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Andy Rash Biography - Personal, Career, Writings, Sidelights

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Born in Kingsport, TN. Education: Savannah College of Art and Design, B.F.A.; New York School of Visual Arts, M.F.A.

Career

Freelance illustrator of magazines, newspapers, and children's books. Has also taught illustration at School of Visual Arts, New York, NY.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

The Robots Are Coming, and Other Problems, Arthur A. Levine Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Agent A to Agent Z, Arthur A. Levine Books (New York, NY), 2004.

ILLUSTRATOR

Daniel Pinkwater, Fat Camp Commandos, Scholastic Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Daniel Pinkwater, Fat Camp Commandos Go West, Scholastic Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Sidelights

With an artistic flair familiar to fans of Daniel Pinkwater's quirky Fat Camp Commandos and its humorous sequel, New York-based artist Andy Rash has illustrated the pages of magazines and newspapers as well as children's books. A graduate of New York's School of Visual Arts, Rash began his freelance career in the late 1990s, and with his first book for children, The Robots Are Coming, and Other Problems, quickly gained a reputation as a poet as well.

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Rash's second book, Agent A to Agent Z features a "clever plot for an alphabet book," according to Marianne Saccardi in School Library Journal. Rash's story begins when Agent A, suitably attired in a fedora and high-collared trench coat, is informed of his new mission: "Every spy who is official/uses works with his initial. / But one spy is out of line./ I need to know his name by nine." With that assignment, Agent A must then go through the alphabet in search of the covert colleague who is apparently breaking all the rules by not using works that begin with his signature initial. From B he spans the alphabet all the way to Agent Z—who is appropriately traveling via Zamboni.

Praising the author/illustrator's use of inky, "Pitch-black backgrounds sliced by intersecting planes of color," Booklist contributor Jennifer Mattson enjoyed Agent A to Agent Z, noting that Rash's "hip, hard-boiled romp has plenty of appeal, even for big kids who already know their letters." Noting that Rash's cartoon spy echoes the 1960s Bullwinkle cartoon villains Boris and Natasha Badinov and the "Spy v. Spy" comic strip from MAD magazine, Peter D. Sieruta wrote in Horn Book that, while some younger readers may not pick up on such mod references, "they'll enjoy investigating this clever alphabet caper." In School Library Journal Marianne Saccardi dubbed the book "fun and well executed," while a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the book "celebrates the aura of menace, the top-secret intrigue, [and] the neat-o equipment" of classic cold-war espionage.

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Rash, Andy, Agent A to Agent Z, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2004.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Agent A to Agent Z, p. 880.

Horn Book, March-April, 2004, Peter D. Sieruta, review of Agent A to Agent Z, p. 175.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2004, review of Agent A to Agent Z, p. 41.

Publishers Weekly, January 19, 2004, review of Agent A to Agent Z, p. 75.

School Library Journal, February, 2004, review of Agent A to Agent Z, p. 121.

ONLINE

Andy Rash Home Page, http://www.rashworks.com (June 11, 2005).

Pippin Properties Web site, http://www.pippinproperties.com/ (June 11, 2005), "Andy Rash."

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