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James Howe (1946–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

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Born 1946, in Oneida, NY; partner of Mark Davis (an attorney), beginning January, 2001; Education: Boston University, B.F.A., 1968; Hunter College of the City University of New York, M.A., 1977. Hobbies and other interests: Bicycling, hiking, skiing, movies, theater, traveling, reading.

Addresses

Agent—Amy Berkower, Writers House Inc., 21 West 26th St., New York, NY 10010.

Career

Freelance actor and director, 1971–75; Lucy Kroll Agency, New York, NY, literary agent, 1976–81; children's writer, 1981–. Military service: Civilian public service, 1968–70.

Member

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Writers Guild of America, East.

Honors Awards

Notable book citation, American Library Association (ALA), 1979, and Pacific Northwest Young Readers' Choice Award, 1982, both for Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery; Bunnicula has also received twelve other Children's Choice awards from various states, including Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, and Vermont, and a listing among Booklist's Fifty All-Time Favorite Children's Books; Honor Book in Nonfiction, Boston Globe/Horn Book, notable book citation, ALA, and Children's Book of the Year citation, Library of Congress, all 1981, and nonfiction nominee, American Book Award in Children's Books (now National Book Award), 1982, all for James HoweThe Hospital Book; CRABbery honor book, 1984, for The Celery Stalks at Midnight; Volunteer State award, 1984, for Howliday Inn; Washington Irving Younger Fiction award, and runner-up, Colorado Children's Book Award, both 1988, both for There's a Monster under My Bed; Garden State Children's Book Award for Younger Fiction, 1990, for Nighty-Nightmare; North Dakota Children's Choice Picture Book, 1992, for Harold and Chester in Scared Silly: A Halloween Treat. Howe's works have been cited by such periodicals as School Library Journal and Booklist, and by such organizations as the Junior Literary Guild, the American Booksellers Association, the Child Study Children's Book Committee, the Children's Book Council, the National Science Teachers Association, and the International Reading Association; they have also received numerous other children's choice awards.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

(With wife, Deborah Howe) Teddy Bear's Scrapbook, illustrated by David S. Rose, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1980.

The Hospital Book (nonfiction), photographs by Mal Warshaw, Crown (New York, NY), 1981, Morrow (New York, NY), 1994.

Annie Joins the Circus (spin-off from movie Annie), illustrated by Leonard Shortall, Random House (New York NY), 1982.

The Case of the Missing Mother, illustrated by William Cleaver, Random House (New York NY), 1983.

A Night without Stars, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1983.

The Muppet Guide to Magnificent Manners; Featuring Jim Henson's Muppets, illustrated by Peter Elwell, Random House (New York NY), 1984.

How the Ewoks Saved the Trees: An Old Ewok Legend (spin-off from movie Return of the Jedi), illustrated by Walter Velez, Random House (New York NY), 1984.

Morgan's Zoo, illustrated by Leslie Morrill, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1984.

The Day the Teacher Went Bananas (picture book), illustrated by Lillian Hoban, Dutton (New York, NY), 1984.

Mister Tinker in Oz ("Brand-New Oz" adventure series), illustrated by D. Rose, Random House (New York NY), 1985.

When You Go to Kindergarten, photographs by Betsy Imershein, Knopf (New York, NY), 1986, revised second edition, Morrow (New York, NY), 1995.

There's a Monster under My Bed (picture book), illustrated by D. Rose, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1986.

A Love Note for Baby Piggy, Marvel (New York, NY), 1986.

(Reteller) Babes in Toyland (adaptation of 1903 operetta by Victor Herbert and Glen MacDonough), illustrated by Allen Atkinson, Gulliver Books, 1986.

(Reteller) The Secret Garden (adaptation of novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett), illustrated by Thomas B. Allen, Random House (New York NY), 1987, illustrated by Nancy Sippel Carpenter, 2004.

I Wish I Were a Butterfly (picture book), illustrated by Ed Young, Gulliver Books, 1987.

Carol Burnett: The Sound of Laughter ("Women of Our Time" series), illustrated by Robert Masheris, Viking (New York, NY), 1987.

(Adaptor) Dances with Wolves: A Story for Children (adapted from the screenplay by Michael Blake), Newmarket Press, 1991.

