Salerno, Steven

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Salerno, Steven


Male. Education: Parson's School of Design, degree, 1979.


Home and office—New York, NY. E-mail—[email protected].


Children's picture-book illustrator and author. Illustrator for advertising, packaging, and periodicals.


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Awards, Honors

South Dakota Prairie Bud Award, 2003, for Mathematickles!, by Betsy Franco; Parenting Magazine Book of the Year Award, 2006, for Bebé Goes Shopping, by Susan Middleton Elya.



Little Tumbo, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2003.

Coco the Carrot, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2005.

Harry Hungry!, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2008.


Bill Martin, Jr., and Bernard Martin, Chicken Chuck, Winslow Press (Delray Beach, FL), 2000.

Margaret Wise Brown, The Dirty Little Boy, new edition Winslow Press (Delray Beach, FL), 2001.

Betsy Franco, Mathematickles!, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Betsy Franco, Counting Our Way to the 100th Day!, Margaret K. McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Roxanne Orgill, Go-Go Baby!, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2004.

Christine Anderson, Bedtime!, Philomel Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Susan Middleton Elya, Bebé Goes Shopping, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.

Martha Freeman, Mrs. Wow Never Wanted a Cow, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.

Darcy Pattison, 19 Girls—and Me, Philomel Books (New York, NY), 2006.


While enrolled at Parsons School of Design, Steven Salerno studied under such noteworthy figures in children's literature as illustrator and author Maurice Sendak. Graduating from Parsons in 1979, Salerno worked breifly in animation, then launched his illustration career by creating political drawings for the New York Times Op-ed page and other prominent periodicals. His early work was influenced by such graphic artists and illustrators as Honore Daumier, Winsor McKay, and Francisco de Goya. As Salerno evolved as an artist, adopted a more-stylistic approach; his illustration work has since appeared in hundreds of publications as well as part of advertising campaigns and on product packaging. In 2000 he expanded his career, moving into the world of children's literature by creating art for Chicken Chuck, a picture book written by Bernard Martin and Bill Martin, Jr. Noting the artist's stylized approach, School Library Journal revewer Wander Meyers-Hines noted of his more-recent work for Margaret Wise Brown's picture book The Dirty Little Boy that "Salerno's vibrant mixed-media art is great fun" and his "playful use of line and scale" imbues the book with a "retro look." Praising his contributions to Betsy Franco's Counting Our Way to the 100th Day!, Gillian Engberg reflected the view of other critics, writing of Salerno's illustrations that his "stylish, cheerful gouache paintings … extend the … lighthearted moods" created by Franco's upbeat rhyming text.

From children's-book illustrator, Salerno expands his role to author with the picture books Little Tumbo, Coco the Carrot, and Harry Hungry. In Little Tumbo he spins the story of a small, young elephant that hopes to trumpet as loudly as the larger creatures in his herd. While at first a squeak is all he can muster, when the safety of the herd is threatened by mustachioed, rifle-toting hunters, Little Tumbo manages to sound the alarm, his accomplishment brought to life through "candy-colored, gouache-and-watercolor illustrations [that] leap off the page," according to School Library Journal contributor Wendy Woodfill. In Publishers Weekly a reviewer described the story as a "smartly served tale" that is "filled with intrigue, bravery and triumph."

A discontented root vegetable longs for a life beyond the family 'fridge in Coco the Carrot, a picture book in which Salerno takes a "silly plot" and transforms it into "a credible adventure of the imagination" enhanced by energetic gouache and watercolor art, according to School Library Journal reviewer Rebecca Sheridan. In Publishers Weekly a writer described the picture book as a "haute-couture tale drawn in graceful swoops of ink," while Ilene Cooper noted in Booklist that, a "fine

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storyteller," Salerno deftly weaves "messages about following your dreams and being true to yourself" within his "stylish" story.

In an interview for the Harcourt Books Web site, Salerno noted that his varied work as a professional illustrator has inspired creativity in many different ways, although each assignment comes with new constraints. As a children's book author and illustrator, he explained, there is a bonus: greater creative freedom. "I get to develop characters, choose how and where to assist in telling the story with my images, and become ‘director’ of the story," Salerno noted. "Plus," he added, "a picture book has the magical role of introducing children to the world of literature and art at the same time, which is a thrill and honor to be involved with."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, August, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Counting Our Way to the 100th Day!, p. 1947; April 15, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Coco the Carrot, p. 1461; September 15, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Bedtime!, p. 70; February 15, 2006, Ilene Cooper, review of Bebé Goes Shopping, p. 95.

Horn Book, July-August, 2003, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Mathematickles!, p. 472.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2003, Betsy Franco, review of Mathematickles!, p. 803; March 15, 2006, review of Bebé Goes Shopping, p. 289; May 15, 2006, review of 19 Girls—and Me, p. 522.

Publishers Weekly, January 29, 2001, review of The Dirty Little Boy, p. 88; June 16, 2003, review of Mathematickles!, p. 70; October 20, 2003, review of Little Tumbo, p. 52; March 15, 2004, review of Go-Go Baby!, p. 73; March 7, 2005, review of Coco the Carrot, p. 67; February 20, 2006, review of Bebé Goes Shopping, p. 154; July 10, 2006, review of 19 Girls—and Me, p. 81.

School Library Journal, May, 2001, Wanda Meyers-Hines, review of The Dirty Little Boy, p. 110; December, 2003, Wendy Woodfill, review of Little Tumbo, p. 125; July, 2004, Lisa Gangemi Kropp, review of Counting Our Way to the 100th Day!, p. 93; May, 2005, Rebecca Sheridan, review of Coco the Carrot, p. 96; September, 2005, Andrea Tarr, review of Bedtime!, p. 165; May, 2006, Melissa Christy Buron, review of Bebé Goes Shopping, p. 86; June, 2006, Bobbee Pennington, review of Mrs. Wow Never Wanted a Cow, p. 112; July, 2006, Shelley B. Sutherland, review of 19 Girls—and Me, p. 84.


Harcourt Books Web site, (January 4, 2007), "Steven Salerno."

INXArt, (January 4, 2007), "Steven Salerno."

Steven Salerno Home Page, (January 4, 2007).