Leslie McGuirk says that when she was a child she wanted to be a game warden in Africa. Instead, she grew up to become an author and illustrator whose favorite topic is the animals she loves so much. Before turning her artistic talent to creating books, however, Leslie McGuirk was involved in many ventures that allowed her to work with animals and the environment. She helped train dolphins in Hawaii, saved birds and bats in Spain, and measured beach erosion in Trinidad and Tobago. Yet in the back of her mind, she always thought that none of these endeavors was quite the right fit for her, and that she ought to pursue another career path. “Most people who are creative live with that constant ache every day,” the author-illustrator says. “It’s that feeling you get when you’ve lost your keys—you know they’re around, but you don’t know where they are.”
Leslie McGuirk’s travels and work around the world eventually led to designing products with environmental themes. She started small: hand-painting endangered animals on T-shirts and selling them at farmers’ markets. Eventually, she launched McGuirk’s Quirks Design Studio, and her designs now appear on more than 800 products in Asia and the United States. In Japan, particularly, she is a marketing phenomenon, thanks to her earth-friendly images.
The Tucker series of books are all about her first dog, Tucker, a West Highland terrier. The series includes Ho, Ho, Ho, Tucker!; Tucker’s Spooky Halloween; Lucky Tucker; and Gobble, Gobble, Tucker1; and Tucker’s Valentine.
Her biggest project to date is the picture book about manners that takes place at the famous Four Seasons Restaurant in Manhattan. Wiggens Learns His Manners is all about teaching manners to children in a fun way. What could be more fun than to have a bunch of Labrador puppies go to the restaurant and find out what and what not to do?
Three Things You Might Not Know About Leslie:
1. She lives in a periwinkle blue house high above a jungle in Vero Beach, Florida.
2. She shares the house with her two dogs, Wiggens and Guy.
3. She collects beach rocks that come in the shapes of letters, numbers, animals, and ghosts. One day she will do a book about those too!