Peter Spier was born on June 6th in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. His father, a journalist and illustrator, influenced Spier to draw. He decided at 18 to make art his career and attended Rijksacademie, an art school in Amsterdam. His education was interrupted by service in the Royal Netherlands Army from 1947 to 1951. He worked for Elsevier's Weekly, the largest Dutch weekly newspaper, before moving to New York to begin a career illustrating children's books. His first was Cocoa by Margaret Otto, published in 1953. He has since illustrated nearly 150 books with his special combination of humor and integrity.
Spier has also written and illustrated fourteen books for children with his descriptive black line and watercolor wash. His black line is actually executed in pencil and overexposed in the printing process before adding color.
The Fox Went out on a Chilly Night won a Boston Globe Horn Book Award. Noah's Ark was awarded a Caldecott Medal, Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and Christopher Award in 1978. His books have been published in 24 languages. Spier lives and works in Long Island.