"My Grandma was a pastel artist and, for as long as I can remember, an artist is what I wanted to be too," says children's author and illustrator Leslie Patricelli. "My hobby as a kid was drawing cartoons and writing stories, and I started to consider a career in art in seventh grade. When the multiple choice career test I took resulted in a recommendation that I pursue a career in forestry, I went back and changed all my answers, so that it recommended instead that I pursue graphic design since they didn't have children's book writer or cartoonist on the list."
Today, Leslie Patricelli's legions of fans are evidence that career tests are not always reliable. Her colorful trio of board books about opposites -- YUMMY YUCKY, BIG LITTLE, and QUIET LOUD -- follows a diapered protagonist as he discovers some curious contradictions, such as "ladies are big" while "ladybugs are little." Her inspiration for the series came from her son Beck who, at one year old, "was constantly putting everything into his mouth." Says the author, "I found myself saying 'Yummy!' and 'Yucky!' all the time. I began to draw a baby dramatically expressing his taste or distaste for the things he was eating. The idea of YUMMY YUCKY was born!"
BINKY and BLANKIE, a colorful board book duo, play up two scenarios near and dear to every toddler's heart with the artist's humorous, bold graphic style. "I call BINKY and BLANKIE the attachment series," says Leslie Patricelli, laughing. Here again, the author/illustrator drew on her parenting experiences. "During our years of early child-rearing, my husband and I have spent countless frantic hours looking for Binky. Usually the search is tense, as it typically begins when our toddler wants her binky NOW! I found myself thinking how funny it must look to our kids to see us on our hands and knees, digging around the house. As for BLANKIE, this book was created as an ode to that beloved item."
Leslie Patricelli's beloved baby character graduated to star in his first full-length picture book, THE BIRTHDAY BOX. Also inspired by Leslie Patricelli's parenting experiences she notes "I’ve watched my kids transform boxes into cars, boats, spaceships, hospital beds, dog carriers, snake houses, bass drums, forts, airplanes, sleds, and yes, even a robot."
Her book HIGHER! HIGHER! was selected as a Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards Honor Book. She is now working on a series about a family of puppies called THE PATTERSON PUPPIES.
Leslie Patricelli lives in Idaho with her husband, three children, cats Sassy and Elvin, and rabbits Olivia and Chewy.