Author Spotlight: Barbara McClintock

When I was a young teenager, I went through a somewhat intense phase of wanting to be an illustrator. I bought fancy pencils and paper to sketch with, experimented with watercolors and colored inks, and even researched art schools with the intention of eventually getting a degree in illustration. I also spent many hours studying the works of my favorite illustrators, such as Tasha Tudor and Elsa Beskow, whom I've talked about before here on the blog. However, I've never really discussed my perhaps favorite illustrator, and the biggest inspiration to my young teen self: Barbara McClintock.

I first discovered the works of Barbara McClintock when I came across a copy of her picture book Dahlia at the local library. An author as well as an illustrator, McClintock had a way with pictures and words that I found absolutely beautiful. I loved her old-fashioned, Victorian-inspired style of illustration, which stood out from the vividly-colored, scribbled-in look of many popular picture books of the time. The story of the book, about a tomboy who learns to love the dainty porcelain doll her grandmother gives her, was interesting and different. I loved the book so much that I eventually bought a copy for myself--even thought I was well past the typical audience for picture books at the time.

After discovering Dahlia, I sought out copies of other books by McClintock. Some of these books were both written and illustrated by McClintock, such as The Fantastic Drawings of Danielle. Others simply featured McClintock's illustrations, such as the gorgeous centennial edition of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm I received one year for Christmas. Most recently I've been captivated by McClintock's Adèle & Simon and Adèle & Simon in America, which follow little brother Simon and big sister Adele as they explore Paris and the United States--and attempt to relocate all of the items Simon loses along the way! According to McClintock's website, a new installment which takes the pair to China is forthcoming, and I eagerly anticipate its release.

If you're a fan of children's book illustrations or are simply looking for a good story to share with your children, I highly recommend that you take a look at the works of Barbara McClintock. Her lovely website has a listing of all the books McClintock has written or illustrated, with links to purchase each from