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Anne F(oote) Rockwell (1934–) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

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Born 1934, in Memphis, TN; Education: Attended Sculpture Center and Pratt Graphic Arts Center. Politics: "Liberal Democrat." Religion: Episcopalian.

Career

Author and illustrator. Silver Burdett Publishers, Morristown, NJ, member of production department, 1952; Young and Rubicam (advertising agency), art-buying secretary, 1953; Goldwater Memorial Hospital, New York, NY, assistant recreation leader, 1954–56.

Member

Authors Guild, Authors League of America.

Honors Awards

Boys Club Junior Book Award certificate, 1968, for The Minstrel and the Mountain: A Tale of Peace; American Institute of Graphic Arts selection for children's book show, 1971–72, for The Toolbox, 1973–74, for Head-to-Toe Games (and How to Play Them), The Awful Mess, and Paul and Arthur and the Little Explorer; Children's Book Showcase selection, 1973, for Toad, and 1975, for Befana: A Christmas Story; No More Work and Poor Goose: A French Folktale named among children's books of the year, Child Study Association, 1976; In Our House named a Redbook top ten children's picture book of 1985; Notable Books for Children citation, Smithsonian magazine, 1996, for The Storm; Society of School Librarians International Book Awards honor, 1999, for Our Earth; Best Children's Books of the Year citation, Bank Street College of Education, 2000, for Our Stars; New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year designation, 2000, Notable Books for Children citation, American Library Association (ALA), Not Just for Children Any More citation, Children's Book Council, Coretta Scott King Awards Honor Book designation, and Storytelling World Awards honor, all 2001, and Amelia Bloomer listee, ALA, 2002, all for Only Passing Through; Best Children's Books of the Year citation, Bank Street College of Education, 2002, for Morgan Plays Soccer; Best Children's Books of the Year citation, Bank Street College of Education, and Top Ten Religious Books for Youth designation, ALA, both 2002, both for The Prince Who Ran Away.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN'S BOOKS, EXCEPT AS NOTED

Paul and Arthur Search for the Egg, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1964.

Gypsy Girl's Best Shoes, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1966.

Sally's Caterpillar, illustrated by husband, Harlow Rockwell, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1966.

Filippo's Dome: Brunelleschi and the Cathedral of Florence, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1967.

The Stolen Necklace: A Picture Story from India, World (Cleveland, OH), 1968.

Glass, Stones, and Crown: The Abbe Suger and the Building of St. Denis, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1968.

The Good Llama: A Picture Story from Peru, World (Cleveland, OH), 1968.

Temple on a Hill: The Building of the Parthenon, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1968.

The Wonderful Eggs of Furicchia: A Picture Story from Italy, World (Cleveland, OH), 1968.

(Compiler) Savez-vous planter les choux? and Other French Songs, World (Cleveland, OH), 1968.

When the Drum Sang: An African Folktale, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1970.

(Adapter) The Monkey's Whiskers: A Brazilian Folktale, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1971.

El toro pinto and Other Songs in Spanish, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1971.

Paintbrush and Peacepipe: The Story of George Catlin, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1971.

Tuhurahura and the Whale, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1971.

What Bobolino Knew, McCall (New York, NY), 1971.

The Dancing Stars: An Iroquois Legend, Crowell (New York, NY), 1972.

Paul and Arthur and the Little Explorer, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1972.

The Awful Mess, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1973.

The Boy Who Drew Sheep, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1973.

Games (and How to Play Them), Crowell (New York, NY), 1973.

(Reteller) The Wolf Who Had a Wonderful Dream: A French Folktale, Crowell (New York, NY), 1973.

Befana: A Christmas Story, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1974.

Gift for a Gift, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1974.

The Gollywhopper Egg, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974.

The Story Snail, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974.

(Reteller) The Three Bears and Fifteen Other Stories, Crowell (New York, NY), 1975.

Big Boss, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1975.

(Reteller) Poor Goose: A French Folktale, Crowell (New York, NY), 1976.

No More Work, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1976.

I Like the Library, Dutton (New York, NY), 1977.

A Bear, a Bobcat, and Three Ghosts, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1977.

Albert B. Cub and Zebra: An Alphabet Storybook, Crowell (New York, NY), 1977.

Willy Runs Away, Dutton (New York, NY), 1978.

Timothy Todd's Good Things Are Gone, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1978.

