Wimmer, Mike 1961-

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Wimmer, Mike 1961-

Personal

Born March 22, 1961, in Muskogee, OK; son of Lester Landon and Gloria Jean Hambrick (a professor) Wimmer; married Sammy Carmelita Mary Batchelor (a homemaker) June 18, 1983; children: Elijah Seth, Lauren Alexandria. Education: University of Oklahoma, B.F.A., 1983. Religion: "Nonaffiliated Christian."

Addresses

Home—Norman, OK. Office—I Do Art, Inc., 3905 Nicole Circle, Norman, OK 73072. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Illustrator, painter, and graphic designer, beginning 1983; clients include American Airlines, Disney, A T & T, Celestial Seasons Teas, Brawny, Procter & Gamble,

Kimberly Clark, and major publishers. Exhibitions: Paintings and murals included in permanent collection at Oklahoma State Capitol.

Awards, Honors

Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction, 1990, for Flight by Robert Burleigh; Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, National Council of Social Studies/Children's Book Council, 1991, for Train Song by Diane Siebert; Oklahoma Book Award for Best Illustrated Children's Book, 1995, for All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan; Spur Award, Western Writers of America, 2003, for Will Rogers by Frank Keating.

Illustrator

C.S. Adler, Split Sisters, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1986.

Pam Conrad, Seven Silly Circles, Harper (New York, NY), 1987.

Pam Conrad, Staying Nine, Harper (New York, NY), 1988.

Doris B. Smith, A Taste of Blackberries, Harper (New York, NY), 1989.

Diane Siebert, Train Song, Harper (New York, NY), 1990.

Robert Burleigh, Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh, Putnam (New York, NY), 1991.

Patricia MacLachlan, All the Places to Love, Harper (New York, NY), 1994.

Robert Burleigh, Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth, Silver Whistle (San Diego, CA), 1998.

George Gershwin, Summertime from Porgy and Bess, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1999.

Frank Keating, Will Rogers: An American Legend, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2002.

Frank Keating, Theodore, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.

Robert Burleigh, Stealing Home, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.

Robert Burleigh, One Giant Leap, Philomel (New York, NY), 2008.

Sidelights

Mike Wimmer is an artist and illustrator whose work brings to life a number of picture-book biographies. Beginning his illustration career in the 1980s, Wimmer found his niche creating art for books such as Diane Siebert's Train Song and Patricia MacLachlan's nostalgic, family-centered All the Places to Love. His more-recent collaboration with author Robert Burleigh has produced profiles of athletes, political figures, and other noted Americans. Reviewing Wimmer's work for MacLachlan's award-winning story, Booklist contributor Stephanie Zvirin wrote that the artist's "radiant, full-page paintings" for All the Places to Love included some images "so realistically detailed [that] they look like color photographs," while in Publishers Weekly a reviewer noted that in the pages of Burleigh's Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh "Wimmer's rich oil paintings … saturate the pages with color and tex-

ture." The artist's "luminous, nostalgic" images for Train Song were also lauded by a Publishers Weekly contributor for their ability to "enable readers to grasp the beauty and power" of the many trains that have become a feature of the American landscape.

Published to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the death of renowned athlete Babe Ruth, Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth pairs a text by Burleigh with Wimmer's detailed paintings. Praising the book's informative text, a Publishers Weekly writer compared Wimmer's "larger-than-life oil portraits" of the beloved baseball player to the illustrations of Norman Rockwell, citing the artist's use of compelling perspective to create "marvels of realism tinged with idealism." While less enthusiastic about Burleigh's text for Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson, Against the Odds, Marilyn Taniguchi wrote in School Library Journal that the picture-book biography benefits from Wimmer's "attractive and well done" double-page oil paintings, which "capture the intense excitement … as the [Baseball] Hall of Famer steals home" during the 1955 World Series. In Booklist GraceAnne A. DeCandido dubbed the artist's "rich, thickly painted close-ups" for Stealing Home "simply gorgeous." One Giant Leap, another project with Burleigh and a companion volume to Flight, commemorates the "one small step for man" taken by U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong on the surface of Earth's moon in 1969.

Collaborating with Frank Keating, the governor of his home state of Oklahoma, Wimmer produced what a Kirkus Reviews writer dubbed an "unabashedly reverent paean" to Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States. In School Library Journal Barbara Auerbach praised the "accomplished paintings" the illustrator created for Theodore, while the Kirkus Reviews critic concluded that Wimmer captures the telling moments in the life of Roosevelt in "gorgeously lit, heroic oils." Another Keating-Wimmer project, Will Rogers: An American Legend, incorporates quotes and anecdotes from the life of a beloved early-twentieth-century humorist with "inarguably beautiful, accomplished, and occasionally witty" images. "Wimmer's oil paintings are striking in terms of their realism and their authenticity with regard to time period," maintained Grace Oliff, the School Library Journal contributor adding that while Keating's text is "confusing and disjointed," Will Rogers is "beautifully illustrated" and "nicely designed."

Wimmer once told SATA: "I have been drawing and painting since age six. Comic-book heroes and sports figures were my main subjects. I was influenced as a boy by reading and admiring the classic boy's adventures such as Robinson Crusoe, Kidnapped, Treasure Island, and Swiss Family Robinson, illustrated by such greats as N.C. Wyeth, Frank Jenny Johnson, Howard Pyle, and the realistic, fully executed stories of Norman Rockwell. I didn't know what an illustrator was, but I did know that someone painted these pictures and that I wanted to be that person. I later became an all-state football player and state body-building champion. I love to paint authentic, historically researched, real-life people and events."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 1994, Stephanie Zvirin, review of All the Places to Love, p. 1810; August, 1998, Helen Rosenberg, review of Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth, p. 2003; August, 1999, Ilene Cooper, review of Summertime: From Porgy and Bess, p. 2060; September 15, 2002, Michael Cart, review of Will Rogers: An American Legend, p. 236; December 15, 2006, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Stealing Home: Jackie Robinson, Against the Odds, p. 49.

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2005, review of Theodore, p. 1276.

Publishers Weekly, August 10, 1990, review of Train Song, p. 443; August 30, 1991, review of Flight: The Journey of Charles Lindbergh, p. 81; July 6, 1998, review of Home Run, p. 61; January 23, 2006, review of Theodore, p. 208; December 11, 2006, review of Stealing Home, p. 69.

School Library Journal, November, 2002, Grace Oliff, review of Will Rogers, p. 145; March, 2006, Barbara Auerbach, review of Theodore, p. 209; January, 2007, Marilyn Taniguchi, review of Stealing Home, p. 114.

ONLINE

Mike Wimmer Home Page,http://www.mikewimmer.com (October 10, 2008).