Angie Argabrite
October 06, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

William Steig, who started his career as a cartoonist for the New Yorker in 1930 and segued into children’s literature as a means to pay alimony, died at his home in Boston of undisclosed causes. He was 95.

Well known for his New Yorker cartoons depicting precocious children and their befuddled parents, Steig won great acclaim — and numerous awards — for his children’s literature. His bittersweet ”Sylvester and the Magic Pebble” (1969), in which a young donkey wishes himself changed into a rock and is thus rendered for two years before being transformed back into himself, won the Caldecott Medal.

But children of today are probably most familiar with Steig’s work as the author of ”Shrek!,” the picture book upon which the Academy Award-winning 2001 film was based.

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