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Ann Schweninger (1951–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1951, in Boulder, CO; Education: Attended University of Colorado, 1969–72; California Institute of the Arts, B.F. A., 1975.

Addresses

Agent—Maggie Byer-Sprinzeles, 5800 Arlington Ave., No. 16-E, Riverdale, NY 10471.

Career

Author and illustrator of children's books, 1973–.

Honors Awards

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor Book, American Library Association, 2006, for Amanda Pig and the Really Hot Day, by Jean Van Leeuwen.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN; SELF-ILLUSTRATED, EXCEPT AS NOTED

The Hunt for Rabbit's Galosh, illustrated by Kay Chorao, Doubleday, 1976.

A Dance for Three, Dial, 1979.

(Compiler) The Man in the Moon as He Sails the Sky, and Other Moon Verse, Dodd, 1979.

On My Way to Grandpa's, Dial Press, 1981.

Christmas Secrets, Puffin Books (New York, NY), 1984.

Halloween Surprises, Viking (New York, NY), 1984.

Birthday Wishes, Viking (New York, NY), 1986.

The Christmas Tree and Other Poems of the Season, Golden Book (New York, NY), 1987.

Off to School!, Viking (New York, NY), 1987.

Valentine Friends, Viking (New York, NY), 1988.

Wintertime, Puffin Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Autumn Days, Viking (New York, NY), 1991.

Summertime, Viking (New York, NY), 1991.

Springtime, Viking (New York, NY), 1992.

ILLUSTRATOR

Jean Marzollo, Amy Goes Fishing, Dial (New York, NY), 1981.

Janice M. Udry, Thump and Plunk, Harper (New York, NY), 1981.

Jim Erskine, Bedtime Story, Crown (New York, NY), 1982.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Amanda Pig and Her Big Brother Oliver, Dial (New York, NY), 1982.

Mary Caldwell, Morning, Rabbit, Morning, Harper (New York, NY), 1982.

Dewitt Conyers, compiler, Animal Poems for Children, Western Publishing (Racine, WI), 1982.

Alan Benjamin, Ribtickle Town, Crown (New York, NY), 1983.

Ben Cruise, reteller, The Musicians of Bremen, Golden Press (New York, NY), 1983.

Nancy Jewell, ABC Cat, Harper (New York, NY), 1983.

Mabel Watts, Henrietta and the Hat, Golden Books (New York, NY), 1985.

Jean Van Leeuwen, More Tales of Amanda Pig, Dial Books (New York, NY), 1985.

Maida Silverman, Peter's Welcome, Golden Book (New York, NY), 1985.

Clara A. Nestor, editor, Mother Goose and Other Nursery Rhymes, Golden Book (New York, NY), 1986.

Doris Orgel, reteller, Godfather Cat and Mousie, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1986.

Melanie Donovan, selector, The Mother Goose Word Book, Golden Book (Racine, WI), 1987.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Oliver, Amanda, and Grandmother Pig, Dial Books (New York, NY), 1987.

Joanna Cole and Stephanie Calmenson, The Read-Aloud Treasury, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1988.

Linda Hayward, The Runaway Christmas Toy, Random House (New York, NY), 1988.

Mary Packard, adaptor, Two-Minute Fairy Tales, Golden Book (Racine, WI), 1988.

(With Christopher Santoro) Favorite Mother Goose and Animal Tales: Including The Three Little Pigs, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, Western Publishing (Racine, WI), 1989.

Jean Marzollo, The Teddy Bear Book, Dial (New York, NY), 1989.

Linda Hayward, Alphabet School, Random House (New York, NY), 1989.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Oliver and Amanda's Christmas, Dial Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Oliver Pig at School, Dial Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Amanda Pig on Her Own, Dial Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Oliver and Amanda's Halloween, Dial Books (New York, NY), 1992.

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Western Publishing (Racine, WI), 1992.

Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Western Publishing (Racine, WI), 1992.

Frances W. Zweifel, The Make-Something Club: Fun with Crafts, Food, and Gifts, Viking (New York, NY), 1994.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Oliver and Amanda and the Big Snow, Dial Books (New York, NY), 1995.

