I bet if you think about it, you can think of author/illustrator duos that make fabulous books together. I think Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger, Russell and Lillian Hoban, Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, and the spotlight team today: Mac Barton and Adam Rex.

The books written by Mac Barnett are great stories, often silly and sometimes they ‘break the fourth wall.’ Adam Rex’s illustrations, which are mixed media as well as mixed 2D and 3D, fit those silly stories perfectly.


My love affair with this duo started with Chloe and the Lion. Mac and Adam are clay figures, and they frame out the story where the actual illustrations for the book combine drawing and 3D placement like they are on a stage. It’s hard to describe.


From the illustrations we see that the creative process isn’t easy, as Mac and Adam disagree about the lion vs. dragon issue. The kids love the way the author and illustrator argue while the actual characters have to stand around and wait.

I just got in a new book the two collaborated on: 

How This Book Was Made explains the complicated process that starts with an idea, goes through writing, rewriting, editing, rewriting, illustrating, printing and shipment before it ever gets into our hands. The final step to truly becoming a book is for a reader to find it and read it (that’s my favorite step.) Rex uses the wonderful mixed media style to show all the steps as well as the fanciful side to Barnett’s version of events.


I think I’m going to read these books together to 2nd grade. They may have seen Chloe and the Lion before but it’s too funny not to enjoy a second time.

There are other books by this team that I’ve added to my wishlist. I wish there was 10 times the amount in my budget, since that wishlist is always growing, but I think I’ll find room for more MacAdam books on my purchase list.

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