“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 board books about opposites —Yummy Yucky, Big Little, Quiet Loud, and No No Yes Yes —follow 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!”
Leslie Patricelli’s baby board books also include Potty, Tubby, Tickle, Toot, Binky, and Blankie, which play up scenarios near and dear to every toddler’s heart with the artist’s humorous, bold graphic style. 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.”
Baby also stars in a series of holiday board books: Boo! (Halloween); Fa La La (Christmas); and Huggy Kissy (Valentine’s Day); and Hop! Hop! (Easter).
Leslie Patricelli is also the author-illustrator of several other picture books, including
Higher! Higher!, a Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards Honor Book, and the Patterson Puppies series.
She lives in Idaho with her husband, Jason, her two daughters, Tia and Tatum, Leslie’s son, Beck (who is studying jazz in New York City, but still has a bedroom), a dog named Shep, three cats named Oreo, Kiki and Red Devil, and a leopard gecko named Bananaz.