Playing with Words, photographs by Michael Craine, R. C. Owen, 1994.

There's a Dragon in My Sleeping Bag, illustrations by D. Rose, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1994.

The New Nick Kramer; or, My Life as a Baby-Sitter, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1995.

The Watcher, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1997.

Horace and Morris but Mostly Dolores, illustrated by Amy Walrod, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1999.

The Misfits, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2001.

(Editor) The Color of Absence: Twelve Stories about Loss and Hope, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2001.

Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (but What about Dolores?), illustrated by Amy Walrod, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.

(Editor) 13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

Kaddish for Grandpa in Jesus' Name Amen, illustrated by Catherine Stock, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2004.

Totally Joe, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2005.

Houndsley and Catina, illustrated by Mary-Louise Gay, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Houndsley and Catina and the Birthday Surprise, illustrated by Mary-Louise Gay, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

"BUNNICULA" SERIES

(With Deborah Howe) Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery, illustrated by Alan Daniel, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1979, revised edition, 1999.

Howliday Inn, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1982.

The Celery Stalks at Midnight, illustrated by Leslie Morrill, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1983.

Nighty-Nightmare, illustrated by Leslie Morrill, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1987.

Harold and Chester in The Fright before Christmas, illustrated by Leslie Morrill, Morrow (New York, NY), 1988.

Harold and Chester in Scared Silly: A Halloween Treat, illustrated by Leslie Morrill, Morrow (New York, NY), 1989.

Harold and Chester in Hot Fudge, illustrated by Leslie Morrill, Morrow (New York, NY), 1990.

Harold and Chester in Creepy-Crawly Birthday, illustrated by Leslie Morrill, Morrow (New York, NY), 1991.

Return to Howliday Inn, illustrated by Alan Daniel, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1992.

The Bunnicula Fun Book, illustrations by Alan Daniel, Morrow (New York, NY), 1993.

Rabbit-Cadabra!, illustrations by Alan Daniel, Morrow (New York, NY), 1993.

Bunnicula Escapes!: A Pop-up Adventure, illustrated by Alan and Lea Daniel, paper engineering by Vicki Teague-Cooper, Tupelo Books, 1994.

Bunnicula's Wickedly Wacky Word Games, illustrations by Alan Daniel, Little Simon (New York, NY), 1998.

Bunnicula's Pleasantly Perplexing Puzzlers, illustrated by Alan Daniel, Little Simon (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Louis Phillips) Bunnicula's Long-lasting Laugh-Alouds, illustrated by Alan Daniel, Little Simon (New York, NY), 1999.

Bunnicula's Frightfully Fabulous Factoids, illustrated by Alan Daniel, Little Simon (New York, NY), 1999.

Bunnicula Strikes Again!, illustrated by Alan Daniel, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1999.

The Bunnicula Collection: Three Hare-raising Tales in One Volume, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

The Vampire Bunny, illustrated by Jeff Mack, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2004.

Hot Fudge, illustrated by Jeff Mack, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2004.

Scared Silly, illustrated by Jeff Mack, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2005.

Rabbit Cadabra, illustrated by Jeff Mack, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2006.

"TALES FROM THE HOUSE OF BUNNICULA" SERIES

It Came from beneath the Bed, illustrated by Brett Helquist, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.

Invasion of the Mind Swappers from Asteroid 6!, illustrated by Brett Helquist, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.

Howie Monroe and the Doghouse of Doom, illustrated by Brett Helquist, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.

Screaming Mummies of the Pharaoh's Tomb II, illustrated by Brett Helquist, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

Bud Barkin, Private Eye, illustrated by Brett Helquist, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

The Amazing Odorous Adventures of Stinky Dog, illustrated by Brett Helquist, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

"SEBASTIAN BARTH" MYSTERY SERIES

What Eric Knew, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1985.

Stage Fright, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1986.

Eat Your Poison, Dear, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1986.

Dew Drop Dead, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1990.

"PINKY AND REX" SERIES

Pinky and Rex, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1990.

Pinky and Rex Get Married, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1990.

Pinky and Rex and the Spelling Bee, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1991.

Pinky and Rex and the Mean Old Witch, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1991.

Pinky and Rex Go to Camp, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1992.

Pinky and Rex and the New Baby, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1993.