Gail Herman, The Littlest Duckling, Viking (New York, NY), 1996.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Amanda Pig, School Girl, Dial Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Frances Zweifel, The Make-Something Club Is Back!: More Fun with Crafts, Food, and Gifts, Viking (New York, NY), 1997.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Amanda Pig and Her Best Friend Lollipop, Dial Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Oliver and Albert, Friends Forever, Phyllis Fogelman Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Marcia K. Vaughan, We're Going on a Ghost Hunt, Silver Whistle (San Diego, CA), 2001.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Amanda Pig and the Awful Scary Monster, Phyllis Fogelman Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Oliver the Mighty Pig, Dial Books (New York, NY, 2003.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Amanda Pig and the Really Hot Day, Dial Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Oliver Pig and the Best Fort Ever, Dial Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Amanda Pig and the Wiggly Tooth, Dial Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Sidelights

Author and illustrator Ann Schweninger is noted for her gentle, well-detailed watercolor-and-ink illustrations. With picture books such as A Dance for Three and The Man in the Moon as He Sails the Sky, and Other Moon Verse to her credit, her watercolor renderings have also graced the works of other writers, including those of Jean Van Leeuwen, Frances Zweifel, and Gail Herman. A more unusual illustration project paired Schweninger with Beatrix Potter, a British writer and illustrator whose classic story book The Tale of Peter Rabbit was reillustrated by Schweninger in 1992, over ninety years after its initial publication.

Born in 1951 in Boulder, Colorado, Schweninger was the daughter of two teachers who provided her with an upbringing that included an early love of books in all shapes and sizes. After graduating from high school in 1968, she attended the University of Colorado for a year before taking a break from her education. Classes in art and illustration followed at California's Institute of the Arts, where Schweninger received her bachelor of fine arts degree in 1975.

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Schweninger's first written work for children was The Hunt for Rabbit's Galosh. Her only work that was not self-illustrated, The Hunt for Rabbit's Galosh was followed by numerous other stories, including A Dance for Three, The Man in the Moon as He Sails the Sky, and Other Moon Verse, and On My Way to Grandpa's. Augmented with watercolor pictures that Horn Book critic Karen Klockner called "delicately painted … in soft muted colors," The Man in the Moon as He Sails the Sky, and Other Moon Verse contains twenty-one poems collected from both traditional and modern sources that describe nighttime. Verse from Mother Goose and limericist Edward Lear to such poets as Vachel Lindsay and Kathryn Maxwell Smith are all represented, making the volume "a sometimes mellow, sometimes sprightly collection especially appropriate for sleepy-time reading," according to Barbara Elleman in her Booklist critique.

Darkness gives way to a colorful rainbow in On My Way to Grandpa's as a young girl ventures out into a late spring shower to walk down her country road on the way to Grandpa's house. With subdued color washes depicting squirrels, ants, and rabbits each awaiting the downpour's end, Schweninger's gentle story was praised by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as "a low-keyed, soothing adventure [that] is a winning candidate for bedtime reading."

Awaiting special days of the year provides much of childhood's excitement, and Schweninger captures this spirit of anticipation in a series of books that focus on holidays and other important family events. In Christ-mas Secrets a family of rabbits makes preparations for Christmas—writing letters to Santa Claus, baking Christmas-only cookies, and decorating their small, rabbit-sized tree—while still taking time out to make snow-bunnies and enjoy the season. Divided into three vignettes, Christmas Secrets was praised by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as "all but irresistible." Schweninger's Halloween Surprises continues the rabbit family's tale, as tricks and treats among family and friends become the order of the day—and night.

In Birthday Wishes, the celebration surrounding newly five-years-old Buttercup are detailed. "Soft, glowing pastel watercolors outlined in ink successfully convey the festive mood of this warm, whimsical family and capture the frenzied excitement of the day," noted Jean Gaffney in her review of Birthday Wishes for School Library Journal. And, in addition to a pleasant story, Valentine Wishes contains directions young readers can follow to cut out a perfect heart shape. "Charmingly depicting joy in creativity and sharing, [Valentine Wishes] will inspire children's own industrious efforts," maintained Booklist reviewer Ellen Mandel.

The changing seasons are given a fresh lustre through Schweninger's creative renderings. In the "Let's Look at the Seasons" series of books that begins with Wintertime, her popular animal characters engage in a host of activities characteristic of each season of the year. Wintertime shows how frost forms, explains the importance of feeding birds when the snow falls, and describes how animals hibernate and otherwise survive the cold, snow, and ice that blanket the earth during the winter months. While noting that Schweninger's illustrations will be enjoyed by young children, Appraisal reviewer Patsy Ann Giese expressed concern that such youngsters would become confused with the illustrations' mix of human-like, jacket-and-trouser-wearing bears with more realistically portrayed animals. However, the mixture of fact and fiction in Springtime was met with more positive response, Appraisal contributor Nancy L. Bluntzer calling it "a book that will spark a young child's interest in nature and thus lead to more questions and an early interest in science."

