Kentucky Tourism

Johnson, Paul Brett

Lexington, KY


Little Bunny Foo Foo; On Top of Spaghetti; Jack Outwits the Giants

Paul Brett Johnson (1947-2011) was an author and illustrator of children’s books.

Johnson grew up in the Appalachian Mountain region of Eastern Kentucky. As a child and young adult, Johnson’s interests centered around art and illustration, with work in writing coming to him during his college years. After college, he tried many different jobs, all of which never seemed quite right for him. During this period of his life, Johnson supported himself also through creating and selling his art out of his garage studio. Soon, though, he became serious about becoming a children’s book author and illustrator and began to study the craft carefully. 

Throughout his career, Johnson wrote and illustrated over twenty children’s books, earning many awards, including multiple Kentucky Bluegrass Awards and a California Young Reader’s Medal. Johnson’s books have been included in noteworthy lists in such resources as School Library Journal and American Bookseller.

Johnson's Kentucky roots are evident throughout his work, specifically in his tale Jack Outwits the Giants, a book whose central character is a young Appalachian boy. A review of the book by School Library Journal states that Johnson’s “acrylic illustrations firmly ground this tall tale in Appalachia and capture its folksy feel.”