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Blanche Sims Biography - Personal, Career, Honors Awards, Illustrator, Sidelights

york school books metuchen

(Blanche L. Sims)

Personal

Born in Cleveland, OH; Hobbies and other interests: Music (especially classical), New York Times crossword puzzles.

Career

Famous Artists School, Westport, CT, began as art researcher, became instructor in young people's art; Xerox Corp., Middletown, CT, illustrator in art department; book illustrator. Also worked variously as a waitress, phone operator, sales clerk, and life guard.

Honors Awards

Parents' Choice Foundation Commendation for Television, 2000, for Beyond the Butterfly.

Illustrator

FOR CHILDREN

Elizabeth Levy, Running out of Magic with Houdini, Knopf (New York, NY), 1981.

Dean Hughes, Nutty for President, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1981.

Jane Flory, Miss Plunkett to the Rescue, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1983.

Ann M. Martin, Stage Fright, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1984.

Kathy Feczko, Halloween Party, Troll Associates (Metuchen, NJ), 1985.

Anne M. Martin, Me and Katie (the Pest), Holiday House (New York, NY), 1985.

Elizabeth Spurr, Mrs. Minetta's Carpool, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1985.

Elizabeth Bolton, Secret of the Magic Potion, Troll Associates (Metuchen, NJ), 1985.

Kathy Bieger Roche, Weekly Reader Books Presents Andy and Sandy's Yummy Summer Snack Book, Weekly Reader Books, 1985.

E.W. Hildick, The Case of the Muttering Mummy: A McGurk Mystery, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1986.

Abby Levine and Sarah Levine, Sometimes I Wish I Were Mindy, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1986.

Jean Marzollo, Cannonball Chris ("Step into Reading" series), Random House (New York, NY), 1987.

Caron Lee Cohen, Renata, Whizbrain, and the Ghost, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1987.

Jean Marzollo, Soccer Sam ("Step into Reading" series), Random House (New York, NY), 1987.

Madeleine Yates, It's School Picture Day, Abingdon (Nashville, TN), 1987.

Barbara Brooks Wallace, The Interesting Thing That Happened at Perfect Acres, Inc., Atheneum (New York, NY), 1988.

Jean Marzollo, Red Ribbon Rosie, Random House (New York, NY), 1988.

Jean Marzollo, The Pizza Pie Slugger, Random House (New York, NY), 1989.

Eric A. Kimmel, I Took My Frog to the Library, Viking (New York, NY), 1990.

Gery Greer, Jason and the Aliens down the Street, Harper-Collins (New York, NY), 1991.

Gery Greer and Bob Ruddick, Let Me off This Spaceship!, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1991.

Linda Walvoord Girard, Alex, the Kid with AIDS, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1991.

Kate Banks, The Bunnysitters, Random House (New York, NY), 1991.

Gladys Yessayan Cretan, Joey's Head, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1991.

Gery Greer and Ruddick, Jason and the Lizard Pirates, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.

Suzy Kline, Mary Marony and the Snake, Putnam (New York, NY), 1992.

Terrance Dicks, Sally Ann and the School Show, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1992, published as Sally Ann and the School Play, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 1992.

Terrance Dicks, Sally Ann on Her Own, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1992.

Wriggles and Giggles, World Book (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Suzy Kline, Mary Marony Hides Out, Putnam (New York, NY), 1993.

Gery Greer and Bob Ruddick, Jason and the Escape of Bat Planet, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.

Terrance Dicks, Sally Ann and the Mystery Picnic, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1993.

Terrance Dicks, Nurse Sally Ann, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1993.

Melvin and Gilda Berger, Where Are the Stars during the Day? A Book about Stars, Ideals Children's Book (Nashville, TN), 1993.

Caroline Feller Bauer, editor, Valentine's Day: Stories and Poems, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.

Jean Marzollo, Slam Dunk Saturday, Random House (New York, NY), 1994.

Nancy Lamb and Muff Singer, The World's Greatest Toe Show, BridgeWater Books (Mahwah, NJ), 1994.

