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Jody Wheeler Biography (1952-) - Sidelights

weather books review wild

Children's book illustrator Jody Wheeler has worked on a variety of books, from nonfiction titles for middle readers to fiction titles for young readers. Focusing on extreme conditions, Wheeler has illustrated more than a half a dozen weather-related titles written by Lorraine Jean Hopping. Included in the series are Wild Weather: Blizzards, which combines historical incidents involving blizzards with facts about these massive storms and descriptions of the job of a meteorologist. Wild Weather: Lightning! includes facts about the study of lightning and its potential deadly consequences, with many maps and illustrations. Booklist's Ilene Cooper called the watercolor artwork in Wild Weather: Blizzards "effective."


Wheeler has also teamed up with author Rosemary Wells to produce a series of books for preschoolers, with Wheeler providing the interior artwork. In Read Me a Story, little kitten Yoko knows how to read but does not tell her mother for fear that she will stop reading to her. Yoko's ability comes from a decoder ring she sent for. Finding out about Yoko's talent, the mother assures the kitten that she will keep reading to her, and, in fact, allows Yoko to read to her. School Library Journal critic Anne Knickerbocker said of Wheeler's artwork, "Each page sports a bright, color illustration that will aid beginning readers in decoding the text."


Wheeler once told SATA: "I developed a greater than average interest in children's books at an early age, having been influenced and encouraged by my great-aunt Opal Wheeler, a prolific writer of books for young readers in the 1950s. After being trained as a fine artist and art educator, I moved to Manhattan in 1977, and eventually turned to the field of publishing. I worked as a design assistant/secretary at Dial Press in the juvenile books division for two years before establishing my own freelance illustration business in 1980. Since then, I have enjoyed working on a variety of projects ranging from picture books to educational texts and magazines, greeting cards to coloring books."


Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS


Booklist, May 15, 1999, Ilene Cooper, review of Wild Weather: Blizzards!, p. 1705.

School Library Journal, May, 1999, Patricia Manning, review of Wild Weather: Blizzards!, p. 108; August, 1999, Maura Bresnahan, review of Wild Weather: Lightning!, p. 147; January, 2002, Marilyn Taniguchi, review of The School Play, p. 112; October, 2002, Laurie von Mehren, review of Timothy's Tales from Hilltop School, p. 134; December, 2002, Anne Knickerbocker, review of Read Me a Story, p. 112.*

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