Pinky and Rex and the Double-Dad Weekend, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1995.

Pinky and Rex and the Bully, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1996.

Pinky and Rex and the New Neighbors, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1997.

Pinky and Rex and the Perfect Pumpkin, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1998.

Pinky and Rex and the School Play, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1998.

Pinky and Rex and the Just-Right Pet, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2001.

OTHER

My Life as a Babysitter (television play), The Disney Channel, 1990.

Also compiler of 365 New Words-a-Year Shoelace Calendar for Kids, Workman Publishing, 1983–85. Contributor to Horn Book and School Library Journal.

Howe's work has been translated into French, German, Swedish, Danish, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Dutch.

Adaptations

Bunnicula was adapted as an animated television movie, produced by Ruby-Spears Productions, ABC, 1982, a sound recording, narrated by Lou Jacobi, Caedmon Records, 1982, and a videocassette, World Vision Home Video; Howliday Inn was adapted as a sound recording, narrated by Jacobi, Caedmon Records, 1984; The Celery Stalks at Midnight was adapted as a sound recording, 1987; Nighty-Nightmare was adapted as a sound recording, narrated by George S. Irving, Caedmon, 1988; Listening Library recordings narrated by Victor Garber and produced in 2000 include Bunicula, Howliday Inn, The Celery Stalks at Midnight, Nighty Nightmare, Return to Howliday Inn, and Bunnicula Strikes Again; The Misfits was adapted as an audiobook, produced by Full Cast, 2003; It Came from beneath the Bed!, Invasion of the Mind-Swappers from Asterlid 6!, Howie Monroe and the Doghouse of Doom, and Screaming Mummies of the Pharaoh's Tomb II were recorded by Joe Grifasi by Listening Library, 2003; Recorded Books adapted the "Pinky and Rex" books as audiobooks.

Sidelights

"Humor is the most precious gift I can give to my reader," James Howe once noted in Horn Book. Best known for the laugh-out-loud tales of vampire bunnies and talking pets that comprise his "Bunnicula" books, Howe is also the author of sometimes painfully funny coming-of-age stories for middle graders. He also serves up stories of close friendship in his "Pinky and Rex" chapter books and spins a mystery with an often-humorous twist in his "Sebastian Barth" tales. In addition to also penning picture books and novels, Howe moved into more serious territory with his 1997 novel, The Watcher, which focuses on child abuse, and has even courted controversy by dealing with teen homosexuality in his 2001 novel The Misfits. In addition, he has collected writings by a number of popular authors into anthologies such as The Color of Absence: Twelve Stories about Loss and Hope and 13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen, which directly address the realities of adolescence.

Born in Oneida, New York, in 1946, Howe grew up in a family that loved words. As a child he began what has become his trademark—wordplay—in an effort to win the attention of his three older brothers. At Boston University he earned a degree in fine arts, then worked as an actor and director for several years before returning to graduate school where a seminar in playwriting rekindled his childhood love of words. For several years, Howe also worked as a literary agent in New York City, and by the time he and his first wife, the late Deborah Howe, thought of collaborating on a children's book, he was familiar with the world of publishing.

The Howes' first collaborative effort led to the publication of Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery, winner of a Dorothy Canfield Fisher award, and an instant success with young readers. The perennially popular story, which was republished in a special twentieth-anniversary edition in 1999 and twenty-fifth anniverary edition in 2004, revolves around Chester, an arrogant cat who relishes horror stories, and Harold, a lumbering, shaggy dog who narrates the tale under the pseudonym Harold X. (to protect the innocent). The sleuths team up when their owners, the Monroes, innocently adopt a bunny abandoned at a movie theater and name it Bunnicula, after the chilling film Dracula that had been playing in a local theater. Convinced that Bunnicula is really a vampire rabbit—the bunny does have oddly shaped teeth resembling fangs and the vegetables in the house were mysteriously drained of their color soon after Bunnicula's arrival—the cat-and-dog two-some attempt to warn the unsuspecting Monroes. Bunnicula's "stylish, exuberant make-believe," observed a reviewer in Publishers Weekly, arises from the Howes' "unreined imagination and … glinting sense of humor." Zena Sutherland, reviewing the first book in the series for the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, summed up its appeal by noting that "the plot is less important in the story than the style." Sutherland went on to characterize that style as "blithe, sophisticated, and distinguished for the wit and humor of the dialogue."

"Bunnicula" soon evolved into a series, as well as several related spin-offs, with the completion of such lighthearted and comic tales as Howliday Inn, The Celery Stalks at Midnight, Nighty-Nightmare, Harold and Chester in Creepy-Crawly Birthday, Return to Howliday Inn, and Bunnicula Strikes Again! Chateau Bow-Wow provides the locale for Howliday Inn (so named because Chester is convinced it shelters werewolves). In the story, Chester and Harold are lodged at a boarding house from which cats and dogs strangely disappear almost daily. Frantic when Louise, the French poodle, vanishes, the distressed pair fears that a villainous murderer may be afoot. "Wonderfully witty dialogue and irresistible characters" fill the story, wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

The Celery Stalks at Midnight follows the duo's efforts to track Bunnicula, who has disappeared from his cage in the Monroe house. Along with Howie, a tiny pup who insists Chester is his "pop," the three also join forces to destroy (puncture with toothpicks) the vegetables Chester is sure have been transformed into killer zombies by the vampire rabbit.

Most reviewers called special attention to the slapstick humor and abundant puns that fill The Celery Stalks at Midnight: "Hare today, gone tomorrow," quips young Howie to his reluctant feline father. Or, "a vampire," explains Harold to the naive puppy, "is the person who calls the rules during a baseball game." And, "I just had a thought," says the agitated Chester to Harold. "What if Bunnicula's met up with one of his own kind? You know how they multiply…." "Well, I don't really," the bumbling dog earnestly replies, "but if they're like everybody else these days, they probably use those little pocket calculators."

Howie Monroe, a dachshund puppy introduced in the "Bunnicula" books, comes into his own in several picture books that follow Howie's efforts to become a famous writer like his uncle Harold. In It Came from beneath the Bed Howie spins a story about a stuffed koala bear that grows out of control after it soaks up some stray concoction from Pete Monroe's science project. Howie Monroe and the Doghouse of Doom contains a parody of the popular "Harry Potter" books, throwing in a bungled version of Hamlet's soliloquy for good measure. Invasion of the Mind Swappers from Asteroid 6! describes the efforts of a group of fiendish aliens to control earthlings, specifically, turning Howie's friend Delia into a squirrel. A play on hardboiled detective fiction is served up by the ambitious dachshund in Bud Barkin, Private Eye, as Howie pens a whodunit that features a detective, a dame in distress, and a suspicious ex-convict.

Alongside the text of each of Howie's fictional masterpieces are his hand-written notes about the writing process, alternating the tail-wagging scribbler's glowing references to his many talents as a writer with sage advice from mentor Harold. Praising the series, Booklist reviewer Anne O'Malley noted in her review of Invasion of the Mindswappers from Asteroid 6! that the series format allows Howe to present beginning writers "with an ingenious lesson" in creative writing "seamlessly blended with two first-rate tales starring a whimsical protagonist." In a similar vein, John Sigwald noted in School Library Journal that the "Tales from the House of Bunnicula" books "could easily become the standard textbook for creative writing classes."

In Rabbit-Cadabra!, another of the many picture-book spin-offs to the antics of Harold and Chester, the Amazing Karlovsky is coming to town and the Monroes are excited. Chester and Harold, however, are having second thoughts about the show: the rabbit displayed in publicity posters looks awfully like Bunnicula, the faux or maybe all-too-real vampire bunny. In an attempt to ward off an invasion of vampire bunnies coming out of the magician's hat, they wield garlic pizza and steal the show, revealing the magician to be none other than the Monroes' cousin Charlie. A Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded that Howe's book is "predictable, but fans will love it," while Kay Weisman writing in Booklist called Rabbit-Cadabra! an "appealing story."

The "Sebastian Barth" mystery series is a bit more plot-oriented, relating four sleuthing tales about a middle-school-aged fledgling detective whose exploits lead him into both dangerous and humorous situations. A flu epidemic at school is actually a case of food poisoning, as Sebastian discovers in Eat Your Poison. Sebastian suspects, among others, the cafeteria manager. In the fourth book of the series, Dew Drop Dead, Howe inserts serious elements in a tale of a discovered body, looking at the issue of homelessness in the process of telling an old-fashioned, fast-paced yarn. In Stage Fright, Howe draws on his love of the theater when he writes about Sebastian's desire to work with a famous actress.

