James Stevenson (illustrator)

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James Stevenson
Born James Stevenson
(1929-07-11) July 11, 1929 (age 86)
New York City, New York
United States
Nationality American
Education Yale University
Hackley School
Occupation Cartoonist, illustrator, writer
Employer The New Yorker (1956-present)
Spouse(s) Josephine Merck (1993-present)
Jane Walker
Children Jams, Harvey
Parent(s) Harvey Stevenson
Winifred (Worcester) Stevenson

James Stevenson is an American illustrator and author of over 100 children's books. His cartoons appear regularly in The New Yorker magazine.[1] He usually uses a unique comic book style of illustration that is very recognizable. His books, like What's Under My Bed, have been featured on the Reading Rainbow television series. In 1987 Stevenson won the Caldecott Honor for his book "When I Was Nine".


James Stevenson was born in New York City and educated at Yale University, where he was the feature editor of campus humor magazine The Yale Record.[2]

He contributed his first cartoon to The New Yorker on March 10, 1956.[3]

James Stevenson wrote and illustrated his first book Walker, the Witch, and the Striped Flying Saucer in 1969. He had previously illustrated the children's book If I Owned a Candy Factory (1968) written by his then eight-year-old son, James Walker Stevenson.


  • Monty (1979) - School Library Journal's "Best Books for Spring"
  • Fast Friends: Two Stories (1979) - ALA's Notable Book designation
  • Howard (1980) - New York Times' "Best Illustrated Book" and New York Times' "Outstanding Book"
  • That Terrible Halloween Night (1980) - ALA's Notable Book designation and Children's Choice Award (International Reading Association)
  • The Wish Card Ran Out! (1981) - School Library Journal's Best Books of 1981
  • The Night after Christmas (1982) - Children's Choice Award (International Reading Association) and Boston Globe/Horn Book honor list
  • What's Under My Bed? (1983) - Boston Globe/Horn Book's honor list, ALA's Notable Book designation, and School Library Journal's Best Books of 1983
  • When I Was Nine (1986) - An 1987 Caldecott Honor Book
  • Higher on the Door (1987) - Parents' Choice designation and Redbook award
  • Georgia Music (1987) - Boston Globe/Horn Book honor list
  • Granddaddy's Place (1987) - Parents' Choice Picture Book award
  • The Supreme Souvenir Factory (1989) - Children's Choice Award (International Reading Association)
  • Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble (1990) - Garden State Children's Book Award
  • Oh No, It's Waylon's Birthday! (1990) - Children's Choice Award (International Reading Association)
  • Something Big Has Been Here (1992) - Kentucky Bluegrass Award
  • Don't You Know There's a War On? (1992) - Parents' Choice Picture Book award

Select bibliography[edit]

Children's books[edit]

  • Walker, the Witch, and the Striped Flying Saucer
  • If I Owned a Candy Factory
  • Just Around the Corner
  • Lost and Found New York: Oddballs, Heroes, Heartbreakers, Scoundrels, Thugs, Mayors, and Mysteries
  • Rolling Rose
  • Here Comes Herb's Hurricane (1973)
  • That's Exactly the Way It Wasn't
  • Monty
  • No Need for Monty
  • Howard
  • The Most Amazing Dinosaur
  • Clams Can't Sing (1980)
  • A Village Full of Valentines (1995)
  • The Castaway (2002)

Grandpa, Mary Ann and Louie series[edit]

A series of tales told by a grandfather character to his grandchildren. Usually containing outrageous and unbelievable tales:

  1. Could Be Worse! (1977)
  2. That Terrible Halloween Night (1980)
  3. We Can't Sleep (1982)
  4. The Great Big Especially Beautiful Easter Egg (1983)
  5. Grandpa's Great City Tour: An Alphabet Book (1982)
  6. What's Under My Bed? (1983)
  7. Worse Than Willy (1984)
  8. That Dreadful Day (1985)
  9. There's Nothing to Do (1986)
  10. No Friends (1986)
  11. Will You Please Feed Our Cat? (1987)
  12. We Hate Rain! (1988)
  13. Grandpa's Too-Good Garden (1989)
  14. Brrr (1991)
  15. That's Exactly the Way It Wasn't (1991)

