And my very last picture-find was of a paddle boat on the Mississippi River. In the text on the adjoining page, the characters said they couldn't see into the water because it was brown, and then said "Now we know why the Mississippi is also called the Big Muddy." I looked up some reference and colored the illustration as you see it below, which was approved by my editor. When the magazine arrived in the mail, Highlights had recolored the water green (!?!)
Sadly, after this assignment, Highlights changed the way these illustrations are commissioned. Instead of hiring a talented illustrator and agreeing to pay them a fair fee through a contract, they are now requesting that illustrators send them fully formed ideas and then they may select them, or they may not. For me, that qualifies as spec work, so I will not be working for Highlights any more.
It was already a work-for-hire assignment, which is a very low priority me these days, but it was fun being in this historic publication that I used to enjoy when I was a kid. Perhaps someday they'll revert to a more fair contract and I will do some work for them again.