GrandPré, Mary 1954-

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GrandPré, Mary 1954-


Born 1954, in SD; married Kevin Whaley (a designer; divorced); married Tom Casmer (an illustrator and designer); children: Julia. Education: Pomona College, B.A. (fine arts); Minneapolis College of Art and Design, degree.


Home—Sarasota, FL.


Illustrator and graphic designer. Film work includes environment/scenery development for DreamWorks' animated film Antz and character development for Disney's Ice Age.

Awards, Honors

Middle East Book Award, Middle East Outreach Council, 2001, for The House of Wisdom; awards from Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, Graphis, Print, and Art Direction.


(And illustrator, with husband, Tom Casmer) Henry and Pawl and the Round Yellow Ball, Dial (New York, NY), 2005.


Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin, The Snow Storm, Creative Education (Mankato, MN), 1983.

Jennifer Armstrong, Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat, Crown (New York, NY), 1993.

Christopher King, The Vegetables Go to Bed, Crown (New York, NY), 1994.

Domenico Vittorini, The Thread of Life: Twelve Old Italian Tales, new edition, Crown (New York, NY), 1995.

Marguerite W. Davol, Batwings and the Curtain of Night, Orchard (New York, NY), 1997.

Jennifer Armstrong, Pockets, Crown (New York, NY), 1998.

Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland, The House of Wisdom, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 1999.

Rozanne Lanczak Williams, The Purple Snerd, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Deborah Blumenthal, Aunt Claire's Yellow Beehive Hair, Dial (New York, NY), 2001.

Toni Buzzeo, The Sea Chest, Dial (New York, NY), 2002.

Tony Mitton, Plum: Poems, Arthur A. Levine (New York, NY), 2003.

Nancy Willard, Sweep Dreams, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2005.

Phyllis Root, Lucia and the Light, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including Atlantic Monthly, Wall Street Journal, and Time.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Arthur A. Levine (New York, NY), 1998.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Arthur A. Levine (New York, NY), 1999.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Arthur A. Levine (New York, NY), 1999.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Arthur A. Levine (New York, NY), 2000.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Arthur A. Levine (New York, NY), 2003.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Arthur A. Levine (New York, NY), 2005.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Arthur A. Levine (New York, NY), 2007.

GrandPré's illustrations also appear in the Hebrew translations of the series.


Illustrator Mary GrandPré has been drawing for most of her life. From early illustrations of Mickey Mouse when she was five, to mimicking Spanish surrealist Salavador Dali paintings at age ten, GrandPré loved making art, and she developed her unique style while attending college in her twenties. It was around that time that she started thinking about illustration as a career. "I'd always thought of illustration as kind of a boring, commercial thing. I was a fine arts major, so I approached illustration with that attitude. And it came to a point where it really worked for me because I started solving illustration ideas with the natural way that I draw," she explained to John Jarvis in Communication Arts. Along with work in full-length animated films such as the Dreamworks movie Antz, GrandPré has illustrated several children's books. Although she is probably best known for as the illustrator of the U.S. edition of the "Harry Potter" series by British writer J.K. Rowling, GrandPré's illustration projects ranging from bedtime stories to fairy tales.

GrandPré has collaborated with a number of authors in the course of her career as an illustrator. Reviewing the artist's work for Jennifer Armstrong's Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat, Horn Book contributor Nancy Vasilakis wrote that the "strong, almost exaggerated, characterizations" reveal both "humor and fine style." Writing about the same title, a Publishers Weekly contributor maintained that GrandPré's "sumptuous palette of golds, gingers, browns and maroons suffuses the illustrations with warmth, and … create an aura of mystery befitting the [book's] exotic locale." Another Publishers Weekly critic commented on the art in Christopher King's The Vegetables Go to Bed, writing that it "displays her flair for unusual perspectives and lighting." Kathy Broderick, writing in Booklist, commented on the "beautiful new illustrations" GrandPré contributed to a new edition of Domenico Vittorini's The Thread of Life: Twelve Old Italian Tales, while a Publishers Weekly critic commented that the "lush, dramatic pastel drawings" the artist pairs with Marguerite W. Davol's text in Batwings and the Curtain of Night "evoke motion so adroitly."