Gogo's Pay Day, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1978.

Gogo's Car Breaks Down, illustrated by Harlow Rockwell, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1978.

Buster and the Bogeyman, Four Winds (New York, NY), 1978.

(Reteller) The Old Woman and Her Pig and Ten Other Stories, Crowell (New York, NY), 1979.

The Girl with a Donkey Tail, Dutton (New York, NY), 1979.

The Bump in the Night, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1979.

Walking Shoes, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1980.

Honk Honk!, Dutton (New York, NY), 1980.

Henry the Cat and the Big Sneeze, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1980.

Gray Goose and Gander and Other Mother Goose Rhymes, Crowell (New York, NY), 1980.

When We Grow Up, Dutton (New York, NY), 1981.

Up a Tall Tree, illustrated by Jim Arnosky, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1981.

Thump Thump Thump!, Dutton (New York, NY), 1981.

Boats, Dutton (New York, NY), 1982.

(Reteller) Hans Christian Andersen, The Emperor's New Clothes, Crowell (New York, NY), 1982.

Big Bad Goat, Dutton (New York, NY), 1982.

The Mother Goose Cookie-Candy Book, Random House (New York, NY), 1983.

Cars, Dutton (New York, NY), 1984.

Trucks, Dutton (New York, NY), 1984.

In Our House, Crowell (New York, NY), 1985.

Planes, Dutton (New York, NY), 1985.

First Comes Spring, Crowell (New York, NY), 1985.

The Three Sillies and Ten Other Stories to Read Aloud, Harper (New York, NY), 1986.

Big Wheels, Dutton (New York, NY), 1986, reprinted, Walker (New York, NY), 2003.

Fire Engines, Dutton (New York, NY), 1986.

Things That Go, Dutton (New York, NY), 1986.

At Night, Crowell (New York, NY), 1986.

At the Playground, Crowell (New York, NY), 1986.

In the Morning, Crowell (New York, NY), 1986.

In the Rain, Crowell (New York, NY), 1986.

Come to Town, Crowell (New York, NY), 1987.

Bear Child's Book of Hours, Crowell (New York, NY), 1987.

Bikes, Dutton (New York, NY), 1987.

Handy Hank Will Fix It, Holt (New York, NY), 1988.

Hugo at the Window, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1988.

Things to Play With, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1988.

Puss in Boots and Other Stories, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1988.

Trains, Dutton (New York, NY), 1988.

My Spring Robin, illustrated by Harlow Rockwell and daughter Lizzy Rockwell, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1989.

On Our Vacation, Dutton (New York, NY), 1989.

Bear Child's Book of Special Days, Dutton (New York, NY), 1989.

Willy Can Count, Arcade (New York, NY), 1989.

Hugo at the Park, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1990.

When Hugo Went to School, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1990.

Root-a-Toot-Toot, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1991.

What We Like, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1992.

Mr. Panda's Painting, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1993.

The Robber Baby: Stories from the Greek Myths, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1994.

The Way to Captain Yankee's, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1994.

Ducklings and Pollywogs, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1994.

(With David Brion) Space Vehicles, Dutton (New York, NY), 1994.

The Storm, illustrated by Robert Sauber, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1994.

No! No! No!, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1995.

(Reteller) The Acorn Tree and Other Folktales, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1995.

Sweet Potato Pie, illustrated by Carolyn Croll, Random House (New York, NY), 1996.

The One-eyed Giant and Other Monsters from the Greek Myths, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1996.

I Fly, illustrated by Annette Cable, Crown (New York, NY), 1997.

Once upon a Time This Morning, illustrated by Suçie Stevenson, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1997.

Romulus and Remus, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.

Our Earth, Harcourt Brace (San Diego, CA), 1998.

One Bean, illustrated by Megan Halsey, Walker (New York, NY), 1998.

Our Stars, Harcourt Brace (San Diego, CA), 1999.

Ferryboat Ride!, illustrated by Maggie Smith, Crown (New York, NY), 1999.

Bumblebee, Bumblebee, Do You Know Me?: A Garden Guessing Game, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.

Long Ago Yesterday, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1999.

Pumpkin Day, Pumpkin Night, illustrated by Megan Halsey, Walker (New York, NY), 1999.

The Boy Who Wouldn't Obey: A Mayan Legend, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2000.

Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth, Knopf (New York, NY), 2000.

Welcome to Kindergarten, Walker (New York, NY), 2001.

The Prince Who Ran Away: The Story of Gautama Buddha, illustrated by Fahimeh Amiri, Knopf (New York, NY), 2001.

Morgan Plays Soccer, illustrated by Paul Meisel, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.

Growing Like Me, illustrated by Holly Keller, Silver Whistle (San Diego, CA), 2001.

Bugs Are Insects, illustrated by Steve Jenkins, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.

They Called Her Molly Pitcher, illustrated by Cynthia von Buhler, Knopf (New York, NY), 2002.

My Pet Hamster, illustrated by Bernice Lum, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

Becoming Butterflies, illustrated by Megan Halsey, Walker (New York, NY), 2002.

Katie Catz Makes a Splash, illustrated by Paul Meisel, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.

Two Blue Jays, illustrated by Megan Halsey, Walker (New York, NY), 2003.

Seba the Scribe: A Story of Ancient Egypt, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.

At the Firehouse, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.

Four Seasons Make a Year, illustrated by Megan Halsey, Walker (New York, NY), 2004.

Chip and the Karate Kick, illustrated by Paul Meisel, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

Big George, illustrated by Matthew Trueman, Silver Whistle (San Diego, CA), 2004.

Little Shark, illustrated by Megan Halsey, Walker (New York, NY), 2005.

Honey in a Hive, illustrated by S. D. Schindler, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.

Good Morning, Digger, illustrated by Melanie Hope Greenberg, Viking (New York, NY), 2005.

Brendan and Belinda and the Slam Dunk, illustrated by Paul Meisel, HarperCollins (New York, NY) 2005.

At the Train Station, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.

WITH HUSBAND, HARLOW ROCKWELL; SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Olly's Polliwogs, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1970.

Molly's Woodland Garden, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1971.

The Toolbox, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1971, reprinted, Walker (New York, NY), 2004.

Machines, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1972.

Thruway, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1972.

Toad, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1972.

Head to Toe, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1973.

Blackout, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1979.

The Supermarket, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1979.

Out to Sea, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1980.

My Barber, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1981.

Happy Birthday to Me, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1981.

I Play in My Room, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1981.

Can I Help?, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1982.

How My Garden Grew, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1982.

I Love My Pets, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1982.

Sick in Bed, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1982.

The Night We Slept Outside, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1983.

My Back Yard, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1984.

Our Garage Sale, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1984.

When I Go Visiting, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1984.

Nice and Clean, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1984.

My Baby-Sitter, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1985.

The Emergency Room, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1985, published as Going to Casualty, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1987.

At the Beach, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1987.

The First Snowfall, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1987.

ILLUSTRATED BY DAUGHTER, LIZZY ROCKWELL

Apples and Pumpkins, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1989.

Our Yard Is Full of Birds, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1992.

Pots and Pans, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1993.

Show and Tell Day, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.

Halloween Day, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.

Thanksgiving Day, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.

Valentine's Day, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1999.

Career Day, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

What Good Are Alligators?, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

Valentine's Day, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.

100 School Days, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

Mother's Day, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

Father's Day, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.

ILLUSTRATOR

Marjorie Hopkins, The Three Visitors, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1967.

Jane Yolen, The Minstrel and the Mountain: A Tale of Peace, World (Cleveland, OH), 1967.

Lillian Bason, Eric and the Little Canal Boat, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1967.

Marjorie Hopkins, The Glass Valentine, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1968.

Paul Showers, What Happens to a Hamburger?, Crowell (New York, NY), 1970.

Kathryn Hitte, Mexacali Soup, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1970.

Joseph Jacobs, Munacher and Manacher: An Irish Story, Crowell (New York, NY), 1970.

Anne Petry, Legends of the Saints, Crowell (New York, NY), 1970.

Joseph Jacobs, Master of All Masters, Grosset (New York, NY), 1972.

Marjorie Hopkins, A Gift for Tolum, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1972.

Walter Dean Myers, The Dancers, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1972.

Barbara Brenner, Cunningham's Rooster, Parents Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1975.

Barbara Williams, Never Hit a Porcupine, Dutton (New York, NY), 1977.

Gerda Mantinband, Bing Bong Band and Fiddle Dee Dee, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1979.

Clyde Robert Bulla, The Stubborn Old Woman, Crowell (New York, NY), 1980.