Suzy Kline, Mary Marony, Mummy Girl, Putnam's (New York, NY), 1994.

Nancy Lamb and Muff Singer, The Vampires Went That-away!, Little Rainbow (Mahwah, NJ), 1995.

Suzy Kline, Mary Marony and the Chocolate Surprise, Putnam's (New York, NY), 1995.

Gail Herman, The Haunted Bike, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 1996.

Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Gordon Tessler, What's the Matter, Kelly Beans?, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.

Suzy Kline, Marvin and the Mean Words, Putnam's Sons (New York, NY), 1997.

Lynea Bowdish, Living with My Stepfather Is Like Living with a Moose, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1997.

Maggie Stern, George, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1999.

Maggie Stern, George and Diggety, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Suzy Kline, Marvin and the Meanest Girl, Putnam (New York, NY), 2000.

Maggie Stern, Singing Diggety, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Judy Cox, Butterfly Buddies, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2001.

Jamie Kyle McGillian, Sidewalk Chalk: Outdoor Fun and Games, Sterling Pub. (New York, NY), 2002.

Judy Cox, Cool Cat, School Cat, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2002.

Glen Vecchione, Sidewalk Games, Sterling Pub. (New York, NY), 2003.

Jean Marzollo, Soccer Sam, Random House (New York, NY), 2003.

Daisy Alberto, Pete for President!, Kane Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Jennifer Dussling, The Longest Yawn, Kane Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Laura Driscoll, Lila the Fair, Kane Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Nan Walker, Check It Out!, Kane Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Also illustrator of television film Beyond the Butterfly, broadcast on Wisconsin Public Television.

"POLK STREET SCHOOL" SERIES

Patricia Reilly Giff, The Beast in Ms. Rooney's Room, Dell (New York, NY), 1984.

Patricia Reilly Giff, December Secrets, Dell (New York, NY), 1984.

Patricia Reilly Giff, Sunny-Side Up, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

Patricia Reilly Giff, Pickle Puss, Dell (New York, NY), 1986.

Patricia Reilly Giff, All about Stacy, Dell (New York, NY), 1988.

Patricia Reilly Giff, Fancy Feet, Dell (New York, NY), 1988.

Patricia Reilly Giff, Watch Out! Man-Eating Snake, Dell (New York, NY), 1988.

Patricia Reilly Giff, Spectacular Stone Soup, Dell (New York, NY), 1989.

Patricia Reilly Giff, Matthew Jackson Meets the Wall, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1990.

"OLIVER AND COMPANY" SERIES

Page McBrier, Oliver and the Lucky Duck, Troll Associates (Metuchen, NJ), 1986.

Page McBrier, Oliver's Lucky Day, Troll Associates (Metuchen, NJ), 1986.

Michael McBrier, Oliver and the Runaway Alligator, Troll Associates (Metuchen, NJ), 1987.

Michael McBrier, Oliver's Back-Yard Circus, Troll Associates (Metuchen, NJ), 1987.

Michael McBrier, Oliver's High-Flying Adventure, Troll Associates (Metuchen, NJ), 1987.

Michael McBrier, Getting Oliver's Goat, Troll Associates (Metuchen, NJ), 1988.

Michael McBrier, Oliver and the Amazing Spy, Troll Associates (Metuchen, NJ), 1988.

Michael McBrier, Oliver Smells Trouble, Troll Associates (Metuchen, NJ), 1988.

Michael McBrier, Oliver's Barnyard Blues, Troll Associates (Metuchen, NJ), 1988.

NONFICTION

William Ostrow, All about Asthma, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1988.

