Solomon, Heather M.
Solomon, Heather M.
Home—Albuquerque, NM. Agent—Meryl Jones, Craven Designs, 1202 Lexington Ave., Box 242, New York, NY 10028.
Illustrator. Exhibitions: Work included in Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, and exhibited at Albuquerque Children's Museum, Albuquerque, NM.
Horn Book Honor designation, and Charlotte Zolotow Award, both 2002, both for Clever Beatrice by Margaret Willey.
Margaret Willey, Clever Beatrice: An Upper Peninsula Conte, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2001.
Margaret Willey, Clever Beatrice and the Best Little Pony, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2004.
Sarah Weeks, If I Were a Lion, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2004.
Janice M. Del Negro, reteller, Willa and the Wind, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2005.
Kate Coombs, The Secret-Keeper, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2006.
Margaret Willey, A Clever Beatrice Christmas, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2006.
Margaret Willey, Three Bears and Goldilocks, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2008.
Although Heather M. Solomon focused much of her college study on molecular biology, her love of art eventually won out. Doing the extra coursework necessary to achieve a double major, she ultimately pursued the illustration career that has rewarded her with both critical acclaim and several rewards for her work. Describing Solomon's multi-media art, Carolyn Phelan wrote in her Booklist review of A Clever Beatrice Christmas that the artist incorporates "acrylic and oil painting with fluid watercolors and collage elements," injecting "unexpected textures" into her "appealing" art.
Solomon's first illustration project was creating art for Margaret Willey's Clever Beatrice: An Upper Peninsula Conte. Based on a folktale hailing from the Frenchtrapper culture of northern Michigan, the tale focuses on a quick-thinking young girl who, to help her poor family, outsmarts a giant and acquires his stores of gold. Willey's spunky and clever heroine returns in Clever Beatrice and the Best Little Pony and A Clever Beatrice Christmas, both which feature Solomon's watercolor and collage art. Praising Solomon's "impressive debut," a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the detailed art in Clever Beatrice brings to life "a world in which realism blends with fantasy images to magical effect." In Horn Book, Martha V. Parravano wrote that the book's "remarkable" illustrations "have unusual texture and depth," and bring to life Willey's colorful characters. In portraying the French-Canadian holiday traditions at the heart of A Clever Beatrice Christmas, Solomon creates "homey, convivial illustrations" that feature highlights of rich reds and purples, Parravano noted, while in Clever Beatrice and the Best Little Pony Solomon's "art is as vivid as ever."
Other books featuring artwork by Solomon include the award-winning picture book If I Were a Lion, featuring a rhyming text by Sarah Weeks. In this gently amusing story, in which a toddler sitting in a time-out-chair imagines the bad behavior of a menagerie of wild creatures, Solomon creates what a Publishers Weekly critic described as "trippy, beguiling" collages done in shades of aqua, pink, and light purple, in which "bold gouaches incorporate computer-altered snips of animal fur and scales." The art features "meticulous precision and ratchets up the sense of chaos with dizzying perspectives," according to Booklist critic Jennifer Mattson, while Laurie Edwards wrote in School Library Journal that Solomon reflects the humor in Weeks's text by creating a "cartoonlike" child character with "oversized features" and setting her within a background rendered "with a painterly touch just shy of realistic."
Willa and the Wind, Janice M. Del Negro's retelling of a story about a blustery old North Wind who helps a young girl keep her magic gifts from an unscrupulous innkeeper, features what School Library Journal contributor Kathie Meizner described as "big-boned, bigeyed elongated" characters imbued by Solomon with "a delicious energy" that is in keeping with the animated story. The artist's work in bringing to life Kate Coombs' The Secret-Keeper, a magical tale about a woman who carries the burden of many secrets, "is buoyed by Solomon's gorgeous illustrations," according to Booklist contributor Abby Nolan. Praising the artwork as "an intriguing blend of paint and collage that exude[s] texture and depth," Kristen Cutler deemed The Secret-Keeper "an uplifting modern fairy tale" in her School Library Journal review.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, March 15, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of If I Were a Lion, p. 1311; September 1, 2005, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Willa and the Wind, p. 143; June 1, 2006, Abby Nolan, review of The Secret-Keeper, p. 80; October 15, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of A Clever Beatrice Christmas, p. 55.
Horn Book, November-December, 2001, Martha V. Parravano, review of Clever Beatrice: An Upper Peninsula Conte, p. 763; September-October, 2004, Martha V. Parravano, review of Clever Beatrice and the Best Little Pony, p. 577; November-December, 2006, Martha V. Parravano, review of A Clever Beatrice Christmas, p. 694.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2001, review of Clever Beatrice, p. 1303; February 1, 2004, review of If I Were a Lion, p. 139; August 1, 2004, review of Clever Beatrice and the Best Little Pony, p. 750; August 15, 2005, review of Willa and the Wind, p. 912; June 1, 2006, review of The Secret-Keeper, p. 570; November 1, 2006, review of A Clever Beatrice Christmas, p. 1135.
Publishers Weekly, July 30, 2001, review of Clever Beatrice, p. 84; December 24, 2001, Shannon Maughan, "Flying Starts," p. 30; February 9, 2004, review of If I Were a Lion, p. 79; November 7, 2005, review of Willa and the Wind, p. 73; July 10, 2006, review of The Secret-Keeper, p. 81.
School Library Journal, April, 2004, Laurie Edwards, review of If I Were a Lion, p. 126; November, 2004, Linda M. Kenton, review of Clever Beatrice and the Best Little Pony, p. 132; December, 2005, Kathie Meizner, review of Willa and the Wind, p. 110; July, 2006, Kirsten Cutler, review of The Secret-Keeper, p. 70; October, 2006, Lisa Falk, review of A Clever Beatrice Christmas, p. 101.
Directory of Illustration Web site,http://www.directoryofillustration.com/ (March 28, 2008), "Heather Solomon."