Patricia Plante and David Bergman, retellers, The Turtle and the Two Ducks and Ten Other Animal Fables Freely Retold from La Fontaine, Crowell (New York, NY), 1980.

Steven Kroll, Toot! Toot!, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1983.

Adaptations

The Stolen Necklace: A Picture Story from India, was adapted as a film by Paramount/Oxford, 1971; The Toolbox and Machines were adapted as filmstrips, Threshold Filmstrips, 1974.

Sidelights

In a career spanning more than three decades, prolific author-illustrator Anne F. Rockwell has created over one hundred titles of her own, contributed to over thirty collaborative efforts with husband Harlow Rockwell and daughter Lizzy Rockwell, and gained artwork credits on nearly twenty works by other authors. Rockwell has also gradually decreased the age of her target audience. Initially producing works for middle graders, she has increasingly turned to picture books and board books for preschool and beginning readers, writing in genres from myths and folktales to simple science to feel-good animal picture books. All of Rockwell's works maintain "a simplicity within diversity … which both satisfies and stimulates young readers," according to Christine Doyle Stott in the St. James Guide to Children's Writers.

Rockwell was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but also spent time in the Midwest and Southwest while growing up. Although she attended both the Sculpture Center and Pratt Graphic Arts Center, the artist relied mainly on self-teaching to learn her trade. She worked at an advertising agency before marrying another artist, Harlow Rockwell. After the couple had their first child, Rockwell realized that she wanted to produce children's books to share the joy of reading she had first experienced as a youngster.

Rockwell's early publications were aimed at the middle-grade audience and include biographical and historical works such as Filippo's Dome, Glass, Stones, and Crown: The Abbe Suger and the Building of St. Denis, Temple on a Hill: The Building of the Parthenon, and Paintbrush and Peacepipe: The Story of George Catlin. In the first of these, "a simple, pleasing account," ac-
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cording to Ruth P. Bull in Booklist, Rockwell tells the story of Filippo Brunelleschi and the building of the Cathedral of Florence. She does the same for the Gothic gem of St. Denis in Paris with Glass, Stones and Crown, mingling the biography of the church's founder with the story of the building's architecture. "This is a book as interesting for its historical material as for its architectural focus," declared a reviewer for the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. The Parthenon is put into historical context with Temple on a Hill, and George Catlin, a famous painter of Native Americans, comes under Rockwell's biographical lens in Paintbrush and Peacepipe, called a "superior and pertinent biography" by a Publishers Weekly critic.

Other early self-illustrated publications from Rockwell include The Dancing Stars: An Iroquois Legend, The Good Llama: A Picture Story from Peru, and The Stolen Necklace: A Picture Story from India, all of which introduce readers to folktales from different cultures. In the late 1970s, however, Rockwell changed her focus to informative works for children just learning to read. With works such as I Like the Library, Walking Shoes, and When We Grow Up, she provides simple text and detailed, attention-grabbing pictures.

These books have earned their author praise due to their straightforward presentations of everyday objects and occurrences. Kimberly Olson Fakih, writing in Publishers Weekly, highlighted editor Ann Durrell's comment that Rockwell shows genius in her nonfiction works. "In [Rockwell's] books, kids can see what's meaningful to them and what's around them," Durrell stated. An example of her nonfiction work is Rockwell's series of books explaining various types of transportation. Boats, Cars, Planes, Trucks, Trains, and Bikes feature lively watercolor illustrations—with animals operating the machinery—and easy-to-understand prose. Reviewing Boats, a Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "'Neatness counts' is the maxim Rockwell seems to have taken to heart, but her fastidious standards don't inhibit the artist from infusing the pictures in her many books with animation, appealing creatures and lovely colors." Horn Book writer Ann A. Flowers called Boats "an outstanding example of an informational picture book."

Rockwell has continued her string of successful, eye-pleasing, and educational works. In Willy Can Count, she presents a counting game played by mother and son during a walk. In her illustrations, Rockwell provides plenty of objects to count, prompting Joanna G. Jones of School Library Journal to remark that Willy Can Count is "bound to become a favorite." More recent additions to her line of informational books Our Stars, a book that deals with stars, planets, meteors, comets, and moons, and Ferryboat Ride!, which introduces nautical concepts such as "bow" and "stern" in its story of a young girl and her family on their trip to a summer vacation spot. A Publishers Weekly critic concluded that readers "will want to set sail themselves after experiencing this ferryboat ride."

