Jose Aruego was born in Manila, the Philippines on August 9, 1932. He completed a law degree at the University of the Philippines but chose a career as an illustrator instead. He moved to New York City in the l950's to attend Parsons School of Design. His first job after art school was pasting feathers on angel wings in an art studio. Before he started illustrating books, he was a cartoonist for two years. His first children's book, The King and His Friends, was published in 1969. During his lifetime, he illustrated 82 children's books including Herman the Helper written by Robert Kraus and We Hide, You Seek and Dance Away written by George Shannon. He worked on several books with his wife and long-time collaborator Ariane Dewey including Whose Mouse Are You?, Leo the Late Bloomer, and Gregory the Terrible Eater. In 1976, he was received with the Outstanding Filipino Abroad in the Arts Award from the government of the Philippines. He died on August 9, 2012 at the age of 80.