Married; children: two sons.
Author and illustrator. Has also worked as animator.
Jake Gander, Storyville Detective: The Case of the Greedy Granny, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2002.
The Last Badge, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2005.
Ridin' Dinos with Buck Bronco, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2007.
Night of the Veggie Monster, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2008.
Baron Von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2008.
Dinosaur Woods, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2009.
(With Caroline Egan and Edie Moses) Victoria Saxon, A Bug's Life: Dot's Great Big World, Golden Books (New York, NY), 1998.
(With DiCicco Digital Arts) Sue Kassirer, Where Are the Bugs?, Mouse Works (Burbank, CA), 1998.
Terry Webb Harshman, Does a Sea Cow Say Moo?, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2008.
In 2002, George McClements published his first self-illustrated book for children. In Jake Gander, Storyville Detective: The Case of the Greedy Granny he combines the traditional tale of Little Red Riding Hood with elements of hard-boiled detective fiction. One day, a suspicious Red R. Hood enlists the help of Detective Jake Gander to determine the true identity of the individual posing as her beloved grandmother. During his investigation, Detective Gander examines Granny's eyes, teeth, and ears, trying to determine the true identity of the furry creature. Piece by piece, the detective accumulates evidence against the imposter, building a case to prove that Harry A. Wolf—otherwise known as Big Bad Wolf—has attempted to pose as Granny in hopes of deceiving the little girl. "McClements's hilarious first picture book … earns a distinctive place on the shelf of noir fiction lite," claimed New York Times Book Review writer J. Patrick Lewis. A Publishers Weekly critic also concluded that Jake Gander, Storyville Detective offers a good spin on the genre, writing that "McClements mimes the punchy first-person style of detective fiction" and offers "mild levity in tile collage illustrations." While suggesting the work would be more appropriate for sophisticated readers, Louie Lahana nonetheless predicted in a School Library Journal review that "children will take pleasure in revisiting each illustration and deciphering the cleverly constructed meanings."
McClements gently chides pushy parents and the organizations in which they enroll their children in The Last Badge. Earning nearly every Grizzly Scout badge in existence, Samuel and his father set out to find the reclusive Moon Frog in hopes of being the first to win the badge for locating this reptile. However, after realizing that his discovery of the Moon Frog would likely threaten the creatures' existence, Samuel decides to keep his find private and forgo the prestige of the Moon Frog Badge. "Young audiences and independent readers will glory in the sly humor and punny text," remarked a Kirkus Reviews critic, while a Publishers Weekly contributor concluded of The Last Badge that Samuel's preference of "anonymity and the environment over stardom offers a welcome antidote to celebrity culture."
In Ridin' Dinos with Buck Bronco, "dinos and rodeos saddle up perfectly," according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor. In this self-illustrated book by McClements, a cowboy seeks a few good owners for the dinosaurs that have hatched from special eggs he found. Young readers can learn how to care, ride, and saddle the creatures, through both the words of Buck Bronco and the accompanying illustrations. "Bright, goofy mixed-media collage illustrations … will have dinosaur fans chuckling," remarked School Library Journal reviewer Judith Constantinides, and Booklist critic John Peters noted that "dinophiles and young horse lovers alike will want to book repeat rides."
Night of the Veggie Monster focuses on the struggle many parents have in getting their young children to eat their vegetables during the dinner hour. In the story Mom serves green peas every Tuesday night, despite the fact that these legumes transform her son into a monster at first bite. Teeth gnash, eyes water, and fingers twitch as her son attempts to chew the unpalatable vegetable. When a smashed pea accidentally slides down the youngster's throat, however, he realizes that peas do not really taste all that horrible and returns to his natural form. According to Horn Book contributor Christine M. Heppermann, McClements's "collage cartoon illustrations [for Night of the Veggie Monster] heighten the comedy with their droll depictions of the melodramatic eater."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, May 15, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Last Badge, p. 1666; October 15, 2007, John Peters, review of Ridin' Dinos with Buck Bronco, p. 53.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 2005, review of The Last Badge, p. 501; January, 2008, Deborah Stevenson, review of Night of the Veggie Monster, p. 220.
Horn Book, March-April, 2008, Christine M. Heppermann, review of Night of the Veggie Monster, p. 208.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2002, review of Jake Gander, Storyville Detective: The Case of the Greedy Granny, p. 736; May 15, 2005, review of The Last Badge, p. 593; August 1, 2007, review of Ridin' Dinos with Buck Bronco; December 1, 2007, review of Night of the Veggie Monster; July 1, 2008, review of Baron Von Baddie and the Ice Ray Incident.
New York Times Book Review, October 20, 2002, J. Patrick Lewis, review of Jake Gander, Storyville Detective, p. 23.
Publishers Weekly, June 10, 2002, review of Jake Gander, Storyville Detective, p. 59; September 19, 2005, review of The Last Badge, p. 65; September 24, 2007, review of Ridin' Dinos with Buck Bronco, p. 70.
School Library Journal, September, 2002, Louie Lahana, review of Jake Gander, Storyville Detective, p. 201; July, 2005, Lisa Gangemi Kropp, review of The Last Badge, p. 78; September, 2007, Judith Constantinides, review of Ridin' Dinos with Buck Bronco, p. 170; February, 2008, Linda Ludke, review of Night of the Veggie Monster, p. 92.