ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Alexandra Day: Writer, Artist, Publisher

Updated on July 1, 2017
"I think that one of the reasons my illustrations have appealed to people is that they can sense my sincerity. I have no trouble at all in believing that dogs can read, stuffed animals come alive, or a bear and an elephant run a business." -- Alexandra Day

The Career: Green Tigers, Blue Lanterns & Laughing Elephants

Alexandra Day and "Carl".
Alexandra Day and "Carl".

Alexandra Day is the pen name of Sandra Darling with contributions by her husband Harold. The Darlings became known as book publishers after founding Green Tiger Press in 1970. The company was noted for its unique marketing of postcards, note cards, bookmarks and more featuring illustrations from the Golden Age of Illustration that ran from roughly the 1880's until the early 1920s in the United States.

Darling worked with her husband Harold as well as other family members to make the company a success and they published their first book in 1972, All Mirrors Are Magic Mirrors by Welleran Poltarnee. With its success, the company flourished and continued to grow. Sandra Darling became adept at design and production and was soon on her way to becoming an illustrator.

In 1983, Darling illustrated her first book as Alexandra Day, The Teddy Bears' Picnic. The book was very successful and encouraged Darling to pursue book illustration further. Around this same time, the Darlings discovered a volume of German picture sheets while visiting Switzerland. One of these featured a poodle playing with a baby that was supposed to be sleeping.

This became the inspiration for the book Good Day, Carl, published in 1985, which would spawn a successful series of books featuring the babysitting canine. Using her own dog as a model, Darling replaced the poodle with a rottweiler. With the success of this book, Sandra Darling, writing and drawing as Alexandra Day, had discovered a new, even more successful career.

Frank and Ernest take on running a diner.
Frank and Ernest take on running a diner.

The Darlings sold Green Tiger Press to Simon & Schuster in the mid-1980s and began concentrating their efforts on packaging books for other publishers. They created a new company, Blue Lantern Studios, and were quite successful in their new endeavor. Meanwhile Darling continued writing and illustrating stories about Carl as well as stories about other characters such as Frank and Ernest, an elephant and a bear who would take care of other people's businesses while they were away.

In 1992 the Darlings returned to their publishing roots, establishing their current company, Laughing Elephant Publishing. As they did in the beginning, they publish many illustrations from their collection of vintage children's books as postcards, note cards and more as well as publishing books that attempt to capture the magic of the Golden Age of Illustration. They have also re-acquired the Green Tiger brand and market it through their new company.

Alexandra Day has used her family's rottweilers as models for Carl.
Alexandra Day has used her family's rottweilers as models for Carl.

The Family: A Wonderful Life of Creativity

Born Sandra Woodward, Darling was fortunate to be raised in a family where creativity was encouraged and artistic endeavors had been pursued for generations. Her grandfather was an architect who had designed many buildings in her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, including the high school she attended. Her father was an artist who was commissioned by Proctor & Gamble and the Ohio River Steamboat Company among others. He also worked as a commercial artist for companies such as the Gibson Card Company.

Family excursions would always include an abundance of art supplies and Darling, along with her two sisters, were always free to use whatever they wished to be as creative as they chose. Imagination was advocated in her household where the works of authors such as L. Frank Baum were read frequently. The Darling girls were also allowed to dress up at will from a collection of costumes and give their creativity free reign.

From her mother, Darling also received the gift of ingenuity. She was taught to cook but also how to adapt a recipe to fit her needs. Sewing became a creative art that allowed Darling to have a wardrobe both stylish and unique while living within a somewhat limited budget. Gardening, canning and more added to the skills Darling has credited with helping her live an orderly and beautiful life.

Carl's performances are very popular.
Carl's performances are very popular.

Darling's father passed away when she was fourteen, to an extent ending the young girl's childhood early. But all the things that had been instilled in her at a younger age stayed with her and fortified her as she stepped up as the eldest daughter to assume many of the responsibilities previously held by her mother who now had to work to support the family. By the time she was ready to attend college, Sandra had become a strong, independent woman ready for the challenges life would bring.

She wished to attend a small liberal arts college and decided on Swarthmore College, a Quaker college outside Philadelphia where old stone buildings are nestled among a bounty of trees and where academia is held above all else. While at first glance the school's steadfast dedication to learning might have seemed a hindrance to a student whose creativity and freedom of expression had been so strongly inspired, Darling found the simple, focused life at Swarthmore ideal and graduated with a degree in English literature, her last two years in the honors program.

After school, Sandra Darling would go on to work at the 92nd Street Young Man's Hebrew Association teaching crafts such as silversmithing which she had mastered as an extracurricular activity at Swarthmore. She also continued her education taking art classes and expanding her knowledge in the field of illustration. It was on a visit to California to look at an art school that she met her future husband Harold.

"Something which needs to be said is that the books of Alexandra Day are often written, sometimes conceived by my husband Harold. When I sign my pen name it is with the understanding that it includes both of our contributions." -- Sandra Darling
Alexandra Day has also illustrated a book written by her daughter Christina.
Alexandra Day has also illustrated a book written by her daughter Christina.

Harold Darling was owner of The Unicorn Cinema and Mithras Bookstore in La Jolla, California. The cinema showed a mixture of foreign, independent, experimental and short films. The bookstore served as the entrance to the small theater and sold new and used books as well as records, art and more, concentrating on the eclectic. The couple married in 1967 and operated the bookstore and cinema for many years.

Harold and Sandra had four children -- Sacheverell (named for the English writer Sacheverell Sitwell), Rabindranath Tagore (named after the Bengali Poet of the same name), Lafcadio Hearn (named after the American writer), and Christina (named after the English poetess Christina Rossetti). As her family grew, so did her career, writing, illustrating and publishing the unique material that would become the foundation of the Darlings future companies.

The Success: Will the Real Carl Please... Sit! Stay!

Certainly Alexandra Day's most famous character is the kid-friendly rottweiler Carl. The popular pooch first appeared in the 1985 children's book Good Dog, Carl and has since appeared in more than a dozen stories. In the original book series, Carl takes care of a little girl named Madeleine, watching over her as the pair experiences adventure after adventure.

Alexandra Day based Carl on her family's pet rottie Toby and took Toby, in the role of Carl, out to meet children after the first book was published. Since then there have been several Carls, each trained to respond to their stage name, Carl, as well as an individual name off-stage. Carl is always a hit with the kids and adults as well, performing tricks and generally soaking up all the petting and snuggling with a smile.

Carl entertains a group of kids.
Carl entertains a group of kids.

Books in the Carl series:

  • Good Dog, Carl
  • Carl Goes Shopping
  • Carl's Christmas
  • Carl's Afternoon in the Park
  • Carl's Masquerade
  • Carl Goes to Daycare
  • Carl Makes a Scrapbook
  • Carl Pops Up
  • Carl's Birthday
  • Carl's Baby Journal
  • Follow Carl!
  • Carl's Sleepy Afternoon
  • Carl's Snowy Afternoon
  • Carl's Summer Vacation

Carl continues to star in new adventures, most recently in Carl and the Baby Duck and Carl and the Puppies. Unlike most of his earlier books that relied mostly on the illustrations to tell the story with only some embellishment from the words, these books are aimed at young readers looking to improve their reading skills with the illustrations embellishing the words instead of the other way around. Carl may no longer be watching over little Madeleine, but his babysitting skills are still put to excellent use as he watches over his animal friends.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      xyz 

      19 months ago

      Plastic surgery is a very beautiful surgery .

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh gosh, the Darlings are so cool! I had not known about Alexandra Day or Carl before. Great Hub!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)