22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Peter Brown

Portrait Peter Brown
© Hartwig Klappert

Peter Brown was born in Hopewell, New Jersey, USA in 1979. He says he already began drawing stories with oddball characters and scenes when he was a child. As a teenager, he discovered his love for words and continued to record his ideas, now in writing. During his studies of Illustration at the Art Center of Design in Pasadena, the combination of these two forms of artistic expression led him to attend courses on children’s books, where he found his calling. In an interview, Brown remarked that he said everything he could with his pictures and then, for everything he couldn’t express that way, he used words. Hence, his stories are laconic, he said, but he takes plenty of time to find the right words.

After completing his studies, Brown moved to New York and took part in producing animated television programs before he wrote and illustrated his first picture book, »Flight of the Dodo« (2005). In it, a penguin receives a greeting from the sky from a passing goose, which intensifies his dream of flying. A review in the American magazine »Kirkus Reviews« praised the book’s design, with its many visually humorous ideas, and said it and the story’s text spurred each other to entertaining flights of fancy. In addition to contributing the illustrations to seven books by other authors, like Carl Weatherill’s story »Snowbone« (2007), Brown has written eight other pictorial stories himself. Among them are »Children Make Terrible Pets« (2010), a story in which Brown wittily and surprisingly turns accustomed situations upside down; »The Curious Garden« (2009); »Mr. Tiger Goes Wild« (2013): and most recently »My Teacher is a Monster« (2014). While »The Curious Garden« has been praised as a gripping fairytale about urban renewal, »Mr. Tiger Goes Wild« narrates the colorful protagonist’s outbreak from a peaceful but gray life to live out his wild side, until – depicted in masterfully composed pictures – he realizes that only friends can bring color into one’s life. This book has been honored several times, including the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Picture Books in 2014. On its title page, »My Teacher is a Monster« already gives the teacher a chance to answer this accusation: »No, I Am Not.« The message that teachers, too, are only people who reflect their pupils’ behavior is supported by the choice of muted colors, suiting the theme.

Peter Brown lives in New York.