Obit of the Day: “Spot’s Dad”
Eric Hill was working on an advertising flyer while his son Christopher looked on. The flyer featured a flap that, when opened, gave the illusion of a man putting on a hat. Christopher was mesmerized and demanded that his father “do it again.”
From that little moment, Mr. Hill decided to make a book filled with flaps to entertain his son. In 1980, the world was introduced to “Spot” in the first-ever “life-the-flap” book, Where’s Spot?. Children were encouraged to look for Spot throughout the book, lifting flaps to find the yellow dog with brown spots.
It was a bestseller in Mr. Hill’s England and then spread rapidly across the globe. When children asked for more Spot adventures, he happily obliged with titles inlcuding Spot Goes to the Farm, Spot’s First Walk, and Spot’s Birthday Party. Mr. Hill expanded the Spot universe in Spot Goes to School introducing readers to Helen (a hippopotamus), Tom (a crocodile), and Steve (a monkey).
Mr. Hill, who received the Order of the British Empire in 2008 for his contributions to children’s literature, had seen his work sell 60 million copies in more than 60 different languages.
Eric Hill, who referred to himself as “Spot’s Dad,” died on June 6, 2014 at the age of 86.
Sources: Telegraph, Guardian, Washington Post, CBC
(Image of Where’s Spot? is copyright of Penguin Books.)
Other relevant posts on Obit of the Day:
Jan Berenstain - Co-creator of The Berenstain Bears
Leo Dillon - Two-time Caldecott winner
Jean George - Author of Julie of the Wolves
E.L. Konigsburg - Author of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Maurice Sendak - Author of Where the Wild Things Are
Simms Taback - Caldecott winner and designer of the Happy Meal