Patrick McDonnell

Patrick McDonnell writes picture books that are truly unique and inspiring. Each one focuses on the animal world, and some have an emphasis on conservation and being good stewards of the earth. Told with charm and illustrated with humorous and adorable drawings, these books are immensely popular and sure to be deemed classics.

Patrick McDonnell Books

me...jane Me…Jane: Inspired by the real Jane Goodall, a noted and accomplished animal activist, this is the story of a young Jane who discovers her love for nature. Along with her special toy chimpanzee, which she’s named Jubilee, she sets off to observe the world around her. She’s full of wide-eyed wonder, and she dreams of a life where she can make a living helping animals and the earth. Of course, one day as an adult, she finds out that all her dreams have come true. Patrick McDonnell took actual anecdotes from Ms. Goodall’s autobiography to create this lively and inspiring tale.
hug time Hug Time: Once upon a time, a kitten named Jules lived who had so much love inside him, he wanted nothing more than to give the entire world a hug! Jules is sure that hugs can make the world a better place to live, and so he creates the “Hug To-Do List.” On it are all the most important people and animals who need hugs. At the top of the list are the endangered species, who need love more than anyone. He travels around the world to be sure these animals know that someone cares. This is one of the best children’s books to teach the importance of taking care of our planet.
wag! Wag!: What does it take to get Earl to wag his tail? Sometimes, it feels like it doesn’t take anything at all! When he sees a bowl of food, he’ll start wagging his tail. A field of flowers? There goes his wagging tail! Long walks, belly rubs – everything seems to do it. But Earl’s best friend knows that all these things actually have one thing in common: love! This is a colorful, playful and energetic tale that pays tribute to the tail of one of the stars of his Mutts comic strip. Pet owners of any stripe will appreciate the details in the illustrations.
the gift of nothing The Gift of Nothing: Mooch the cat wants nothing more than to get a fantastic gift for his good friend Earl the Dog. But it seems that Earl already has everything he could want. What exactly can you get for someone who has it all? Of course, there is only one answer: nothing! As with all Patrick McDonnell books, this tale is told with depth and charm, and it’s much more than initially meets the eye. While it may seem to be about a simple gift, it’s actually a classic tale about friendship. This is a book that will have kid’s giggling along.
just like heaven Just Like Heaven: Mooch the cat is taking a cat nap, and when he wakes up he finds he’s immersed in a deep fog. He looks around and realizes that he must be in heaven. Wow, he thinks, what a great place this is! As he journeys along, he comes face to face with a terrifying dog, and only then does he begin to wonder where he really is and what he should do. The reassuring answers are sweet, funny, and will have kids laughing. This book shares tales of why it’s so important to enjoy every day and the nature and loved ones around us.
south South: A bird awakens one day, only to realize that every one of his friends and family have gone south to wait out the winter. He’s not sure what to do, but luckily he finds an unlikely friendship with Mooch the cat, who helps him to find his own way. Unlike most Patrick McDonnell books, this is completely wordless, but the message gets through loud and clear. In fact, you could say it’s written in the universal language of sharing and comfort. The illustrations in this book are also different for Patrick McDonnell, as they were his first shot at warmer, more elegant brushwork that was inspired by Japanese art.
art Art: Art is made up of much more than many children realize. In this lively book, they’ll learn about splotches, blotches, squiggles, and so much more! The story revolves around Art, who is the perfect guide to the world of art. Through a captivating and dynamic eye, he tells a story that truly celebrates both art and Art. The text is simple, but the illustrations almost dance off the page in their splendor. There’s also a surprising ending thrown in that will prove that the best pieces of art aren’t those hanging in the museum, but are those hanging on mom’s fridge door.

About Patrick McDonnell

Patrick McDonnell was born in New Jersey and went on to attend the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He received a scholarship to attend the school, and graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts in 1978. For several years he worked with much success as a freelance illustrator, but in 1994 he created a comic strip called “Mutts.” It was widely popular, and in fact Charles Schulz (the creator of Peanuts) described it as one of the best comic strips of all time.

He now works on a variety of projects, including the children’s books listed above. He has stated that his goal is to bring the love of animals to children, and if he can show them how wonderful art can be at the same time, then it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Patrick McDonnell books are rich with descriptions and lovely illustrations, but what likely stands out most about them is their emphasis on the animal world. You’ll find that each of his books has animal characters, and many of them show how important it is to respect the other animals on our planet.

He’s won an impressive number of international awards, including the National Cartoonist Society’s Reuben for Cartoonist of the Year (twice), the Max and Moritz Award for Best international Comic Strip, the Adamson Statuette, the Harvey Award for Best Comic Strip (five times), the Ask Trust Genesis Award (twice), the Hollywood Genesis Award for Ongoing Commitment, and the PETA Humanitarian Award.

Children really respond to the books of Patrick McDonnell because they are both simple and complex. The reading level is never over their heads, in fact some are without words at all, and the stories are easy for them to relate to. However, there is also an intriguing underlying message that kids appreciate.

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