Skip to content

Abner Graboff . Quirky Children’s Illustrator .

May 28, 2012

Photo from

Abner Graboff was born in 1919, the son of two Russian immigrants living in New Jersey.

He illustrated a whole host of childrens’ books in the 1950’s and 60’s, but has worked consistently from the 40’s until the mid 80’s in his truly distinctive style.

Some images from 1960 Mr Angelo, by Marjory Schwalje, pictures by Abner Graboff. Abelard/Schuman (above), and below from 1958 The Daddy Days, by Norman Simon, pictures by Abner Graboff. Abelard-Schuman.

1961 I Know An Old Lady, by Alan Mills, pictures by Abner Graboff. Rand McNally. Scholastic Book Services.

1963 A Fresh Look At Cats, by Abner Graboff. F. Watts


Fishinkblog 4310 Abner Graboff 23a

1964 The Hungry Goat, by Alan Mills, pictures by Abner Graboff. Rand McNally

1966 Mrs. McGarrity’s Peppermint Sweater, by Adelaide Holl, pictures by Abner Graboff. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co, Inc.

There is an amazing sense of fun and frivolity in his work. He must have experimented with so many different media forms to give his books such great variety. Look at these cut outs.

Abner also drew illustrations to accompany musical scores and cook or song books.

Ward Jenkins has created a couple of excellent postings on Abner Graboff, gleaned from conversations with his son Jon Graboff. You can read them herehere and here.

Top marks to Ward for getting the info together. Another fabulous artist that shouldn’t be forgotten. I’d like to echo his thoughts when Ward says ” It’s unfortunate that Abner wasn’t able to make much money from his incredibly vibrant children’s books. My hope is that there’d be enough interest in Abner Graboff’s books that some publisher out there would be willing to reprint his titles, much like Rizzoli has done with M. Sasek’s successful “This Is…” series. One can least hope, right ? ”

This work deserves to be seen again by a new generation, don’t you agree ?

Photo from

13 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2012 2:12 pm

    Great post, thanks for all the info!

    • May 29, 2012 3:33 pm

      Cheers Jil. I’ve seen his work around but as usual didn’t realise how much amazing illustrations he did before I’d researched into him further. Glad you liked it 🙂

  2. July 2, 2014 5:06 pm

    One of the true greats!!!

  3. Lisa permalink
    April 14, 2015 7:54 am

    Wonderful post, inspirational, thank you!

    • April 14, 2015 11:13 am

      Thanks Lisa, there’s more about Abner on my blog too, try typing his name into the search box and you’ll discover the rest. I love his work, so uplifting.

  4. Sandro permalink
    December 7, 2016 8:16 am

    Great collection of images here. I’ve come across Ward’s post on Graboff before, the same post you linked to here. Seing Graboff’s work here was again a real visual treat. i want to go draw now!

    • December 7, 2016 9:15 am

      Thanks Sandro, so pleased the post inspired you to want to draw, I often feel the same on seeing Abner’s work, it’s fresh, quirky and smile inducing. If you type his name into the search box on the right of my blog, you’ll find more posts with his wonderful work. Enjoy

      • Sandro permalink
        December 8, 2016 4:31 am

        oh thanks for telling me that, that’s a real treat!

  5. Mary Landowski permalink
    September 20, 2017 11:41 am

    I teach art at an elementary school, and I make sure all my second grade students get introduced to this man’s incredible art. We always read I Know an Old Lady, and create line drawings of spider webs with what I call “Silly Silhouettes.” The illustrations captivated me as a child and I want to share this with future generations. I will seek out more of his work now that I have seen this website.

    • September 22, 2017 7:59 am

      Thanks Mary, so glad to hear you are spreading the word to young students about Abner’s incredible work, it’s a great body of work to appreciate.

  6. one1more2time3 permalink
    May 9, 2018 12:08 am

    stunning! it looks like abner graboff was connected to the advertising commercial world or they borrowed from him big time!

    • May 9, 2018 7:26 am

      I think a little of both would be nearer to the truth. His work was very inspirational.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: