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Where Is My Mommy?
by Mary Kilgore, MSW and Mitchell Kilgore, MSW

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the Book
the Authors
the Illustrator
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Mary Kilgore
Mitchell Kilgore

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Cary Pillo Communicates Warmth, Sincerity in Illustrations

Cary Pillo

Stop by to see Cary Pillo and you're apt to find her unfastening the bungee-cord that holds grocery bags on her bike, and her fox terrier wagging a cheerful welcome. This is the kind of illustrator that publishers and authors want, a warm and genuine artist skilled at communicating emotions in the characters she draws. She's also the kind of person we'd like to have for a friend, enthused about both professional projects and such personal commitments as substituting two wheels for four.

"I carried home a pumpkin on the bike," she chuckles, "and even a 17-pound turkey. . .which I discovered was very slippery!"

Keeping the frozen bird on the bike required a little ingenuity, but that's typical of Pillo, who can be relied on to deliver high-quality illustrations on time, on budget. This attention to client needs, along with the style of her artwork, is probably why she's a favorite among those publishing material for children. In the last 20 years, she's illustrated some three dozen books and countless articles. Although Pillo started her career in advertising, with assignments like creating storyboards for commercials, her first query to a children's magazine struck pay dirt.

"When the editor at Ladybug saw my samples, he assigned me a story to illustrate and suggested I get an agent."

Today her largest single client is Scholastic, which produces hundreds of books for children. She's also done a series for the American Psychological Association's Magination Press, and illustrated books for Harper Collins, Puffin, the Kane Press, and Child's World. Her illustrations have appeared in Parenting Press publications for at least a dozen years.

Although Pillo recalls that she has always drawn, kids weren't her first subjects.

"Horses," she smiles, "I went through my grandfather's collection of magazines with Charles Russell prints, and drew horses. I was going to be a cowgirl in Montana!"

Instead the girl from then tiny-North Bend ("I remember when the population sign was changed to say '1,000 residents!'") headed from the Cascade foothills to eastern Washington, where she earned a degree in fine art and design at Washington State University in 1980. After college she settled in Seattle, and today lives in a quiet Laurelhurst neighborhood, close enough to Lake Washington for energetic walks with that terrier.

Although Where Is My Mommy is similar to many of Pillo's other assignments, it's the first book she's seen on abandonment. Although, as with all other projects, she has never met the authors, she found them eloquent on the sorrow of the motherless child. "The story brought tears to my eyes," said the illustrator.

For more information, contact the Parenting Press publicity department at (800) 992-6657, ext. 105 or (206) 364-2900, ext. 105, or email our Publicity Coordinator.