Captivating Collage Art Children's Books by Mary M. Preble

Children's books by artist Mary M. Preble are illustrated with delightful paper collages that she creates from hand painted papers. She also writes the clever rhyming text in each one of her Let's Go books.


five children's books that feature handmade collage art


Mary, who has been interested in art since childhood, earned a BFA in education at the University of Massachusetts and went on to teach art for thirty years. 


paper collage book page illustration of young boy bent over dresser drawer in his room gathering items to take swimming 

Learning about the Gelli Plate method of gelatin printing opened up a new world of illustrating for Mary. She uses gel printing plates from Gelli Arts, whose non-toxic, odor-free products are available via the company website, in stores, and also on Amazon in the Gelli Arts store


As described on the Gelli Arts website, "Our gel printing plates look and feel like gelatin, but are durable, reusable and store at room temperature. They are easy to clean and always ready for printing."


cover of Let's Go Swimming children's book with paper collage illustration of sunny day and child dressed in swimwear carrying pool toys


Mary is passionate about hand painting papers with the system and loves sharing it with others, adults and children alike. She uses bubble wrap, a comb, the bottom of a shoe or water bottle, or even the core from a head of lettuce to create rich textures. She then cuts up the papers to make the colorful, appealing collage art you'll find in her stories. 


paper collage book page illustration of yellow pail and green swim goggles

She continues to share her love of art via classroom visits in New England where she reads the books aloud, talks to the young students about her writing process, and demonstrates how she makes monoprint papers that are used to create the images. Needless to say, the children are spellbound!


book page illustration of collage art hen sitting on bed of straw with eggs

Mary told me, "My favorite thing, besides creating art, is visiting schools and talking about my writing and illustrating journey. The best part is how quiet I can get 50 first graders while I get ready to pull a print and the squeals of delight when the students see the print!"


cover of children's book, Let's Go on a Hike, features handmade collage art illustration of hiking trail with sun, rocks, greenery, and trail marker


Not only are the children charmed by the pictures, but there is an educational aspect to each story. For example, Let's Go Swimming teaches colors, Let's Go to the Beach teaches numbers, and Let's Go to the Farm is an ABC adventure that shows children that working together can make something beautiful happen. 

cover of children's book Good Morning Maine! shows collage art illustration of moose, fox, flowers, trees, and sun

Mary also created collage illustrations for Good Morning, Maine! a story about animals waking up each morning. It was released just this past September by McSeeBooks. 


cover of Let's Go Activity Book for children features paper collage illustrations of animals such as zebra, crab, moose, fish, and more on swirly blue and white background 


Mary kindly sent me a selection of her books to see in person. I can assure you that they are durable, glossy hardcovers with the illustrations clearly printed on high quality paper by Let's Go Children's Books. I look forward to reading them in years ahead to the two(!) babies who will be arriving in my family this summer.

woman with short, blonde hair holds open book while showing collage art illustrations to schoolchildren seated on floor in classroom

Mary has also published Let's Go Activity Book, The Twelve Days of Christmas book, flashcards, puppets, and postcards. All items (except Good Morning, Maine!) can be ordered via her website. Follow along with Mary on Facebook and Instagram.

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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. What fun books. I love the artwork in them.

    1. I do too, Ann! I can just imagine little ones studying the pictures and asking questions.

  2. What lovely books, I bet the children live them.

  3. Reminds me of the work of Giles Laroche. I have always loved his collage relief illustrations!

    1. Nice, Denise! I had to look Giles up as I wasn't familiar with his work.


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