Bugs & Frogs & Toads! Oh My! Original Children’s Book Illustrations by Nancy Winslow Parker

Dragonfly illustration by Nancy Winslow Parker
Jul 05, 2014 - Jun 21, 2015
Duvoisin Gallery

Some crawl, some jump, some fly, some bite.  Some pester, and some delight. This exhibition of over forty charming illustrations by Nancy Winslow Parker introduces children (and the young at heart) to the amazing world of insects and amphibians.  There are captivating scenes of everyday encounters with bugs, frogs and toads, as well as accurate drawings that appeal to budding scientists and curious nature enthusiasts. Parker, a successful children’s book illustrator and author since 1974, devised these original drawings to serve as illustrations in her children’s books Bugs (1987) and Frogs, Toads, Lizards, and Salamanders (1990). The original drawings -- some playful and humorous, others scientifically instructive—encourage learning about the most diverse creatures on our planet.

Born, raised and educated in Maplewood, New Jersey, Nancy Winslow Parker received her B.A. in Fine Arts from Mills College in Oakland, California.  In the early 1970s, after working for two decades in sales and advertising in New York City, Parker decided to pursue a career as a writer and illustrator of children’s books. In 1974, she published her first book, The Man with the Take-Apart Head. Since then, Parker has produced fifty fiction and non-fiction books for children, most of them as author and illustrator. Ranking among the most successful are Bugs (1987) and Frogs, Toads, Lizards, and Salamanders (1990) – both authored with Joan Richards Wright and published by Greenwillow Books, New York. Parker spent a considerable time researching natural history subjects for these books, as well as historically appropriate items that appear as  illustrations in her other children’s books, such as, seed packets and product labels for her 1988 book General Store (the drawings for which are also in the collection of the Zimmerli).  Several of Parker’s books have won awards: Willy Bear (1976) and My Mom Travels a Lot (1981) received a Christopher Award; Poofy Loves Company (1980) was named an American Library Association Notable Book. Parker is a long-time resident of New York City, often summering in Mantoloking, New Jersey.

The exhibition is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, as well as during first Tuesday evenings of the month. To reserve a class or group tour Tuesday through Sunday, please contact the Education Department at education@zimmerli.rutgers.edu at least two weeks in advance. 

Organized by Marilyn Symmes, Director of the Zimmerli’s Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts and Curator of Prints and Drawings with Leeza Cinar, a Rutgers University undergraduate student assistant. 

Nancy Winslow Parker

Dragonfly, original illustration for Bugs, 1987

Colored pencil, watercolor, and ink

Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

Gift of the artist

Photo Peter Jacobs