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Ruth Heller, called a "'superstar"' of children's literature by San Francisco Magazine, wrote and illustrated a total of 23 fiction and non-fiction children's books by her death in 2004. A graduate of U.C. Berkeley with a degree in fine arts, she lived in San Francisco and raised two sons before venturing into fields of freelance design and commercial art. After refining her skills at Yaddo, an artists' colony in upstate New York, her writing career was launched in 1981 with the publication of Chickens Aren't the Only Ones. Throughout her life, she was a frequent guest speaker at schools and libraries, where she loved teaching children about grammar and nature and entertaining them with her detailed, colorful drawings and delightful word play.