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Cassels, Jean

Cassels, Jean


Personal


Female. Children: Michael, John. Education: Attended Eastern Michigan University and School of the Art Institute of Chicago; University of Illinois, B.A. (studio arts); attended Auseklis Ozols (master classes in figure drawing).

Addresses


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Henry Holt & Company, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Career


Children's book illustrator, 1969—. New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts, New Orleans, LA, instructor, 1994-99. Exhibitions: Works included in exhibitions at Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs, MS; Hanson Gallery, New Orleans, LA, 1999; New Orleans Academy (group show), 2001; Southeastern Louisiana University, 2002; Duque Art Center, New Orleans, 2004; and New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts.

Awards, Honors


Giverny Award, Louisiana State University, 2004; for Lonesome George, the Giant Tortoise by Francine Jacobs; Golden Kite Award, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, 2004, for The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson.

Writings


SELF-ILLUSTRATED


The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson, Walker & Company (New York, NY), 2004.

ILLUSTRATOR


Tanner Ottley Gay, Sharks in Action, Aladdin Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Tanner Ottley Gay, Dinosaurs and Their Relatives in Action, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1990.

Tanner Ottley Gay, Snakes and Other Reptiles in Action, Aladdin Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Lynn Wilson, Baby Whale, Platt & Munk (New York, NY), 1991.

Tanner Ottley Gay, Whales and Dolphins in Action, Aladdin Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Bernice Rappoport, Baby Animals, World Book (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Caroline Arnold, Prairie Dogs, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1993.

Marianne Borgardt, Volcanoes and Earthquakes in Action, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1993.

Walter Retan, Armies of Ants, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1994.

Barbara Juster Esbensen, Swift as the Wind: The Cheetah, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Cathy East Dubowski, Skin Crawlers, Random House (New York, NY), 1996.

Paul Fleisher, Oak Tree, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Paul Fleisher, Saguaro Cactus, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Paul Fleisher, Tide Pool, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Monica Kulling, Bears: Life in the Wild, Golden Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Paul Fleisher, Salt Marsh, Benchmark Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Fay Robinson, Fantastic Frogs, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Fay Robinson, Creepy Beetles, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Kris Hirschmann, Glow-in-the-Dark Animals, Troll Communications (Mahwah, NJ), 2000.

Patricia Hubbell, Earthmates: Poems, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2000.

Karen Shapiro, Butterflies, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Fay Robinson, Cool Chameleons, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Jennifer Dewey, Once I Knew a Spider, Walker & Company (New York, NY), 2002.

Francine Jacobs, Lonesome George, the Giant Tortoise, Walker & Company (New York, NY), 2003.

Ann Purmell, Giraffes, Random House (New York, NY), 2003.

Margery Cuyler, Groundhog Stays up Late, Walker & Company (New York, NY), 2005.

Marilyn Singer, Cats to the Rescue, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2006.

Sidelights


Jean Cassels began her career in illustration in 1969 by contributing art to biology textbooks. It was the perfect pairing between illustrator and topic: Cassels' affection

for the natural world had developed at an early age. Unable to have her own horse while growing up, she focused instead on drawing horses and eventually expanded her subject matter to include the other animals living near her home: frogs, snakes, moths, fish, and even screech owls. On Cassels' home page she noted that she "has always been curious how nature works, how critters live their lives and how things are put together."

As an illustrator Cassels has contributed art to over fifty children's titles, including Once I Knew a Spider, Fantastic Frogs, and Earthmates: Poems. Her illustrations have been distinguished by critics for their precise details and for their elegant technique. As a Horn Book reviewer commented, Cassels' illustrations for Swift as the Wind: The Cheetah "clearly depict the creature's habitat and are faithful not only to the cheetah's anatomy but to that of its victims as well." Likewise, in Publishers Weekly a contributor wrote that "the muted tones of Cassels's austere interiors and the detailed paintings of the spider's behavior complement the calm, contemplative tone of the journal-like text" found in Once I Knew a Spider.

In addition to illustrating numerous children's nonfiction titles, Cassels has also written the self-illustrated children's book The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson. A picture book that focuses on an unsolved mystery, The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson presents clues as to the whereabouts of a celebrated portrait painter. As depicted in the authors' gouache paintings, Cassels features famous characters from classic fairy-tale rhymes and stories, such as the Itsy Bitsy Spider, the Frog Prince, and Baa Baa Black Sheep. A reviewer for Children's Bookwatch regarded The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson as "an amusing mystery picturebook," while a Publishers Weekly contributor predicted that "readers will appreciate the keen visual detail of Cassels's upper-crusty gouaches, the wry inside jokes and the thoughtfulness of the familiar menagerie."

Biographical and Critical Sources


PERIODICALS


Booklist, March 15, 1996, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of Swift as the Wind: The Cheetah, p. 1266; March 15, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of Earthmates: Poems, p. 1383; February 15, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of Fantastic Frogs, p. 1143; November 1, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson, p. 498.

Children's Bookwatch, April, 2005, review of The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson.

Horn Book, July-August, 1996, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of Swift as the Wind, p. 479.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2002, review of Once I Knew a Spider, p. 652; September 1, 2004, review of The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson, p. 862.

Publishers Weekly, October 26, 1990, review of Sharks in Action, p. 68; April 8, 2002, review of Once I Knew a Spider, p. 227; October 11, 2004, review of The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson, p. 79.

School Library Journal, October, 2002, Louise L. Sherman, review of Once I Knew a Spider, p. 100; December, 2004, Caroline Ward, review of The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson, p. 105.

ONLINE


Jean Cassels Home Page,http://www.jean-cassels.com (September 11, 2006).

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