Writer, illustrator, and commercial artist. Exhibitions: Work exhibited at galleries, including Storyopolis, Los Angeles, CA; and in Tokyo, Japan.
Teacher: A Little Book of Appreciation, Running Press (Philadelphia, PA), 1999.
(With Jane O'Connor) The Perfect Puppy for Me!, Viking (New York, NY), 2003.
Clementine in the City, Viking (New York, NY), 2005.
Leslie Jonath, Makin' Waves: Fun for Kids in the Tub, Chronicle Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Jane O'Connor, Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 2002.
Also illustrator for Fodor "Kids Travel" series, and for books published in Japan.
Jessie Hartland established herself as an innovative children's book creator with her first published illustrated titles, among them Makin' Waves: Fun for Kids in the Tub, written by Leslie Jonath, and Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, authored by Jane O'Connor. With The Perfect Puppy for Me! Hartland took on the dual role of author/illustrator with coauthor O'Connor, while Clementine in the City was her first solo effort.
According to critics, the charm of Hartland's illustrations lies in the fact that she often engages young readers by including captions and other text throughout her artwork. Augusta R. Malvagno, writing in School Library Journal, noted in her review of Henri Matisse that Hartland's use of text in her art creatively encourages an "appreciation of art in children." Likewise, a Publishers Weekly critic commented that The Perfect Puppy for Me! utilizes "engaging puppy portraits" through which to include informative text.
A collaboration between Hartland and O'Connor, The Perfect Puppy for Me! is chock full of puppy tidbits introducing young readers to the characteristics of different canines. The Perfect Puppy for Me! centers on a young dog-lover: a boy who anxiously awaits the new dog he will be receiving as a birthday gift. Before choosing a puppy, the young boy studies the traits of various dogs that are owned by his family and friends, from a Jack Russell terrier and a Newfoundland to a King Charles spaniel. Eventually the boy decides on a "labradoodle," a poodle and Labrador mix. The illustrations contain a wealth of doggy details, observed Linda L. Walkins in School Library Journal, the critic adding that Hartland's artwork consists of "bright and cleverly detailed paintings that successfully reflect the pertinent traits of different canines." Julie Cummins, writing in Booklist, deemed Hartland's illustrations "colorful, freestyle cartoons, including many small spot-art pictures with hand-lettered captions."
Clementine in the City introduces readers to a small-town poodle that moves to New York City in hopes of achieving a more glamorous life. Upon her arrival in New York, Clementine lands a job in the circus as a performing dog and is given three days to prepare for her first act. Within that time, she experiences an array of city delights, including visiting museums, going to plays, and learning about aromatherapy. On the opening day of her show Clementine literally breaks a leg and is sent to the hospital. Fortunately, the pup's luck takes a positive turn when her hospital roommate learns of the poodle's escapades and hires her as a writer for his travel magazine, Go Dog Go. A writer for Kirkus Reviews commented that in Clementine in the City Hartland employs a "breezy writing style" to present her poodle protagonist's "witty look at life in the big city," while Kathleen Simonetta described the narrative in School Library Journal as "fresh." In Booklist, Hazel Rochman noted that Hartland "manages to combine characteristics of both humans and woolly poodles … and kids will love it."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, May 15, 2003, Julie Cummins, review of The Perfect Puppy for Me!, p. 1672; August, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Clementine in the City, p. 2034.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2005, review of Clementine in the City, p. 589.
Publishers Weekly, April 21, 2003, review of The Perfect Puppy for Me!, p. 61.
School Library Journal, July, 2002, Augusta R. Malvagno, review of Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, p. 110; July, 2003, Linda L. Walkins, review of The Perfect Puppy for Me!, p. 103; August, 2005, Kathleen Simonetta, review of Clementine in the City, p. 96.
Jessie Hartland Home Page, http://www.jessiehartland.com (May 4, 2006).