4 minute read

Margaret Chodos-Irvine Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

Female; children.


Office—3018 45th Ave. S.W., Seattle, WA 98116.


Artist, author, and children's book illustrator. Creator of cover art for books, including Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Honors Awards

Caldecott Honor Book designation, 2004, for Ella Sarah Gets Dressed.

Margaret Chodos-Irvine



Ella Sarah Gets Dressed, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2003.


Ursula Le Guin, Always Coming Home, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1985, reprinted, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2000.

Arthur Griffin, Ah mo: Indian Legends from the Northwest, Hancock House (Blain, WA), 1990.

Janet S. Wong, Buzz, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Theodore Taylor, Hello, Arctic!, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Janet S. Wong, Apple Pie Fourth of July, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Betsy R. Rosenthal, My House Is Singing, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.

Janet S. Wong, Hide-and-Seek, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2005.


Illustrator Margaret Chodos-Irvine puts her imagination to the test as she adorns the pages of children's books like Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet Wong and Hello, Arctic! by Theodore Taylor. Her innovative patterns and unique textured lino-cuts and collographs, as well as her use of vivid colors, has been praised for adding dimension to the works of many authors. Asked about her approach to illustration, Seattle native Chodos-Irvine noted on the Harcourt Web site: "I think of the manuscript as the recipe of a book; it includes the basic ingredients but you have to figure out the instructions… I look at the manuscript as the basis of the book and I have to figure out exactly what the manuscript needs me to do."

One book featuring illustrations by Chodos-Irvine is Janet S. Wong's Apple Pie Fourth of July, which tells the story of a young Chinese-American girl whose parents own a Chinese food store. The young girl becomes frustrated with her parents on the Fourth of July because she believes Americans will not want their cultural food. Surprised when Americans order Chinese food for dinner, even on their most patriotic day, the girl also decides to savor the taste of another culture, and shares a homemade apple pie with her family and friends. Alicia Eames in School Library Journal called Apple Pie Fourth of July "cheerfully bright and crisp," and praised Chodos-Irvine for "capturing the spirit of the day as well as the changing emotions of the main character" in her woodcut illustrations.

Chodos-Irvine creates an awe-inspiring landscape for kids to enjoy in Hello, Arctic!, a picture book penned by Theodore Taylor. Never having been to the arctic herself, the illustrator compensated by researching the area to provide young readers with a glimpse of the beauty that exists there. The subtlety of the changing Arctic seasons proved to be a challenge for the illustrator, and she carefully considered color choices, form, and texture in creating her artwork. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly maintained that the resulting work, "otherworldly prints, rendered from a variety of techniques, provide a breathtaking accompaniment" to Taylor's text and capture the visual essence of the Arctic.

In addition to illustrating the work of other authors, Chodos-Irvine has also penned her own picture-book text, Ella Sarah Gets Dressed, a simple, self-illustrated tale inspired by her oldest daughter. A budding fashionista, Ella Sarah demands to wear her most colorful, highly patterned clothing, despite all suggestions from more conservative family members. When her friends show up for a tea party, their garb is as flamboyant and colorful as Ella Sarah's, making everyone realize that the young girl's taste is perfectly appropriate for the occasion. Reviewing the Caldecott Honor-winning book for School Library Journal, Linda M. Kenton praised Chodos-Irvine's work as a surefire storytime hit, noting that her "exuberant illustrations … dance and tumble across the page." "By conveying her heroine's perspective so convincingly," added a Publishers Weekly critic, "Chodos-Irvine makes the book's ending a triumph—and one that should strike a chord with dress-up fans everywhere."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, July, 2000, Kathy Broderick, review of Buzz, p. 2044; October 1, 2002, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Hello, Arctic!, p. 339; January 1, 2003, review of Apple Pie Fourth of July, p. 799; June 1, 2003, Gillian Engberg, review of Ella Sarah Gets Dressed, p. 1768.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of Apple Pie Fourth of July, p. 582; May 1, 2003, review of Ella Sarah Gets Dressed, p. 675.

Publishers Weekly, June 5, 2000, review of Buzz, p. 92; July 29, 2002, review of Hello, Arctic!, p. 70; April 28, 2003, review of Ella Sarah Gets Dressed, p. 68.

School Library Journal, December, 2000, Trev Jones, review of Buzz, p. 56; May, 2002, Alicia Eames, review of Apple Pie Fourth of July, p. 132; November, 2002, Sally R. Dow, review of Hello, Arctic!, p. 138; July, 2003, Linda M. Kenton, review of Ella Sarah Gets Dressed, p. 88.


Chodos-Irvine Home Page, http://www.chodos-irvine.com/ (February 1, 2004).

Harcourt Web site, http://www.harcourtbooks.com/ (February 5, 2004), interview with Chodos-Irvine.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Katie Burke (1953–) Biography - Personal to Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944) Biography