Another popular series from Howe is "Pinky and Rex," written for younger readers just advancing to chapter books. The series features two young best friends whose relationship is lovingly detailed in a series of small yet piquant and telling mini-adventures. In Pinky and Rex the duo test their new friendship over a pink dinosaur. Pinky has twenty-seven stuffed animals and Rex has twenty-seven dinosaurs. So when they see a one-of-a-kind pink dinosaur in the museum gift shop that would enhance each of their collections, they need a little help from Pinky's annoying little sister, Amanda, to decide what to do.

In Pinky and Rex and the Spelling Bee, the desire to win at a spelling bee is mixed with the embarrassment of a peeing accident, while fears about summer camp are broached in Pinky and Rex Go to Camp. Kindly Mrs. Morgan moves away in Pinky and Rex and the New Neighbors, and the two friends fear that the new neighbor will not be so nice. A pumpkin hunt forms the backdrop for familial rivalries and a clash between Rex and Pinky in Pinky and Rex and the Perfect Pumpkin, while in Pinky and Rex and the Just-Right Pet Pinky's disappointment over the family's new pet turns to love when the new kitten shows that he likes Pinky best.

The "Pinky and Rex" books have been well received by critics. Reviewing Pinky and Rex and the New Baby, a contributor to Kirkus Reviews called the book "another strong entry" and one that is noteworthy for its "lively, believable dialogue and realistic situation that gently tests the likable pair's mettle." Valerie F. Patterson noted in School Library Journal that those ready for chapter books "will appreciate this gentle story of two friends who really care about each other." Praising the series illustrations by Melissa Sweet, School Library Journal contributor Olga R. Kuharets wrote that in Pinky and Rex and the Just-Right Pet Howe presents young readers with "a realistic story with just the right amount of suspense and drama."

In addition to series titles, Howe has created several stand-alone books, including a retelling of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, a novel about a young orphaned girl who joins her invalid cousin in uncovering the secrets of a locked garden in her new home in rural England. Kaddish for Grandpa in Jesus' Name Amen is geared for children who are raised in more than one religious tradition; the story focuses on how five-year-old Emily incorporates the memories of her Christian grandfather with the Jewish faith of her immediate family after her grandfather passes away. While sermons about angels and Christian prayers are new to her when she attends the man's church funeral, when Emily and her family return home her father, who converted to Judaism as an adult, decides to mourn his father in the Jewish tradition, by sitting shivah. Noting that few books for children address interfaith families, Booklist reviewer Stephanie Zvirin dubbed Kaddish for Grandpa in Jesus' Name Amen exceptional, while Jane Marin wrote in School Library Journal that Howe's unusual book serves as "a good vehicle to explain the rituals of death to children."

In addition to his series books and picture books, Howe is well recognized as a novelist for middle-grade readers as well as young adults. His breezy dialogue comes into play with The New Nick Kramer; or, My Life as a Baby-Sitter, a spin-off of a script Howe wrote for the Disney Channel. Nick desperately wants to beat popular Mitch at something; he finally settles on getting a date with Jennifer, betting Mitch that she will ask him to a girl-ask-guy dance. To convince shallow Jennifer that he is not just another macho guy, Nick takes a babysitting class. The subsequent babysitting job he takes, and the girl he meets as a result, make all bets moot. Carrie A. Guarria noted in School Library Journal that "Nick's first-person narrative adds believability" to the story, as do the "ploys he erroneously uses to gain Jennifer's trust and companionship." Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Robin Tzannes commented that Howe "tells Nick Kramer's story with remarkably natu-
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ral dialogue and a hilarity that owes a great deal to television sitcoms, making this book hard for kids to put down."

Howe takes a different approach with his novels for older readers, such as The Watcher and The Misfits. A "somber, ambitious novel (about child abuse)," according to Stephanie Zvirin in Booklist, The Watcher employs three different narrative viewpoints as Howe tells the story of a solitary teen whose best friend at an island beach resort seems to be her notebook. Called "the Watcher" by others at the beach due to her habit of watching nearby the families and seemingly recording her impressions in a notebook, the young girl, Margaret, focuses on one family in particular, weaving herself fancifully into their lives. Other narrative viewpoints come from Evan, who is afraid his parents are divorcing, and the lifeguard Chris, who is trying to find his place with his family and the world.

