Patrick McDonnell was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey on March 17, 1956. After graduating from the School of Visual Arts, he became a freelance illustrator, drawing the Russell Baker Observer column for the New York Times Sunday Magazine from 1978-1993. He also created Bad Baby, a monthly comic strip for Parents Magazine, which ran for 10 years. He regularly contributed to several publications including Sports Illustrated, Reader's Digest, Forbes, and Time. He is coauthor of Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman, published in 1986. In 1994 he created the comic strip MUTTS which appears in over 700 newspapers and 20 countries. He received numerous awards for this strip, including The Reuben for Cartoonist of the Year from the National Cartoonists Society and five Harvey Awards for Best Comic Strip. The MUTTS cartoons have been published in sixteen compilation books including MUTTS: The Comic Art of Patrick McDonnell, The Best of MUTTS, and Shelter Stories: Love. He started writing children's books in 2005. His children's books include The Gift of Nothing, Art, Just Like Heaven, Hug Time, South, Guardians of Being, Me...Jane, and The Monsters' Monster.