Jean Marzollo's picture book Amy Goes Fishing was Schweninger's first project as a contributing illustrator. Since this initial effort, Schweninger has provided pictures for the works of such authors, including Mary Caldwell, Frances Zweifel, and Joanna Cole. In Caldwell's Morning, Rabbit, Morning Schweninger presents a young rabbit's efforts to greet the coming of day in detailed, gently colored watercolors, and Frances Zweifel's The Make-Something Club Is Back!: More Fun with Crafts, Food, and Gifts includes illustrated step-by-step instructions that Booklist reviewer Julie Corsaro characterized as "sweetly appealing."

One of Schweninger's most winning collaborations has been with author Jean Van Leeuwen, whose books featuring Amanda and Oliver Pig have become increasingly popular with young readers. Easy-to-read books that include Amanda Pig and Her Big Brother Oliver, Oliver Pig at School, Oliver and Albert, Friends Forever, and Amanda Pig and the Awful, Scary Monster showcase a close-knit family engaging in everyday pursuits, all brought to life through Schweninger's stylized, whimsical drawings. As Booklist critic Ilene Cooper noted, the illustrator's round-faced, jovial pigs "will make friends as well as fans" among their many young readers. In Amanda Pig and the Awful, Scary Monster the perky pig is troubled by nighttime fears, but with the help of big brother Oliver she learns to brave lightsout. Third grader Oliver makes friends with a shy new student in Oliver and Albert, Friends Forever, featuring an easy-reading chapterbook text by Van Leeuwen alongside illustrations that "spill playfully" from page borders and have "an appealing, childlike quality," according to School Library Journal contributor Leslie S. Hilverding. Reviewing another installment in the series, Amanda Pig and Her Best Friend Lollipop, Carolyn Phelan had special praise for Schweninger's pencil and watercolor art, writing that the artist's use of "rounded lines and vivid colors … give the book a cozy, inviting look."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Appraisal, autumn, 1991, Patsy Ann Giese, review of Wintertime, pp. 53-54; spring-summer, 1993, Nancy L. Bluntzer, review of Springtime, pp. 55-56.

Booklist, November 1, 1976, p. 412; November 15, 1979, Barbara Elleman, review of The Man in the Moon as He Sails the Sky, and Other Moon Verse, p. 507; October 15, 1984, p. 312; February 1, 1988, Ellen Mandel, review of Valentine Friends, pp. 936-937; August, 1991, p. 2151; October 1, 1992, Ilene Cooper, review of Oliver and Amanda's Halloween, p. 339; January 15, 1994, Ilene Cooper, review of The Make-Something Club Is Back!: Fun with Crafts, Food, and Gifts, p. 934; January 1, 1996, and Hazel Rochman, review of The Littlest Duckling, p. 835, and Carolyn Phelan, review of Oliver and Amanda and the Big Snow, p. 850; February 1, 1997, Julie Corsaro, review of The Make-Something Club Is Back, p. 944; July, 1998, Carolyn Phelan, review of Amanda Pig and Her Best Friend Lollipop, p. 1892.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 1984, pp. 14-15; July, 1986, p. 217.

Canadian Review of Materials, July, 1988, p. 147.

Growing Point, November, 1984, p. 4345.

Horn Book, December, 1979, Karen Klockner, review of The Man in the Moon as He Sails the Sky, and Other Moon Verse, pp. 673-674; December, 1982, pp. 637-38; November, 1989, p. 754; September-October, 1990, p. 599; September-October, 1995, Hanna B. Zeiger, review of Oliver and Amanda and the Big Snow, p. 628; May-June, 1997, Martha V. Parravano, review of Amanda Pig, Schoolgirl, p. 329; July-August, 1998, Martha V. Parravano, review of Amanda Pig and Her Best Friend Lollipop, p. 499; September, 2000, Martha V. Parravano, review of Oliver and Albert, Friends Forever, p. 584; July-August, 2003, Martha V. Parravano, review of Amanda Pig and the Awful, Scary Monster, p. 468.

Publishers Weekly, February 5, 1979, p. 95; August 20, 1979, p. 81; May 29, 1981, review of On My Way to Grandpa's, p. 43; August 17, 1984, review of Christmas Secrets, p. 60; September 26, 1986, p. 88; February 10, 1989, p. 68; September 29, 1989, p. 71.

School Library Journal, April, 1979, p. 48; September, 1981, p. 115; October, 1984, p. 175; February, 1985, p. 68; May, 1986, Jean Gaffney, review of Birthday Wishes, p. 84; August, 1987, p. 75; February, 1988, p. 64; January, 1991, p. 80; July, 1992, p. 64; April, 1993, p. 114; December, 1995, p. 92; November, 2000, Leslie S. Hilverding, review of Oliver and Albert, Friends Forever, p.136; September, 2001, Sally R. Dow, review of We're Going on a Ghost Hunt, p. 207; July, 2003, Anne Knickerbocker, review of Amanda Pig and the Awful, Scary Monster, p. 108.

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