David Shannon was born on Oct 5, 1960 in Washington D.C. He grew up Spokane, Washing ton for the majority of his life. Shannon graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California in 1983. After graduation, he moved to New York City and currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife Heidi, daughter Emma, and their dog Fergus. Shannon is an avid baseball and softball fan. He also enjoys fishing and playing guitar. Shannon had always loved art and reading as a young boy. He decided in high school that he wanted to have a career in art. This desire is what led him to the Art Center College in Pasedena. While living in New York City, Shannon worked for The New York Times and Bookreview. Shannon focused his work on political illustrations, while in New York. He was then given several opportunities for book illustrations and this is what launched his children’s book illustrating career (biography.jrank.org).
Shannon began illustrating books before venturing to write his own. Shannon was consistently encouraged to write his own book. After one attempt, about baseball, something that he was very familiar with, How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball was published in 1994. He continued on with several other books and had his greatest success with No David! which was published in 1998. The idea for this book came when Shannon’s mother found a book he wrote when he was five years old and sent it to him. This book was based upon his own life as a five year old. Shannon kept his illustrations as close to his originals as possible. Shannon won the Caldecott Honor award for No David! in 1998 (Wikipedia.org).
His writing comes about through his personal experiences. For example, Good Boy Fergus is about his own West Highland Terrier. He has also included Fergus in ten of his other publications. His 2004 publication of Alice the Fairy, was dedicated to his daughter Emma and wife Heidi. He patterns this book after David from No David!, but this time it’s a little girl being mischievous.
No David! In this book, every page is a delight to look at! Shannon uses paint media to create the illustrations of a five year old. Included are pointed teeth, a triangular nose, and other geometric body parts. The text is written as if a five year old has scrawled on the wall throughout the entire book. The illustrations are vividly depicted and as vibrant as a child’s crayon box! Children are bound to make connections with this book as a day in the life of David makes for some interesting circumstances. Playing ball in the house, taking cookies from the cookie jar, jumping on the bed, picking noses, and running naked are situations that occur in the lives of most young children daily. All the while, moms and dads everywhere follow after David’s mother and tell their children “NO!” Both young and old readers will laugh at and adore the antics of the five year old boy named David.
David Gets in Trouble In this follow-up book after “No David!”, Shannon allows David to do some talking of his own. The illustrations are as imaginative as the first David book! This literature selection explains the mysteries of lost homework, broken windows, missing pieces of cake and dog food, spills, and more as this energetic five year old tries to talk his way out of trouble. The text is again written in five year old handwriting adding charm and likeability to the story. Children of all ages will recall their own experiences to connect with David’s rationalizations for his trouble making actions. Shannon’s touching words of “I love you Mommy” will warm the heart of all those who’ve ever loved a little trouble maker in their lifetime.
The Rain Came Down This lively story begins with rain falling and causing all sorts of problems for the city folk. The illustration images are realistic in nature. From the police car, to the ice cream man and his truck to traffic jam, and the puddles of water splashing everywhere, Shannon executed precise details when illustrating each character and their components. The facial expressions depicted are priceless and will relate to anyone who has been in a knotty situation. The dialogue engages the reader from the opening pages. Readers will want to keep reading because of this dynamic dialogue and winning story line. This story will make children wonder what might happen in their town on a rainy day.
Duck on a Bike Bike riders will appreciate this inventive and imaginative story about a duck taking a boy’s bike and riding it around the farm. The illustrations capture the different animal’s details and strikingly resemble the real things! The predictable nature of the story will capture the reader’s attention and make them crave for more! The painting of the children on their bikes is inexplicably the best portrayal of what kids do on a summer afternoon. This delightful tale will have readers wishing and wondering if animals could really ride bikes! The last page of this book will boost reader’s excitement for a second tale as they see duck looking at a tractor.
Alice the Fairy This whimsical tale about a girl who is a temporary fairy with eyes set on becoming a permanent fairy will definitely put a smile on any readers face. Shannon’s mixed media use of paint and water colors bring the story to life and the images seem to jump off the page. Shannon’s unique cartoon/childlike artistic style depict Alice as an imaginative girl with all the right accessories to practice her magical powers. Shannon’s font style complements the enchanted tale completely. Four year olds around the globe will want to become just like Alice after reading this delectable fairy-like story. Readers will come to love Alice’s playful actions by the end of the tale.
Good Boy, Fergus The mind of a canine is said to be mysterious. Shannon tries to enlighten readers about what happens in a dog’s mind as certain things happen to it. This tale named after and based upon Shannon’s own West Highland Terrier will give readers pleasure and understanding towards the canine species. From Fergus’ white fur to his name plated collar, Shannon’s artistic abilities, once again, are outstanding with his attention to every minute detail. The colors are bold and bright which hold the reader’s attention and excite their minds as to what picture will come next. The typesetting varies from page to page and utterly matches the storyline. Readers will have fun reading this relatable story and think of it next time they encounter a canine.
David Shannon brings out the “inner child” in readers. His childlike/cartoon style illustrations capture his characters personalities extremely well. Not all of his books have this illustration style. For example, Duck on a Bike, How I became a Pirate, A Bad Case of Stripes, and The Rain Came Down have rich, life-like paintings that complement the story impeccably. Shannon’s recurring themes are: childhood, imagination, friends, and experiences that are dear to his heart. He grabs the readers immediately with his charming characters and their tales of wonder.