Rockwell tackles the difficult concepts of slavery in a biography of nineteenth-century abolitionist and former slave Sojourner Truth, Only Passing Through. Praising the author's ability, Mickey commented in Christian Parenting Today that "Telling the truth about slavery without overwhelming young readers takes a master's touch," something, the critic implied, that Rockwell demonstrates. Only Passing Through "clearly shows Sojourner's courage," commented a School Library Journal reviewer.

Molly Hays, better known as Molly Pitcher, is the subject of They Called Her Molly Pitcher. Hays followed her husband to the battlefield during the Revolutionary War, providing water to the colonial soldiers, taking over firing her husband's cannon when he fell wounded, and, after the war, being made a sergeant by General George Washington. "It's a pleasure to read," noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor of the book. Rockwell gives Hays "star treatment in this stirring picture book biography," a Publishers Weekly reviewer enthused, while Susan P. Bloom wrote in Horn Book that "Rockwell's text is long but lively." School Library Journal reviewer Anne Chapman concluded, "The language is inviting, the story, exciting."

In addition to her informational titles, Rockwell's solo picture-book efforts for young readers fall into three main categories: easy readers, stories about animals, and folktales and legends. In the first category—by far the largest—Rockwell employs simple, often repetitive language with bright, bold pictures to capture the attention of preschoolers and beginning readers. Typical of such easy readers are The Gollywhopper Egg, The Story Snail, No! No! No!, and Bumblebee, Bumblebee, Do You Know Me?, and, with illustrator Megan Halsey, Pumpkin Day, Pumpkin Night and Becoming Butterflies.

Reviewing the first title, about a clever peddler who trades his wares—including a "gollywhopper egg"—for farmers' produce, a Publishers Weekly reviewer declared that the "noted author-illustrator is at her bright best." The tale of a magical snail who gives young John a hundred stories with which to amaze his friends, The Story Snail is "[f]un for the beginning reader," according to Horn Book contributor Virginia Haviland. Another little boy is at the center of No! No! No!, but this one is cantankerous, out of sorts, and having a very bad day. Only a soothing bedtime story can begin to put him to rights. Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman concluded that "Kids will laugh at the common misfortune; they'll sympathize with the irritation and draw comfort from the ending when things begin to change."

With Bumblebee, Bumblebee, Do You Know Me? Rockwell "created a graceful primer on the inhabitants of the backyard garden," according to a Publishers Weekly writer, while the search for a perfect pumpkin is the focus of Pumpkin Day, Pumpkin Night. Becoming Butterflies gives a lesson in how caterpillars grow into butterflies. A Kirkus Reviews contributor praised, "this is good to go to for general background reading," which might encourage children to read more on butterflies. School Library Journal critic Ellen Heath, noting that the book uses the premise of a class studying butterflies, commented that "the text makes clear the science of metamorphosis, and leavens the story with the humor of the children's comments."

Halsey and Rockwell have also teamed up for a book following the same class in Becoming Butterflies: Two Blue Jays. The students now have blue jays nesting outside their classroom window. A Kirkus Reviews critic called the book "a clear, concise explanation of a natural event," while a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author and illustrator "share an abundance of bird information in an organic, personal way."

Bugs Are Insects, My Pet Hamster, and Growing like Me are two informational books for very young readers. In the first, an entry into the "Let's-Read-and-Find-out-
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Science" series, Rockwell illuminates the differences between bugs, beetles, spiders, and insects. "The spare, carefully written text makes the distinction between insects and bugs quite clear," noted Shelley Townsend-Hudson in her Booklist review, while School Library Journal reviewer Lisa Gangema Krapp considered the title a "well-written and informative book." A reviewer for Horn Book noted that Rockwell gets the lessons across "without ever talking down to her audience."

My Pet Hamster, also part of the "Let's-Read-and-Find-out-Science" series, is "a useful title for reading out loud or independently," commented Pamela K. Bomboy in School Library Journal. The book features a young girl discussing how to care for her pet. Growing like Me follows a toddler through his world, who points out how everything grows and changes to his little brother. Hazel Rochman of Booklist praised Rockwell's use of "simple, rhythmic words," while a Publishers Weekly critic considered the book "An amiable introduction to natural growth."

