Married; children: one. Education: Pacific Northwest College of Art, certificate in art.
Cuffie Award for Promising New Artist, Publishers Weekly.
Candace Fleming, Boxes for Katje, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2003.
Carole Lexa Schaefer, The Biggest Soap, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2004.
Robin Cruise, Little Mamá Forgets, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.
Lee Bennett Hopkins, selector, Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums, Harry Abrams (New York, NY), 2007.
Susan Lowell, Elephant Quilt, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor of illustrations to Ladybug magazine.
Stacey Dressen-McQueen began drawing and painting at an early age, and after graduating with an art degree from Pacific Northwest College of Art the Oregon native sent her illustration portfolio out to children's book publishers. Her break came when an art agent was impressed by the illustrations she contributed to Ladybug magazine and arranged her first picture-book assignment, Candace Fleming's Boxes for Katje.
Boxes for Katje is set in Olst, Holland, and takes place just after World War II. Because of its historical backdrop, Dressen-McQueen spent time doing research from her local library as well as from her own family members of Dutch heritage. She was able to incorporate these factual details into her artwork, which "matter-of-factly presents Katje's poverty and Rosie's relative prosperity while … emphasizing their similarities," according to Horn Book reviewer Jennifer M. Brabander. "In an outstanding debut, Dressen-McQueen immerses readers in post-war Holland, crafting an entirely credible world of cobblestone streets, Dutch architecture and vintage clothing," wrote a critic from Publishers Weekly. Kathleen Odean, reviewing Boxes for Katje for Booklist, concluded that Dressen-McQueen's "lively" images "pack lots of color, pattern, and historical details onto every expansive page." In Kirkus Reviews a contributor maintained that the illustrator's contribution "captures the flavor and essence" of Fleming's story.
Another book featuring Dressen-McQueen's art, Carol Lexa Schaefer's The Biggest Soap, is set on a South Pacific island and follows a young boy as he searches for the biggest piece of soap he can find to give his mother on washing day. The illustrator "playfully captures the people, sights, and sounds" of her tropical setting by using "brilliant colors that leap off the pages," wrote Tracy Bell in School Library Journal. Julie Cummins, writing for Booklist, called the artwork in The Biggest Soap "alive with the sun-drenched colors and patterns of the South Pacific," and a Kirkus Reviews contributor found deemed the story's art "colorful and lush."
Robin Cruise's Little Mamá Forgets takes place in East Los Angeles and is the story of a young Mexican-American girl who helps take care of her grandmother. A Kirkus Reviews contributor described "the brilliant illustrations" created by Dressen-McQueen as "brimming with patterns and colors reminiscent of Mexican folk art," and a Publishers Weekly critic credited the book's art for adding "an extra burst of liveliness" to Cruise's tale. The illustrations "capture the feel and texture of Hispanic culture but never overwhelm the story or the characters," wrote Catherine Callegari in her School Library Journal, and Booklist critic Ilene Cooper dubbed Dressen-McQueen's illustrations "outstanding."
Along with her work in picture books, Dressen-McQueen has also provided illustrations for the poetry anthology Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums, edited by noted anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins. Here she "creates brilliantly colored, crowded spreads that greatly reinforce [the poems], rather than overwhelm" them, according to Booklist critic Gillian Engberg. According to Susan Scheps in School Library Journal, the illustrator's "folk-art-style … successfully captures and reinforces the mood" of Hopkins' collection.
Speaking to Publishers Weekly interviewer Jennifer M. Brown, Dressen-McQueen explained how exciting it was to see her first picture-book illustrations in print. "After dreaming of being able to illustrate a children's book for so long, it has been so satisfying to be part of this creative process," she said. "I love doing a narrative and following a character through a whole story."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklinks, January, 2007, Isabel Schon, review of Little Mamá Forgets, p. 52; March, 2007, Kay Weisman, review of The Biggest Soap, p. 22; September-October, 2007, Lizabeth Deskins and Christina Dorr, review of Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums, p. 57; November, 2007, April Whatley Bedford, review of Boxes for Katje, p. 28.
Booklist, September 1, 2003, Kathleen Odean, review of Boxes for Katje, p. 128; October 1, 2004, Julie Cummins, review of The Biggest Soap, p. 326; January 1, 2006, Ilene Cooper, review of Little Mamá Forgets, p. 92; April 1, 2007, Gillian Engberg, review of Behind the Museum Door, p. 50.
Horn Book, September-October, 2003, Jennifer M. Brabander, review of Boxes for Katje, p. 596.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2003, review of Boxes for Katje, p. 1122; September 1, 2004, review of The Biggest Soap, p. 873; March 1, 2006, review of Little Mamá Forgets, p. 228; March 15, 2007, review of Behind the Museum Door.
Publishers Weekly, August 18, 2003, review of Boxes for Katje, p. 77; December 22, 2003, Jennifer M. Brown, "Flying Starts," p. 28; May 15, 2006, review of Little Mamá Forgets, p. 72.
School Library Journal, September, 2003, Grace Oliff, review of Boxes for Katje, p. 177; September, 2004, Tracy Bell, review of The Biggest Soap, p. 179; September, 2005, Barbara Auerbach, review of Boxes for Katje, p. 59; August, 2006, Catherine Callegari, review of Little Mamá Forgets, p. 78; June, 2007, Susan Scheps, review of Behind the Museum Door, p. 134.
Scholastic Web site,http://www2.scholastic.com/ (July 1, 2007), profile of Dressen-McQueen.