Itahca, N.Y. — Google will show off artwork created by Ithaca College professor Jack Wang based off of “Little House on the Prairie” to millions of people on Saturday.

The day would mark the 148th birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote “Little House on the Prairie.”

The world’s biggest search engine will display Wang’s work, which was created with his brother Holman, on its “Google Doodle.”

“The twin brothers are the authors and illustrators of a board book series called Cozy Classics, which abridges literary classics in 12 child-friendly words and 12 needle-felted illustrations,” IC said in a statement.

“They offer a way for parents to introduce children to great stories and significant works of literature in an age-appropriate manner, without compromising on quality.”

Wang spoke to IC about working with Google.

“We received an e-mail from Google saying they wanted to give us an assignment, but we had to agree to keep it under wraps before they would tell us what it was, so it was something of a mystery at first,” Wang said in a statement.

“It turns out their people had seen one of our books and wanted us to apply our illustrative technique to the author of ‘Little House on the Prairie.’ Naturally, we were both thrilled and honored by the invitation.”

The rest of the press release from IC’s Dave Maley:

The illustration Jack and Holman created features Laura and her sister Mary, both made famous by the series of books — and later the popular television series — about growing up in a pioneer family.

“Google encouraged us to keep the logo colorful, cheerful and legible,” says Jack. “We also discussed concepts with them, and we had room to create, which was nice.”

Jack felted the bodies for both figures, detailed and dressed Mary (on the right in the doodle) and built the model cabin seen in the background. Holman detailed and dressed Laura, completed the rest of the set and took the photo of it that is used for the logo.

The first doodle to serve as a stand-in for the regular Google.com logo was created in 1998 by website founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to let Google’s users know they were out of the office attending the Burning Man Festival. Doodles have subsequently been used to honor and recognize significant people and occasions, from the serious to the whimsical.

Jack Wang is an associate professor in the Department of Writing at Ithaca College. He made the shortlist for the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for “The Night of Broken Glass,” and was selected for the 2014–15 David T. K. Wong Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.

Holman, a former lawyer, is now a full-time children’s book author and illustrator based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the brothers’ hometown.

In addition to creating versions of such literary classics as “Pride and Prejudice, “Moby Dick” and even “War and Peace,” the brothers have branched out to adapt movies as well.

In March, Chronicle Books will publish “Star Wars Epic Yarns,” a trio of books containing classic scenes from the original film “A New Hope” and its sequels “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” all rendered in the felt format.

Jack says it hasn’t quite hit him yet that his work will be seen on the world’s number one most-visited website, but he’s grateful for this opportunity.

“We’re happy to have our 15 minutes — or in this case, 24 hours — of fame. Hopefully it will make more people aware of our ongoing creative work.”


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.