For readers beginning their first years of school, Rockwell penned Welcome to Kindergarten, which Judith Constantinides described as "a quiet, reassuring look at kindergarten routines." Another factual book gives young readers a tour of the fire department with At the Firehouse, which a Kirkus Reviews contributor considered to be "Rockwell at her best: lively, informative, and tuned to the storts of details that fascinate younger children." Lisa Dennis of School Library Journal considered the book "a perfect introduction to the popular topic."

Animals prove to be a favorite Rockwell motif in many picture books. A bear child is featured in First Comes Spring, "a good choice for sharing with groups and a popular choice for story hours," according to Horn Book contributor Elizabeth S. Watson. An entire bear family heads off to a busy day in Come to Town, a book that Nancy A. Gifford, writing in School Library Journal, felt "should be extremely popular with preschool children and should be useful for nursery schools." Another sort of bear altogether is at the center of Mr. Panda's Painting. When the panda in question, a painter, runs out of paint, he heads off to the art store to buy some more, purchasing an entire rainbow of color. Stephanie Zvirin noted in Booklist that "Rockwell's crisp, simple shades, outlined in thick black lines, have much child appeal."

Myths and folktales are another constant motif for Rockwell, and she has collected them from around the world. The Wolf Who Had a Wonderful Dream is a French folktale, set in Normandy, while What Bobolino Knew is a Sicilian legend, and Befana is a European Christmas tale. More recent additions to the list include the Greek myths collected in both The Robber Baby and The One-eyed Giant and Other Monsters from the Greek Myths. Reviewing the former title in Booklist, Carolyn Phelan noted that "Rockwell has written a dependable source of Greek myths in a format suitable for the early elementary grades."

The Acorn Tree and Other Folktales features Rockwell's retellings from Aesop, among others. The Prince Who Ran Away combines a biography and folktales as Rockwell tells stories from the life of Siddhartha, the man who became known as Buddha. While the stories are simplified so that young readers can understand the religious concepts involved, on the whole a Kirkus Reviews contributor found that "Rockwell's version is accessible." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented
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that the author's "accomplished prose … blends factual information with fanciful miracle tales," and Coop Renner of School Library Journal noted that the book seems to "present Buddhism as Buddha might have seen it." Still, "children will probably still need to share this with an adult," cautioned Gillian Engberg, writing for Booklist.

In 2001, Rockwell teamed up with Paul Meisel to create the "Good Sports" series, starting with Morgan Plays Soccer. Morgan, a young bear, moves into a new neighborhood, and his monkey neighbor, Nina Jane, talks him into playing on the soccer team. Though he has trouble remembering not to catch the ball, he begins to develop confidence and is especially pleased when the coach places him as the goalie, where he can catch all he wants. "Rockwell spotlights a common childhood scenario," noted a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Blair Christolon, writing for School Library Journal, considered the book "an appealing addition for that ever-popular soccer season." Lauren Peterson wrote in Booklist, "What comes across best, perhaps, is the importance of finding one's special talent and the value of patience and practice.

Rockwell and Meisel have also teamed up for a story about a cat swimmer titled Katie Catz Makes a Splash. Katie is reluctant to learn to swim, but her mother thinks it is an important skill, so Katie goes off to the pool to face her fears. A Publishers Weekly contributor noticed that Rockwell focuses "on the rewards of courage and hard work." A rabbit martial artist signs up for karate lessons in Chip and the Karate Kick. Chip is a natural, but his teacher will not let him advance until he learns that martial arts is more than just kicking and punching—it's also about social responsibility. Readers will "benefit from this understated study in developing a better attitude," according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Booklist reviewer Jennifer Mattson felt that while the message is a little heavy handed, she complimented "the inclusion of lots of facts about the art form's history and practice." Gay Lynn Van Vleck commented that Rockwell "successfully captures her audience's attention."

In another productive collaboration, Rockwell wrote and illustrated numerous books with her husband, Harlow Rockwell, until his death in 1988. Their book Toad presents "a congenial and informative look at the life cycle" of that animal, according to a Publishers Weekly contributor, while Out to Sea tells of an unintended maritime adventure involving a brother and sister. Another work, The Emergency Room, describes a protagonist's trip to the hospital after spraining his ankle. P. Susan Gerrity, writing in the New York Times Book Review, remarked that The Emergency Room "provides excellent background information" and will reassure children afraid of visiting the hospital. The same demystification process is undertaken in My Barber, in which "clean lines, spacious composition, solid blocks of color, and plenty of white space" are all combined, according to a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor, to take the mystery out of a trip to the barber. The husband and wife team continued their "My World" series with How My Garden Grew and Sick in Bed, both of which "are alive with realism and color," noted Peggy Forehand in School Library Journal.

