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Victoria Crenson (1952-) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1952, in Baltimore, MD; Education: Washington College, B.A., 1974. Hobbies and other interests: Birds, beachcombing, collecting old books, walking in the woods.

Career

Success for All Foundation, Baltimore, MD, Curriculum developer for adolescent literacy programs; former curriculum developer for Baltimore Curriculum Project. Worked variously as a freelance writer and editor, a researcher for a human ecologist, a short-order cook, a bookstore manager, a maintenance worker, a consignment shop owner, and a volunteer at a legal advice hot-line for women.

Member

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Audubon Society, Center for Children's Environmental Literature.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Discovering Dinosaurs: An Up-to-Date Guide Including the Newest Theories, Price Stern Sloan (Los Angeles, CA), 1988.

Butterflies and Moths, Ottenheimer (Baltimore, MD), 1993.

The Nutcracker, Ottenheimer (Baltimore, MD), 1993.

Bay Shore Park: The Death and Life of an Amusement Park, illustrated by Bryn Barnard, Scientific American Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1995.

Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds: The Story of a Food Web, illustrated by Annie Cannon, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Also author of numerous other books for Troll, Budget Books, and Simon and Schuster.

"THE SENSES" SERIES; WITH KATHY SMITH; ILLUSTRATED BY ROBERT S. STORMS

Hearing, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1988.

Seeing, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1988.

Smelling, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1988.

Tasting, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1988.

Thinking, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1988.

Touching, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1988.

"HOW AND WHY" SERIES

Prehistoric Life, Price Stern Sloan (Los Angeles, CA), 1989.

Sea Creatures, Price Stern Sloan (Los Angeles, CA), 1989.

Snakes, Price Stern Sloan (Los Angeles, CA), 1989.

Wild Animals, Price Stern Sloan (Los Angeles, CA), 1989.

"LEARNING FUN BOOK" SERIES

Insects, Budget Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Space, Budget Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Strange Creatures, Budget Books (New York, NY), 1990.

"ADVENTURES IN COURAGE" SERIES

Abraham Lincoln, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1992.

George Washington, Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1992.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Troll (Mahwah, NJ), 1992.

OTHER

Norman Rockwell's Portrait of America, Crescent Books, 1989.

Also creator of text and activities for three children's multimedia series for Imaginengine Corp. (Mountain View, CA); writer of scripts for children's television series The Foxes' Den, Uffington Productions.

Sidelights

Nature book author Victoria Crenson once told Something about the Author: "My elementary school years were spent writing adventure stories. I'd write a few scenes and then pass them to my friend Lynn, who would write a few more and pass them on to John, who liked to write the fight scenes, and then back to me. We must have written dozens of stories that way.

"The writing team was split in sixth grade, when John became obsessed with the Civil War and Lynn and I began writing science-fiction plays. We'd lug a stage and a suitcase full of puppets around the school and perform 'Dragons from the Pressed Planet' or 'Time Tunnelers' at each classroom, revising the stories and inventing new characters in the hallway between performances. It was a tough audience. When something wasn't quite right, they told us so by wiggling, whispering, even booing if it really stunk. But if we had a good story, their eyes got big. Their mouths hung open. They'd lean forward until the whole crowd was within inches of the stage. Although I've learned a little bit since elementary school, it's for that tough audience I love to write.

"It wasn't until I had children of my own that I began writing about nature. Reading the best science books I've ever read, Lives of a Cell and The Medusa and the Snail by Lewis Thomas, hooked me on the endless storytelling possibilities offered by tree frogs, eels, hurricanes, dinosaurs, butterflies, black holes, or mud daubers."

Crenson later added: "Someone at a nearby nature center told me about a spectacular spring event that happens during the full moon on the edges of Delaware Bay. Great numbers of horseshoe crabs crawl up from the bay bottom to mate and lay billions of eggs on the shoreline. Meanwhile, thousands of shorebirds fly from the tip of South American to the Arctic to nest and make a stop at Delaware Bay. They come to feast on horseshoe crab eggs. I had to see this great egg feast for myself. What I observed was that others also came to the feast—minnows, crabs, sea turtles, eels, herons, songbirds, falcons, mice, foxes, raccoons—forming an intricate food web centered on an ancient creature, an annual journey, and billions of pearly, pale green eggs. Horseshoe Crabs and Shorebirds is the result."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Baltimore Sun, April 21, 1995, review of Bay Shore Park: The Death and Life of an Amusement Park; May 24, 1995, p. B1.

Children's Literature, October, 1995, review of Bay Shore Park.

Dundalk Eagle, (Dunkalk, MD), March 30, 1995, Wayne Laufert, review of Bay Shore Park.

School Library Journal, August, 1995, review of Bay Shore Park.

ONLINE

Marshall Cavendish Web site, http://www.marshallcavendish.us/ (February 27, 2005).

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