Simms Taback was born on February 13, 1932 in New York City. Before serving two years in the Army, he graduated from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1953. He worked as an art director at CBS Records and The New York Times and as an advertising art director at William Douglas McAdams. He designed and illustrated the first McDonald's Happy Meal box in the 1970s. During his lifetime, he was the illustrator and occasional author of about 50 children's books including There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, which won the Caldecott Medal in 2000, and Postcards from Camp. He died of pancreatic cancer on December 25, 2011 at the age of 79.