Rockwell has continued the tradition of family collaboration, working with her illustrator daughter Lizzy Rockwell on several titles. Their Apples and Pumpkins is a "charming seasonal picture book with an easy-to-read text," according to Roseanne Cerny in School Library Journal, while Our Yard Is Full of Birds is "an appealing backyard bird book" appropriate for "the very young," according to Phelan. Mother and daughter have also teamed up for a series on holidays of the year. A Kirkus Reviews critic noted that Halloween Day contains a "simple" text and "sweet watercolor illustrations," making the book age-appropriate for the very young. Piper L. Nyman, reviewing Valentine's Day for School Library Journal, praised the "simple and accessible text" found in the book. Celebrating the hundredth day of school as a holiday of its own, the Rockwells produced 100 School Days, in which students study counting. School Library Journal contributor Lisa Gangemi praised that Lizzy Rockwell's "realistically rendered illustrations are drenched in color." Carolyn Phelan, writing in Booklist, assured, "Teachers will be happy to add this to … stories about the one hundredth day of school." Mother's Day "adds to a winning streak of classroom books," according to Connie Fletcher in Booklist, the critic concluding that "This winsome, instructive book … can be read anytime."

Praising Rockwell's body of work, a Kirkus Reviews writer described the prolific writer/illustrator as "a well-loved author known for her simple books for the very young." Rockwell herself concurs with at least the second part of this description. As she wrote in the St. James Guide to Children's Writers, "My books are for the youngest of children. I loved, and still love, young children's picture books. I feel fortunate to have retained a sense of how young children see the world which enables me to do books for them…. I see that they are visually very alert and that illustrations can communicate where words are still difficult. In pictures they see everything."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Authors of Books for Young People, 3rd edition, Scarecrow (Metuchen, NJ), 1990.

Silvey, Anita, editor, Children's Books and Their Creators, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1995.

St. James Guide to Children's Writers, 5th edition, edited by Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Something about the Author Autobiography Series, Volume 19, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1995.

PERIODICALS

Book, May, 2001, Kathleen Odean, review of Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth, p. 80.

Booklist, June 1, 1967, Ruth P. Bull, review of Filippo's Dome, p. 1148; September 15, 1989, p. 189; January 15, 1992, Carolyn Phelan, review of Our Yard Is Full of Birds, p. 946; October 15, 1992, p. 436; November 1, 1993, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Mr. Panda's Painting, p. 532; June 1 and 15, 1994, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Robber Baby, p. 1832; December 15, 1994, p. 760; May, 1995, Hazel Rochman, review of No! No! No! p. 1580; October 1, 1995, pp. 324-25; April 22, 1996, p. 73; May 1, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of Growing Like Me, p. 1284, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of Bugs Are Insects, p. 1687; August, 2001, Lauren Peterson, review of Morgan Plays Soccer, p. 2132; December 15, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of The Prince Who Ran Away: The Story of Gautama Buddha, p. 731; January 1, 2002, Gillian Engberg, review of The Prince Who Ran Away, p. 855; February 15, 2002, Patricia Austin, review of Only Passing Through, p. 1038; March 15, 2002, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Becoming Butterflies, p. 1261; April 15, 2002, Carolyn Phelan, review of They Called Her Molly Pitcher, p. 1400; September 15, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of 100 School Days, p. 242; May 1, 2003, Gillian Engberg, review of Two Blue Jays, p. 1606; February 15, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of Four Seasons Make a Year, p. 1061, Connie Fletcher, review of Mother's Day, p. 1064; May 1, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Chip and the Karate Kick, p. 1564.

Books for Keeps, May, 1990, p. 12.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 1969, review of Glass, Stones, and Crown, p. 117; May, 1981, review of My Barber, p. 179; March, 1992, p. 191; March, 1993, p. 224; April, 1996, p. 278.

Christian Parenting Today, March, 2001, Mickey, review of Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth, p. 62.