Emma series[edit]

Featuring Emma, a good witch, and her nemeses Dolores and Lavinia:

  1. Yuck! (1984)
  2. Emma (1985)
  3. Fried Feathers for Thanksgiving
  4. Happy Valentine's Day, Emma! (1987)
  5. Un-Happy New Year, Emma!
  6. Emma at the Beach (1990)

The Worst series[edit]

Featuring a crotchety old man:

  • The Worst Person in the World
  • The Worst Person in the World at Crab Beach
  • The Worst Person's Christmas
  • Worse than the Worst
  • The Worst Goes South

Mr. Frimdimpny series[edit]

These books feature the alligator Mr. Frimdimpny who has rules about no laughing:

  • Don't Make Me Laugh (1999)
  • No Laughing, No Smiling, No Giggling (2004)

Mud Flat Friends series[edit]

  • Mud Flat Spring
  • Christmas at Mud Flat
  • Mud Flat Mystery
  • Mud Flat April Fool
  • Flying Feet: A Mud Flat Story
  • The Mud Flat Olympics
  • Yard Sale
  • Heat Wave at Mud Flat

Autobiographical and reminiscent picture book series[edit]

A series of books illustrated in a softer watercolor style:

  • When I Was Nine
  • Higher on the Door (1987)
  • July
  • Don't You Know There's a War On?
  • Fun No Fun (1994)
  • I Had a Lot of Wishes (1995)
  • I Meant to Tell You (1996)

Young Adult novels[edit]

  • The Bones in the Cliff
  • The Unprotected Witness


Collections of James Stevenson's poetry, illustrated by himself.

  • Candy Corn
  • Popcorn
  • Cornflakes
  • Sweet Corn
  • Corn Chowder
  • Corn-Fed
  • Just Around the CORNer

Cartoons collections[edit]

  • Sorry, Lady. This Beach Is Private! (1963)
  • Let's Boogie! (1978)


  • Do Yourself a Favor, Kid (1962)
  • The Summer Houses (1963)
  • Sometimes, But Not Always (1967)
  • Something Marvelous Is About to Happen (1971)
  • Cool Jack and the Beanstalk (1976)
  • Uptown Local, Downtown Express (1983)

Illustrations for other authors[edit]

Illustrations for Judy Blume[edit]

The following books by Judy Blume feature cover artwork and inner illustrations by James Stevenson:

Illustrations for Janet Schulman[edit]

James Stevenson illustrated three of Janet Schulman's Jack the Bum series:

  • Jack the Bum and the Halloween Handout (1977)
  • Jack the Bum and the Haunted House (1977)
  • Jack the Bum and the UFO (1978)

Illustrations for Helen V. Griffith[edit]

James Stevenson illustrated a few of Helen V. Griffith's books:

  • Georgia Music (1986)
Helen V. Griffith's Grandaddy trilogy[edit]

All illustrated by James Stevenson:

  1. Grandaddy's Place (1987)
  2. Grandaddy and Janetta (1993)
  3. Grandaddy's Stars (1995)
  • Grandaddy and Janetta Together: The Three Stories in One Book (2001) (anthology that collects the three previous Grandaddy books)

Illustrations for Jack Prelutsky[edit]

The following books of children's poetry by Jack Prelutsky are illustrated by James Stevenson:

  • The Baby Ugs are Hatching (1982)
  • The New Kid on the Block (1984)
  • Something BIG Has Been Here (1990)
  • A Pizza the Size of the Sun (1996)
  • It's Raining Pigs and Noodles (2000)
  • My Dog May Be a Genius (2008)


  1. ^ "James Stevenson: biography". HarperCollins Children's Books. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  2. ^ The Yale Record ("Smut!" Issue). New Haven: Yale Record. February, 1951. p. 3.
  3. ^ Stevenson, James (March 10, 1956). Cartoon. The New Yorker. New York: Conde Nast.

External links[edit]