Obituary: John Ramsay Maslen, illustrator of the Bob Books series has died

Constance Gibbs  //  Nov 29, 2021

Obituary: John Ramsay Maslen, illustrator of the Bob Books series has died

Many early readers benefited from the best-selling series Bob Books. It is our sorrow to report that John Ramsay Maslen, the series illustrator, died on November 5, 2021. Our hearts are with the Maslen family. 

Maslen's illustrations remain iconic and the books continue to resonate with readers. See below for a release from the Maslen family. 

John Ramsay Maslen, illustrator for the Bob Books line, passed away on November 5, 2021 at the age of 90. John is preceded in death by his wife Bobby, who authored the Bob Books.

Bobby Maslen created Bob Books in the 1970s while she was teaching preschool and kindergarten aged children. John, an architect and watercolorist, provided line drawings for the books, and the Maslens self-published Bob Books and took mail orders through a P.O. box. Scholastic came on as the publisher in 1994, and the series has since expanded to include supplementary books including readers and workbooks. There are now over 20 million copies in print.

“John was an incredible talent, and leaves a lasting contribution to so many children’s reading journey with the illustrations in Bob Books,” said Ellie Berger, President, Trade Publishing. “We were privileged to work with John and Bobby, and are proud to be able to continue their mission.”

He is survived by children Lynn Maslen Kertell, who currently manages and writes the Bob Books; David Maslen; Sylvia Maslen Davids, and Paul Maslen; his sister Nancy Burkeholder; as well as eight grandchildren, and many other friends and relatives.

A memorial is being planned for this spring.