Horn Book, October, 1979, Virginia Haviland, review of The Story Snail, pp. 133-134; October, 1982, Ann A. Flowers, review of Boats, pp. 512-513; July-August, 1985, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of First Comes Spring, p. 442; November, 1987, p. 731; November, 1989, p. 764; September, 2001, review of Bugs Are Insects, p. 614; May-June, 2002, Susan P. Bloom, review of They Called Her Molly Pitcher, p. 349.

Instructor, November-December, 2002, Judy Freeman, review of They Called Her Molly Pitcher, p. 57.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1993, p. 378; June 1, 1994, review of The Robber Baby, p. 781; June 15, 1997, review of Halloween Day, p. 956; July 1, 1999, p. 1057; October 15, 2001, review of The Prince Who Ran Away, p. 1491; January 15, 2002, review of Becoming Butterflies, p. 107; April 1, 2002, review of They Called Her Molly Pitcher, p. 498; June 15, 2002, review of 100 School Days, p. 887; February 15, 2003, review of Two Blue Jays, p. 316; August 1, 2003, review of At the Firehouse, p. 1023; February 1, 2004, review of Four Seasons Make a Year, p. 138; May 1, 2004, review of Chip and the Karate Kick, p. 447.

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New York Times Book Review, April 21, 1985, Susan P. Gerrity, review of The Emergency Room, p. 18.

Publishers Weekly, November 15, 1971, review of Paintbrush and Peacepipe, p. 72; June 26, 1972, review of Toad, p. 63; January 14, 1974, review of The Gollywhopper Egg, pp. 94-95; October 15, 1982, review of Boats, p. 65; February 26, 1988, Kimberly Olson Fakih, "The News Is Nonfiction," pp. 108-111; January 11, 1999, review of Bumblebee, Bumblebee, Do You Know Me? p. 70; May 17, 1999, review of Ferryboat Ride!, p. 79; March 12, 2001, Growing like Me, p. 88; July 16, 2001, review of Morgan Plays Soccer, p. 179; November 19, 2001, review of The Prince Who Ran Away, p. 67; April 29, 2002, review of They Called Her Molly Pitcher, p. 71; March 3, 2003, review of Two Blue Jays, p. 75; May 5, 2003, review of Katie Catz Makes a Splash, p. 220; October 27, 2003, review of At the Firehouse, p. 72; March 29, 2004, "True Companions," p. 64.

School Library Journal, May, 1982, Peggy Forehand, review of How My Garden Grew and Sick in Bed, p. 56; November, 1987, Nancy A. Gifford, review of Come to Town, p. 96; August, 1989, p. 131; November, 1989, Roseanne Cerny, review of Apples and Pumpkins, pp. 91-92; January, 1990, Joanna G. Jones, review of Willy Can Count, p. 89; January, 1991, p. 37; February, 1993, p. 78; January, 1995, p. 92; July, 1995, p. 68; October, 1995, pp. 128-129; February, 1999, p. 88; May, 1999, p. 112; June, 1999, p. 106; March, 2001, Judith Constantinides, review of Welcome to Kindergarten, p. 133; April, 2001, Piper L. Nyman, review of Valentine's Day, p. 121, Judith Constantinides, review of Growing like Me, p. 134; August, 2001, Blair Christolon, review of Morgan Plays Soccer, p. 158; October, 2001, Lisa Gangemi Krapp, review of Bugs Are Insects, p. 146; December, 2001, Coop Renner, review of The Prince Who Ran Away, p. 128; March, 2002, review of Only Passing Through, p. 90, Ellen Heath, review of Becoming Butterflies, p. 220; June, 2002, Anne Chapman, review of They Called Her Molly Pitcher, p. 124; September, 2002, Lisa Gangemi, review of 100 School Days, p. 205; May, 2003, Susan Scheps, review of Two Blue Jays, p. 128; December, 2003, Lisa Dennis, review of At the Firehouse, p. 124; March, 2004, Andrea Tarr, review of Mother's Day, p. 180; June, 2004, Gay Lynn Van Vleck, review of Chip and the Karate Kick, p. 118; July, 2004, Lisa G. Kropp, review of 100 School Days, p. 44.

ONLINE

Children's Literature Web site, http://www.childrenslit.com/ (July 18, 2005).

Kristina Rodanas (1952-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights [next]

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