Born in NJ; married; children: two sons. Education: Rowan University, B.F.A. (illustration), 1996; attended Illustration Academy, 1996; School of Visual Arts, M.F. A., 1999.
Home—West Orange, NJ. E-mail—[email protected]
Illustrator and educator. Freelance illustrator, beginning c. 1998. Member of adjunct faculty teaching drawing at Passaic County Community College and Seton Hall University; lecturer at schools. Also performs as a musician. Exhibitions: Work exhibited at Society of Illustrators annual exhibitions, New York, NY, 1998, 2003; Art Directors Club group shows, New York, NY, 1999; School of Visual Arts Alumni Exhibition, 2003, and Irving Goldman Community Gallery, Jersey City, NJ, 2003.
Christopher Award, Capital Choices award, and Society of School Librarians International Book Awards Honor designation, all 1999, Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book designation, 2000, and several state award nominations, all for Good Luck, Mrs. K.!, by Louise Borden; Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book designation, 2002, for Where The Big Fish Are, by Jonathan London; Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book designation, 2002 and Michigan Reader's Choice Award nomination, 2003, both for The Day Eddie Met the Author, by Borden, Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book designation, 2004, and Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice designation, 2005, both for The A+ Custodian, by Borden.
Louise Bordon, Good Luck, Mrs. K.!, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Jonathan London, Where the Big Fish Are, Candlewick Press (New York, NY), 2001.
Barbara Abercrombie, Bad Dog, Dodger!, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Louise Bordon, The Day Eddie Met the Author, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Louise Bordon, The A+ Custodian, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Susan L. Roth, Hard Hat Area, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2004.
Louise Bordon, The Last Day of School, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Trudy Ludwig, Just Kidding, Tricycle Press (Berkley, CA), 2006.
Louise Bordon, The John Hancock Club, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Verla Kay, Rough, Tough Charley, Tricycle Press (Berkley, CA), 2007.
Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including Cricket, Girl Friends, Good Housekeeping, and Oklahoma Today.
The Last Day of School was released on DVD, 2005.
As he admits on his home page, illustrator Adam Gustavson had his dreams dashed at a young age, and it was this that eventually inspired his career as an artist and illustrator. Although, like many boys his age, he wanted to grow up and become a cowboy, he was plagued by "an acute allergy to horses." Consequently, "I drew lots of cowboys, … which seemed to take a bit of the sting out of my newly discovered career quandary." As time went on, he added other things to his artistic repertoire, and since studying art at several universities, has been able to tackle almost any subject, artistically speaking. Gustavson's illustration projects include several award-winning storybooks written by Louise Bordon, among them Good Luck, Mrs. K.!, The Last Day of School, The A+ Custodian, and The Day Eddie Met the Author.
In Good Luck, Mrs. K.! the narrator is part of a class of third graders who must deal with the departure of a popular teacher when the woman is suddenly stricken with cancer. Noting the emotional nature of Borden's subject, a Publishers Weekly critic added that Gustavson's "slightly somber palette of grays and earth tones sets the mood without dampening the affection" in Borden's "thoughtful" story. In Booklist, Carolyn Phelan maintained that the illustrator's "textured" paintings contribute to a story that "approaches a dark subject with integrity and buoyancy of spirit."
Another third grader is the focus of The Day Eddie Met the Author, while in The A+ Custodian one of Dublin Elementary School's unsung heroes is honored by students through posters, banners, and words of appreciation. Reviewing The Day Eddie Met the Author for School Library Journal, Lee Bock noted that Gustavson's "watercolor illustrations capture the boy's emotions well and offer varied perspectives," while his "realistic" paintings for The A+ Custodian are designed to "keep readers focused on the people rather than the place."
[Image not available for copyright reasons]
In addition to his work with Bordon, Gustavson has also brought to life the stories of other authors. Jonathan London's Where the Big Fish Are, benefits from illustrations in which Gustavson creates what School Library Journal contributor Kay Bowes characterized as the sense of "real adventure" enjoyed by the two main characters as they construct the raft that will allow them to make their fishing dreams come true. In her Booklist review of the same work, GraceAnne A. DeCandido cited the illustrator's "dappled, impressionistic" paintings for their nostalgic "Norman Rockwell glow" and vivid depiction of a Florida mangrove swamp. Gustavson's work for Bad Dog, Dodger!, a story by Barbara Abercrombie about a boy who loves an unruly pup, "lends warmth and depth" to what a Kirkus Reviews writer dubbed "a perfect cautionary tale." School Library Journal reviewer Dorian Chong characterizing the illustrator's portrayal of the titular hound as a "quirky but lovable puppy that dog lovers of all ages will find irresistible." As Carol L. MacKay noted in her School Library Journal review of Trudy Ludwig's Just Kidding, in his gouache and watercolor illustrations, Gustavson shows himself to be "adept at revealing the subtle emotions of his characters." Ludwig's story, which focuses on one boy's efforts to deal with a bullying fellow student, was praised by Booklist contributor Carolyn Phelan as a "realistic portrayal" of a problem common among elementary-grade students that is enriched by "sensitive portrayals of children in realistic settings."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, July, 1999, Carolyn Phelan, review of Good Luck, Mrs. K.!, p. 1942; July, 2001, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Where the Big Fish Are, p. 2020; September 1, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of The A+ Custodian, p. 129; February 1, 2006, Karin Snelson, review of The Last Day of School, p. 53; April 15, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Just Kidding, p. 52.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 2001, review of The Day Eddie Met the Author, p. 298.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of Bad Dog, Dodger!, p. 560; June 15, 2004, review of The A+ Custodian, p. 576; January 1, 2006, review of The Last Day of School, p. 38.
School Library Journal, May, 1999, Jackie Hechtkopf, review of Good Luck, Mrs. K.!, p. 86; May, 2001, Lee Bock, review of The Day Eddie Met the Author, p. 110; August, 2001, Kay Bowes, review of Where The Big Fish Are, p. 156; November, 2002, Dorian Chong, review of Bad Dog, Dodger!, p. 110; March, 2006, Mary Elam, review of The Last Day of School, p. 175; June, 2006, Carol L. MackKay, review of Just Kidding, p. 121.
Adam Gustavson Home Page,http://www.adamgustavson.com (February 7, 2007).
Children's Literature: Meet Authors and Illustrators,http://www.childrenslit.com/ (November 29, 2006), Marilyn Courtot, "Adam Gustavson."