Leigh Ann Jones, reviewing The Watcher in School Library Journal, had high praise, writing that the book is "so powerful that even after the last page is read, and Margaret is mercifully saved, her story may be reflected upon again and again." Nancy Thackaberry noted in Voice of Youth Advocates that "fans of Howe's middle-level books will not be shocked or disappointed by his realistic fiction. He handles these more mature topics in a way that bridges the younger reader to YA literature."

Twelve-year-old Bobby Goodspeed is the focus of The Misfits, which finds the twelve-year-old, part-time tie salesman joining four other friends—"Faggot" Joe, "Know-it-All" Addie, and "ree-tard" Skeezie—to turn the tables on the school bullies now that they have reached seventh grade. Overweight, Bobby has been assailed by taunts like "Lardo" and "Fatso" for years; now, when he finds the courage to speak out about name-calling during his run for student council, he transcends labels and gains the respect of his peers. While noting that Howe's characters seem "wiser than their years … and remarkably well-adjusted," a Publishers Weekly reviewer praised The Misfits as "an upbeat, reassuring novel that encourages preteens and teens to celebrate their individuality." Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman described the young characters' conversation as "right-on and funny," while a Kirkus reviewer wrote that Bobby's dialogue is "winsome and funny," and prompts readers to "discover how the names we call each other shape our vision of ourselves." The Misfits was the inspiration for annual No-Name-Calling Week, which takes place in many U.S. middle schools during the last week of January.

Whether penning continuing chapters in the ongoing saga of "Bunnicula," writing bracingly humorous picture books, or creating hard-hitting YA literature, Howe continues to directly address and entertain his young readers. "Howe's books are clever, often spoofs, and filled with contemporary references that entertain," com-mented Jane Anne Hannigan in an essay for the St. James Guide to Children's Writers. More than entertainment, however, Howe recognizes that his books, even those full of humor, serve a deeper purpose. "In the end," the author once commented in Horn Book, "my primary responsibility as a writer is to the hidden child in the reader and in myself, and to the belief that—though we are years apart—when I open my mouth to speak, the child will understand. Because in that hidden part of ourselves, we are one."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Children's Literature Review, Volume 9, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1985, pp. 54-60.

Howe, James, The Celery Stalks at Midnight, illustrated by Leslie Morrill, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1983.

St. James Guide to Children's Writers, edited by Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999, pp. 525-527.

Sixth Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators, edited by Sally Holmes Holtze, H. W. Wilson (Bronx, NY), 1989, pp. 135-137.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 1990, p. 1631; April 15, 1993, Kay Weisman, review of Rabbit-Cadabra!, p. 1523; August, 1994, p. 2046; December 15, 1994, p. 757; April 15, 1995, Lauren Peterson, review of Pinky and Rex and the Double-Dad Weekend, p. 1500; December 15, 1995, p. 704; April 1, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of Pinky and Rex and the Bully, p. 1364; June 1 & 15, 1997, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Watcher p. 1685; March 1, 1998, Janice Del Negro, review of Pinky and Rex and the New Baby, p. 1230; May 1, 1998, p. 1524; September 1, 1998, Carolyn Phelan, review of Pinky and Rex and the Perfect Pumpkin, p. 119; February 15, 1999, p. 1063; September, 1994, p. 46; October 15, 2000, Patricia Austin, review of The Celery Stalks at Midnight, p. 472; January 1, 2001, Jean Hatfield, review of Howliday Inn, p. 987; March 1, 2001, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Pinky and Rex and the Just-Right Pet, p. 1278; November 15, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of The Misfits, p. 572; August, 2002, Anne O'Malley, review of Invasion of the Mind Swappers from Asteroid 6!, p. 1961; October 1, 2002, Kathleen Odean, review of Howie Monroe and the Doghouse of Doom, p. 326; November, 15, 2002, Ilene Cooper, review of Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (but What about Dolores?), p. 610; May 1, 2004, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Bud Barkin, Private Eye, p. 1528; January 1, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of 13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen, p. 843; May 15, 2004, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Kaddish for Grandpa in Jesus' Name, Amen, p. 1621.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 1979, Zena Sutherland, review of Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery, p. 192; July-August, 1997, pp. 398-399.

