Married; wife's name Margit; children: William, Sarah, Christopher.
Illustrator and author. Presenter at schools.
Outstanding Science Trade Book designation, National Science Teachers' Association, 2007, for Barnum Brown.
Barnum Brown: Dinosaur Hunter, Walker (New York, NY), 2006.
(Under pseudonym Quentin) Monster Halloween, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2006.
(Under pseudonym Quentin) Monster Friends, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2008.
Into the Wild: The Life of Naturalist, Explorer William Beebe, Charlesbridge (New York, NY), 2009.
Pat Matuszak, Spiders! ("Bible Critters" series), Zonderkidz (Grand Rapids, MI), 2002.
Pat Matuszak, Bugs! ("Bible Critters" series), Zonderkidz (Grand Rapids, MI), 2002.
Diane Namm, Guess Who?, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Also illustrator of numerous books for educational publishers. Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including Weekly Reader and Ladybug.
David Sheldon gained an early reputation as an artist when, in elementary school, his friends were entertained by his drawings of scary monsters. Eventually turning to illustration as a career, Sheldon spent several years creating artwork for educational materials published by major publishers such as Harcourt, Houghton Mifflin, and Scott-Foresman. With his interest in nature and science, he has also undertaken the role of author with the picture-book biography Barnum Brown: Dinosaur Hunter, while continuing to entertain children with his amusing monster drawings in the books Monster Halloween and Monster Friends, published under his pen name—and middle name—Quentin. Although he sometimes employs the computer in his art, Sheldon is most at home in traditional artistic media, such as water color, acrylics, colored pencil, and pen-and-ink.
The first of a planned series of illustrated biographies about famous naturalists, Barnum Brown focuses on the paleontologist who, in the late 1800s, discovered the fossil remains of T. Rex and founded the fossil collection at New York City's American Museum of Natural History. Sheldon's detailed illustrations, which follow Brown from childhood through his adult explorations, are paired with a clear and simple text "rich in specific detail," according to a Kirkus Reviews writer. Praising Sheldon's "evocative" images, Steven Engelfried concluded in School Library Journal that Barnum Brown is "a fun picture-book biography … with strong child appeal," and Booklist critic Ilene Cooper appreciated the "whimsical touches" that appear in Sheldon's art.
"When creating books for children," Sheldon told SATA, "I try to stay close to the child in me who loves exploring, discovering new things, and sharing those discoveries with others. I fill my books with big, colorful pictures full of life and imagination. It was that sort of illustration that kept me clutching my own favorite books when I was younger.
"In writing books for beginning readers, I bear in my mind the point of view of my reader who might be experiencing interesting words and concepts for the first time. I try to introduce those readers to words in a fun, imaginative way, hoping that this will help them get to know and love words for their own sake, to enjoy how words sound to the ear and how they feel rolling off the tongue, and to appreciate the sheer wonder of how words allow us to communicate ideas and stories.
"For slightly older readers, I try to fashion a story that communicates interesting ideas but is nevertheless manageable for children to read on their own, giving them a sense of pride in reading.
"For me, a truly good story is one that inspires readers of all ages to explore the world he or she lives in and to keep asking questions about it, thereby continuing the thrill of discovery."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, December 1, 2006, Ilene Cooper, review of Barnum Brown: Dinosaur Hunter, p. 62.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 2007, Elizabeth Bush, review of Barnum Brown, p. 309.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2006, review of Barnum Brown, p. 967.
School Library Journal, July, 2004, review of Guess Who?, p. 75; November, 2006, Steven Engelfried, review of Barnum Brown, p. 124.
David Sheldon Home Page,http://www.davidquentinsheldon.com (December 20, 2007).
Herman Agency Web site,http://www.hermanagency.com/ (December 20, 2007), "David Sheldon."