Denise Fleming was born in Toledo, Ohio on January 31, 1950 to Frank and Inez Campbell Fleming. She and her sister, Rochelle, grew up in a neighborhood where the kids rode bikes, played games, and organized outdoor circuses and plays. As a child, she loved making crafts and embellishing her schoolwork with drawings. Denise also loved to spend time in her father's basement workshop, where she would make things out of wood, clay, and papier-mâché while her father built furniture. Denise and Rochelle had more fun playing games out of doors. Besides playing, they've enjoyed reading and often would act out these stories with friends. Although she was good at art, she never thought about being an artist until high school. During high school she took many art classes and won several awards, including a scholarship. She attended Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ...view middle of the document...
The simplicity of every picture book in terms of colorful visual appeal, narrative structure, and fable-like expression seem to suggest that it is indeed suited to early childhood readership. The vibrant colors, shapes, movement, and underlying message on every inch of the page create a story. A story that makes your brain tick and contemplate what exactly you are looking at. These things are significant to the constant development, specifically to a child. Her books are simple read with many rhyme and repetitions. A lot of action words and are mainly focused on clear language.
Out of the five picture books, my most favorite would be Buster. In a way that I can relate myself into. Fleming obviously loves animals, like I do. Buster is a charming picture book about a dog that was perfectly happy until his owner brings home a cat. In order to escape from the cat, Buster runs away. It is an adorable tale of friendship and learning to adjust to new situations, even if we don't like them at first. Whimsical and bright illustrations make this a fun book just as charming in the visual aspect. The animals in this book are so cute and expressive. The map in the end is also really fun, and I can only imagine how excited I would be to study it if I were five or six again.
In my analysis, Fleming's main point in writing and illustrating was to get the message across that children enjoy picture books that allow them to identify and make connections with either the characters, or with personal experience, and that while analyzing the pictures, they gain a better sense of how to interpret them. For her, "picture books are like small plays." Picture books are more than pictures and they are even more than just a simple story.
Today, she still lives in Ohio with her husband, David, a fellow artist whom she met in art school, helps with her paper making process and book design. She spends many hours in her own workshop, with the help of her daughter, Indigo, where they review words, pictures and ideas for new books.