seuss. Here, Eastman conducted picture planning for animated sequences in orientation and training films, and he also wrote scripts and drew storyboards for the Private Snafu series for Army-Navy Screen Magazine.

From 1945 to 1952, Eastman worked at United Productions of America (UPA). He was a writer and storyboard artist for the Mr. Magoo series. Eastman and Bill Scott co-wrote the screenplay for the animated comedy Gerald McBoing-Boing, which won an Academy Award for Short Subject, Cartoons, in 1950. Eastman also directed educational films and worked on the Flight Safety series for the United States Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics while at UPA.

Author and illustrator

Eastman was a protégé and colleague of Theodor Geisel by the time that Geisel had begun using the pen name of Dr. Seuss. He wrote many books for children in his own distinct style under the Dr. Seuss brand of Random House, many of which were in the Beginner Books series. His titles include:

  • Are You My Mother? (Beginner Book #18) (written and illustrated by)
  • Go, Dog. Go! (Beginner Book #20)
  • The Best Nest (Beginner Book #51) (written and illustrated by)
  • Flap Your Wings (Early Bird Book, later reissued as Random House Pictureback Book formerly and Beginner Book #88 currently)
  • The Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary (Beginner Book special)
  • What Time Is It? (Bright and Early Board Books) - currently only available as an ebook
  • Sam and the Firefly (Beginner Book #6) (written and illustrated by)
  • Big Dog...Little Dog, 30th anniversary edition with additional story, words and illustrations by Peter Anthony Eastman (Beginner Book #92)
  • Red, Stop! Green, Go! (Bright and Early Playtime Book)
  • Sam and Gus Light Up The Night (Bright and Early Playtime Book)
  • My Nest Is Best (Bright and Early Playtime Book)
  • The Alphabet Book (Random House Pictureback Book, later Bright and Early Book #41 with additional materials by Tony Eastman from the Bright and Early Board Book edition)
  • Are You My Mother? (Bright and Early Board Book, later reissued as Big Bright and Early Board Book)
  • Big Dog...Little Dog: A Bedtime Story (Random House Pictureback Book)
  • Big Dog...Little Dog (Bright and Early Board Book with additional materials by Peter Anthony Eastman)
  • Aaron is a Good Sport (Step into Reading level 1) adapted from Everything Happens to Aaron in the Spring (Take Along Books)
  • Aaron Has a Lazy Day (Step into Reading level 1) adapted from Everything Happens to Aaron in the Summer (Take Along Books)
  • Aaron Loves Apples and Pumpkins (Step into Reading level 1) adapted from Everything Happens to Aaron in the Autumn (Take Along Books)
  • Aaron is Cool (Step into Reading level 1) adapted from Everything Happens to Aaron in the Winter (Take Along Books)

He was the illustrator for:

  • A Fish Out of Water adapted by Helen Palmer Geisel (told in the little boy's own words) (Beginner Book #23)
  • Robert the Rose Horse by Joan Heilbroner (Beginner Book #25)
  • I'll Teach My Dog 100 Words by Michael K. Frith (Bright and Early Book #17, later reissued as Beginner Book in the United Kingdom)
  • Go, Dog. Go!: P.D. Eastman's Book of Things That Go (Bright and Early Board Books, later reissued as Big Bright and Early Board Book)
  • I'll Teach My Dog a Lot of Words by Michael K. Frith (Bright and Early Board Book)

He wrote but Eastman did not illustrate:

  • Snow illustrated by Roy McKie (Beginner Book #27)

His work is included in:

  • The Big Red Book of Beginner Books (I Want to Be Somebody New!: A Sequel to Put Me in the Zoo, Sam and the Firefly, Stop That Ball!, Robert the Rose Horse, The Very Bad Bunny, and The Digging-est Dog (1995, reprinted in 2010)
  • The Big Blue Book of Beginner Books (Put Me in the Zoo, A Fly Went By, Are You My Mother?, Go, Dog. Go!, The Best Nest and It's Not Easy Being a Bunny) (1994, reprinted in 2008)
  • The Big Purple Book of Beginner Books (A Fish Out of Water, Snow, I'll Teach My Dog 100 Words, Flap Your Wings, Big Dog...Little Dog and Fred and Ted Go Camping (2012) (his last work after his death in early 1986)

Other affiliations

Eastman was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Westport Artists, the Screen Cartoonists Guild, and the Audubon Society.


In 1941 Eastman married Mary Louise Whitham of Glendale, California. He had two sons, Alan Eastman and Peter Anthony (Tony) Eastman, an animator, who himself directed video adaptations of Richard Scarry's children's books. Peter has also written and illustrated Fred and Ted Go Camping (2005), Fred and Ted Like to Fly (2007), and Fred and Ted's Road Trip (2011), and contributed new illustrations to several reissues of his father's books, The Alphabet Book (2000), Big Dog... Little Dog (2003), Red Stop! Green Go! (2004), and The Cat in the Hat Beginner Book Dictionary (2007).

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