Jessica Spanyol wrote and illustrated her first story, “Carlo the Giraffe Who Could Not Read,” when she was a precocious six and a half years old. As she grew older, her literary ambitions gave way to artistic ones, and she began a career as a fine artist. But the adult Jessica Spanyol, it turned out, could not shake the memory of Carlo the giraffe. So thirty years after its writing, she determined to rework her original story.
As a result, Jessica Spanyol’s Carlo Likes Reading retains a delightfully childlike sensibility, with minor alterations and eye-catching artwork added by author thirty years later. “The character Carlo,” explains the author, “was based on a blow-up toy giraffe, and the name, ‘Carlo,’ my brother’s best friend.” Even Crackers, Carlo’s cat, can be traced back to the Spanyol family pet. In Carlo Likes Reading, Carlo the giraffe reads everything he sees. And because his world is covered in labels, there’s always a lot of reading to do—Carlo reads labels on the street, in the park, at the market, and even on his dad! “There’s plenty here to inspire pointing and identifying action on the part of emerging readers,” assures Publishers Weekly, while Kirkus Reviews notes that “this debut is bright, well-conceived, and infectiously enthusiastic.”
Carlo (and his creator) made such a splash that readers and reviewers clamored for more—and Carlo has since starred in Carlo Likes Counting, Carlo Likes Colors, and Carlo and the Really Nice Librarian. Jessica Spanyol introduced her readers to a new cast of characters in the picture book Go Bugs Go!
Jessica Spanyol studied at the Bath Academy of Art, Brighton Polytechnic, and the Royal College of Art. Since then, in addition to writing the Carlo series, she has worked as a theater set designer, a fine artist, and a tutor of illustration, winning the Folio Society Illustration Award and the Painter-Stainers Award. She lives in England with her family.