The House of Wisdom, set in ancient Baghdad and featuring a text by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland, received a Middle East Book Award for its contribution to helping young readers gain an understanding of the Middle East. As Alicia Eames wrote in School Library Journal, GrandPré's "brilliantly hued, detailed pastels capture the grandeur and beauty" of the story's exotic setting. In Rozanne Lanczak Williams' The Purple Snerd, GrandPré creates a strange creature with a curling purple tail; "The book has great visual appeal," wrote Melaine S. Wible in School Library Journal. Barbara Buckley, in a School Library Journal review of Toni Buzzeo's The Sea Chest, wrote that "GrandPré's oil paintings create the dramatic effects of the story." John Peters noted writing in his Booklist review noted of the same title that GrandPré's art "creates luminous New England scenes in rich, warm colors," while in School Library Journal Jane Barrer commented of Nancy Willard's Sweep Dreams that the artist's "oil-wash and colored-pencil artwork is as tender and expressive as the story." GrandPré's "evocative, dimly lit acrylics" for Lucia and the Light "capture the eerie mystery and shivery suspense" of Phyllis Root's story, according to Booklist contributor Gillian Engberg.

GrandPré and her husband, Tom Casmer, are the joint author-illustrators of Henry and Pawl and the Round Yellow Ball. Henry is a young artist who is frustrated because he cannot create "something important." When his dog Pawl loses a beloved yellow ball, Henry creates posters to help them locate it; when a man returns the ball and compliments Henry's posters, the boy realizes that his art has accomplished something. "Smoothly sculpted 3D figures and flat, childlike drawings co-exist harmoniously," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor in reviewing the work, and Joy Fleishhacker noted in

School Library Journal that "Henry's frustrations over his abilities are realistically portrayed, as is the antidote to his problem." GrandPré discussed the husband-and-wife collaboration in an article for the Sarasota Herald Tribune. "Our challenge was for the two of us to blend our styles together," she wrote. "Tom's style is based in line, a strong sense of line work and structure. But it also has kind of a quirkiness and a funky edge to it, and really vibrant color. It's everything that I love in artwork, and it's not like mine; we're kind of opposites in our work, and that's where we had to find how to make those things blend. And we really did."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, November 1, 1995, Kathy Broderick, review of The Thread of Life: Twelve Old Italian Tales, p. 469; August, 1998, John Peters, review of Pockets, p. 2012; September 15, 2002, John Peters, review of The Sea Chest, p. 238; July, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Sweep Dreams, p. 1931; December 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Lucia and the Light, p. 45.

Communication Arts, January-February, 2000, John Jarvis, interview with GrandPré, p. 108.

Detroit Free Press, June 21, 2007, "Potter Artist Mary GrandPré Makes Magic."

Horn Book, May-June, 1993, Nancy Vasilakis, review of Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat, p. 326.

Interview, November, 2000, Steven Heller, "Talk Back," p. 40A.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of Henry and Pawl and the Round Yellow Ball, p. 118; October 15, 2006, review of Lucia and the Light, p. 1079.

Publishers Weekly, March 15, 1993, review of Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat, p. 86; July 12, 1993, "Flying Starts," p. 24; April 11, 1994, review of The Vegetables Go to Bed, p. 63; March 3, 1997, review of Batwings and the Curtain of Night, p. 75; August 23, 1999, review of The House of Wisdom, p. 58; February 17, 2003, review of Plum: Poems, p. 75; November 27, 2006, review of Lucia and the Light, p. 50.

Sarasota, November, 2003, Kay Kipling, "Mary's Magic," p. 72.

Sarasota Herald Tribune (Sarasota, FL), April 2, 2006, Ruth Lando, "Illustrating Harry," p. L96.

School Library Journal, January, 2001, Melaine S. Wible, review of The Purple Snerd, p. 112; July, 2001, Jeanne Clancy Watkins, review of Aunt Claire's Yellow Beehive Hair, p. 72; August, 2002, Barbara Buckley, review of The Sea Chest, p. 147; January, 2003, Alicia Eames, review of The House of Wisdom, p. 83; May, 2003, Grace Oliff, review of Plum, p. 140; May, 2005, Joy Fleishhacker, review of Henry and Pawl and the Round Yellow Ball, p. 78; July, 2005, Jane Barrer, review of Sweep Dreams, p. 84.


Mary GrandPré Home Page, (October 8, 2007).

Scholastic Web site, (October 22, 2007), "Mary GrandPré."

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GrandPré, Mary 1954-

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