Author Spotlight: Robert McCloskey

Since I write about children's literature, I perhaps have more picture books lining my bookshelves than most people my age would. I'm especially fond of picture book treasuries which bundle together multiple classic picture books from a particular author or era into one volume. I've collected several such treasuries over the years, but one of my absolute favorites is a collection of Robert McCloskey's books called Make Way for McCloskey, released in 2004.

Until picking up this treasury, I hadn't been too familiar with McCloskey's work. I had heard of and browsed through Make Way for Ducklings, a tale of a family of ducks in Boston which won McCloskey his first Caldecott. The other stories in Make Way for McCloskey were all new to me, though, and encountering them for the first time as an adult rather than a child was an interesting experience. I loved the beautiful, poetic prose of Time of Wonder, a story of a late-summer storm in Maine which became McCloskey's second Caldecott winner. I chuckled at the exploits of Homer Price in "The Doughnuts," an excerpt from McCloskey's chapter book Homer Price. I was amused by the adventure of Burt Dow in McCloskey's final book, Burt Dow, Deep Water-man, and appreciative of the bright, modern style McCloskey employed in his illustrations.

Even though I never encountered McCloskey's books as a child, I still became a fan after reading Make Way for McCloskey. There's something special about his stories and artwork that transcends their intended audience level, allowing them to captivate the imagination of older readers like myself. In my opinion, McCloskey provides the perfect example of how a good book is a good book--regardless of the age for whom it was originally intended.