width=Illustration: David McLimans


Gone Wild: An Endangered
Animal Alphabet (Caldecott Honor Book)
By David McLimans
(Walker & Company, 2006)
40 pp. $16.95 hardback

By Patrick JB Flynn

Illustrator and author David Mc-Limans is a close friend and colleague of mine. I have worked and played with him for over a quarter century on various art and design projects, collaborations in the dubious world of convincing a viewing audience that what you have to say through your art is worth the time they might invest in it.

As art director of The Progressive for 18 years, I had the pleasure of working with David to produce conceptually considerate and graphically powerful art for a magazine that has been a beacon for socially conscious activists for 90 years.

When I redesigned and took on the role of art director for Rethinking Schools, it was only natural that I turned to David to assist in the endeavor of making the magazine look good and read well. His work has been published in every issue of the magazine since implementing the format change in 2003. My collaborations with David have always been delightful, making my job as designer simpler and enjoyable.

> width=

Illustration: David McLimans

David’s illustrations appear regularly in the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, Atlantic Monthly, and Harper’s to name but a few. When David works for Rethinking Schools, he doesn’t do it for the money, but rather out of a commitment to social responsibility. He is hoping, through his art, for a better life for our children, a hope not unfamiliar to many teachers I know.

It is in that spirit that he entered into creating his first children’s book, Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet. The book takes the plight of the animal world seriously, introducing young minds, ages three and up, to the compromised lives of animals. Although fundamentally an alphabet primer, the book is a great tool for informing children that all is not well in our world and that people are never too young to start caring for it.

It is also quite simply a beautiful book. David’s typography is sophisticated yet playful, as you can see from the few examples illustrated here. This is yet another artful, meaningful offering from a great artist that I have had the good fortune to have worked with.

The good news is that Gone Wild was recently conferred the honor of a Caldecott Award, a well-deserved pat on the back for someone who’s worked long and hard at making a difference in the world through his art.