Horn Book, March-April, 1985, James Howe, "Writing for the Hidden Child," pp. 156-161; March-April, 1990, pp. 178-183; September, 2001, Bridget McCaffrey, review of The Color of Absence, p. 586; November-December, 2001, Peter D. Sieruta, review of The Misfits, p. 750; January-February, 2003, Susan P. Bloom, review of Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (but What about Dolores?), p. 56.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1993, review of Pinky and Rex and the New Baby, p. 372; November 15, 1994, p. 1531; May 1, 1995, review of Rabbit-Cadabra!, p. 599; January 1, 1996, p. 69; January 15, 1998, p. 112; September 1, 2001, review of The Misfits, p. 1291; October 1, 2002, review of Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (but What about Dolores?), p. 1471; November 15, 2002, review of Screaming Mummies from the Pharaoh's Tomb II, p. 1695; September 15, 2003, review of 13, p. 1176; January 15, 2004, review of Bunnicula and Friends, p. 84; April 15, 2004, review for Kaddish for Grandpa in Jesus' Name, Amen, p. 394.

Kliatt, September, 1999, p. 17; May, 2003, Francisca Goldsmith, review of The Color of Absence, p. 28; July, 2003, Paula Rohrlick, review of The Misfits, p. 23.

New York Times Book Review, May 17, 1992; November 12, 1995, Robin Tzannes, review of The New Nick Kramer; or, My Life as a Baby-Sitter, p. 49.

Publishers Weekly, March 19, 1979, review of Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery, p. 94; March 19, 1982, review of Howliday Inn, p. 71; April 13, 1992; February 15, 1999, p. 107; October 29, 2001, review of The Misfits, p. 64; October 14, 2002, review of Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (but What about Dolores?), p. 83; November 17, 2003, review of 13, p. 65; April 26, 2004, review of Kaddish for Grandpa, in Jesus' Name, Amen, p. 62.

School Library Journal, November, 1987, p. 91; April, 1990, p. 120; April, 1993, pp. 96-97; June, 1993, Valerie F. Patterson, review of Pinky and Rex and the New Baby, p. 76; August, 1994, p. 150; March, 1995, pp. 181-182; January, 1996, Carrie A. Guarria, review of The New Nick Kramer; or, My Life as a Baby-Sitter, p. 108; April, 1996, Marilyn Taniguchi, review of Pinky and Rex and the Bully, p. 110; May, 1997, Leigh Ann Jones, review of The Watcher, p. 134; March, 1999, p. 176; October, 2000, Ann Elders, review of Bunnicula Strikes Again!, p. 92; May, 2001, Olga R. Kuharets, review of Pinky and Rex and the Just-Right Pet, p. 124; September, 2001, Susan Riley, review of The Color of Absence, p. 225; November, 2001, Louie Lahana, review of The Misfits, p. 158; November, 2002, Shelley B. Sutherland, review of Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (but What about Dolores?), p. 126, and John Sigwald, review of It Came from beneath the Bed, JoAnn Jonas, review of Howie Monroe and the Doghouse of Doom, and Wendy S. Carroll, review of Invasion of the Mid Swappers from Asteroid 6!, p. 169; August, 2003, Elaine E. Knight, review of Bud Barkin, Private Eye, p. 129; October, 2003, Janet Hilbun, review of 13, p. 167; July, 2004, Jane Marino, review of Kaddish for Grandpa in Jesus' Name, Amen, p. 78; May, 2005, Jennifer Ralston, review of Pinky and Rex and the Bully, p. 50.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1997, Nancy Thackaberry, review of The Watcher, p. 185.

[back] Maureen Howard Biography

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about 2 years ago

Nice bio!

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over 1 year ago

Dear Mr Howe

I recently read your book Misfits I think it is an amazing book it brings kids to understand nothing is impossible you are an amazing author I hope to read your other books also keep up the good work.

Sincerely Sander

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about 6 years ago

i had to do a book report and it printed so much information i could wrie a book.[in my own words of all means]

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about 6 years ago

i like his books