William Steig (November 14, 1907 – October 3, 2003) was a prolific American cartoonist, sculptor, and, late in life, an illustrator and writer of popular children’s books. Best known for the picture books Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Abel’s Island, and Doctor De Soto, he was also the creator of Shrek!, which inspired the film series of the same name. He was the U.S. nominee for both of the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Awards, as a children’s book illustrator in 1982 and a writer in 1988
Hailed as the “King of Cartoons,” Steig began drawing illustrations and cartoons for The New Yorker in 1930, producing more than 2,600 drawings and 117 covers for the magazine. Steig, later, when he was 61, began writing children’s books. In 1968, he wrote his first children’s book. He excelled here as well, and his third book, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (1969), won the Caldecott Medal. He went on to write more than 30 children’s books, including the Doctor DeSoto series, and he continued to write into his nineties. Among his other well-known works, the picture book Shrek! (1990) formed the basis for the DreamWorks Animation film Shrek.
In 1984, Steig’s film adaptation of Doctor DeSoto directed by Michael Sporn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
Also in 1984, Steig received the CINE Golden Eagle Award in Education. for the film adaptation of this book.