Gretchen Super, Drugs and Our World, Twenty-first Century Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Gretchen Super, What Are Drugs?, Twenty-first Century Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Gretchen Super, You Can Say "No" to Drugs, Twenty-first Century Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Sidelights

Blanche Sims is the illustrator of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction for young readers, including the popular "Kids of the Polk Street School" and "New A collaboration with writer Judy Cox, Cool Cat, School Cat focuses on a stray cat who adopts the new kid on the block and helps build a friendship.Kids of the Polk Street School" series by writer Patricia Reilly Giff. Sims has also contributed her pen-and-ink and watercolor skills to books by a variety of other writer, among them Eric A. Kimmel, Jean Marzollo, and Suzy Kline, the last with whom Sims has collaborated on books featuring spunky second grader Mary Marony. Reviewing Sims' contribution to Caron Lee Cohen's picture book Renata, Whizbrain, and the Ghost, a wild west tale about a ghostly pirate able to create instant floods, a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor praised the "breezy and expressive paintings," while a Publishers Weekly critic wrote that Sims' "well-designed" illustrations "convey the story's rollicking flavor."

Sims often illustrates series of easy-reading books in which elementary graders can follow a likeable group of characters, and this she does in Maggie Stern's short series about a boy and his dog. In George Sims brings to life a young boy whose busy life revolves around school activities and his dog Diggety. Sims' "energetic pen-and-ink with watercolor pictures" help readers appreciate "George's high spirits," according to a Publishers Weekly contributor, while a Horn Book writer wrote that in George and Diggety her renderings "depict George as a happy-go-lucky boy reveling in whatever the day brings." In Butterfly Buddies, one of several beginning chapter books Sims has illustrated for writer Judy Cox, the "inky drawings add a pleasant and humorous touch," according to School Library Journal writer Debbi Whitbeck, the reviewer also comparing the work favorably with Beverly Cleary's "Ramona" series.

Sims once told SATA: "I am self-taught. My grandfather on my father's side was an Italian painter. He was a professor of art at Mount Holyoke College and died at ninety-six years of age. When I was a child in Cleveland, he would send me assignments—'draw a hand,' 'draw a foot,' etc.—and reward me with chocolate bars, lockets, and rings.

"I remember my elementary school teacher, Miss Cassatt. She knew I couldn't bring lunches and would always have me drawing maps or historical figures at lunchtime to 'feed' me. I once drew the Taj Mahal in colored chalk and it reached across the whole back wall of the class.

"I had a wonderful high school art teacher, Mr. Paul Ulen, who had studied in London. In my first year of high school we were learning at an art-school level. He stressed drawing and that's what we did—from live models to plaster casts. A scholarship was certain, but I had to drop out of school and get out on my own due to an unpleasant home life.

"I left Cleveland and moved to New York City, married an illustrator, had four wonderful children, and now have eight grandchildren. I divorced long ago and needed to work to support my brood. I took a few odd Sims brings her award-winning talent to Butterfly Buddies, Cox's elementary-grade story about Robin's efforts to impress a sophisticated new student in her third-grade class.jobs which I was horrible at while I worked days as an art researcher and instructor for a young people's art course at Famous Artist School. The school closed and I went on to Xerox in Middletown, Connecticut, as an illustrator. This pulled me together and I became a book illustrator."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 1, 1996, Chris Sherman, review of What's the Matter, Kelly Beans?, p. 348.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 1987, review of Renata, Whizbrain, and the Ghost, p. 164.

Horn Book, September, 2000, review of George and Diggety, p. 582; September, 2001, review of Singing Diggety, p. 595.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 1987, p. 134.

Publishers Weekly, February 27, 1987, review of Renata, Whizbrain, and the Ghost, p. 164; November, 22, 1999, review of George, p. 56.

School Library Journal, October, 2001, Debbie Whitbeck, review of Butterfly Buddies, p. 113; December, 2002, Cyndie Suite, review of Sidewalk Chalk: Outdoor Fun and Games, p. 126.

Wilson Library Bulletin, September, 1987, pp. 66-67.

[back] Howard "Sandman" Sims Biography - Developed Unique Dance Style, Rediscovered by Tap Aficionados, Cited as an Innovator, Selected works

User Comments

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about 2 years ago

Blanche:

I have tried to reach you by phone at the number you sent me, but no luck.

Will you please try again? Thanks,

Elizabeth

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about 3 years ago


Remember me, Blanche? Mrs. Minetta's Carpool was my first book. Please contact me through my website. Best,
Elizabeth