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Michael Martchenko (1942-) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1942, in Carcassone, France; Education: Ontario College of Art, Toronto, associate's degree, 1966. Hobbies and other interests: Aviation art and history, books on art and military history, movies, collecting aviation memorabilia.

Career

Pitzer, Mills & Bates, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, art director, 1966-69; Needham, Harper & Steers, Toronto, art director, 1969-70; Art Associates, Toronto, designer/illustrator, 1970-72; TDF Artists Ltd., Toronto, creative art director, 1972-93. Exhibitions: Harbourfront Gallery, Toronto, 1983; traveling children's book show, cross-Canada, 1983; Latcham Gallery, Stouffville, Ontario (one-man show), 1987; Bologna International Children's Book Fair, Bologna, Italy, 1985; exhibition of Canadian children's book illustrators, Bologna, 1990.

Member

Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers, American Society of Aviation Artists, Art Directors Club of Toronto, Canadian Aircrew Association, Canadian Airforce Association, Ontario Aviation Historical Society.

Honors Awards

Advertising Club of Toronto award of merit, 1974, three awards of merit, 1977; Graphica Show, two awards of Michael Martchenko merit, 1976; Ruth Schwartz Award, Ontario Arts Council, 1986, for Thomas's Snowsuit; Studio Magazine Silver Medal, 1990; Award of Merit, Art Director's Club of Toronto, 1990, and Information Service Award, Canadian Department of Health and Welfare, 1993, both for Where There's Smoke; International Council of Shopping Centres Award, 1994 for Anna Takes Charge; Palmares Livromagie award, 1994, for Birdfeeder Banquet.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Birdfeeder Banquet, Firefly Books (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1990.

Ma, I'm a Farmer, Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

ILLUSTRATOR

Robert Munsch, The Paper Bag Princess (also see below), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1980, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1982.

Robert Munsch, Jonathan Cleaned up, Then He Heard a Sound; or, Blackberry Subway Jam (also see below), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1981.

Robert Munsch, Murmel Murmel Murmel (also see below), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1982.

Robert Munsch, The Boy in the Drawer (also see below), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1982.

Robert Munsch, David's Father (also see below), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1983.

Robert Munsch, Angela's Airplane (also see below), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1983.

Robert Munsch, The Fire Station (also see below), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1983.

Robert Munsch, Mortimer (also see below), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1983.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Tow Truck, Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1984.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Turkeys, Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1985.

Robert Munsch, Thomas's Snowsuit (also see below), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1985.

Anne Fotheringham, Hurrah for the Dorchester, Conceptus Renaissance (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), 1986.

Robert Munsch, Fifty below Zero (also see below), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1986.

Robert Munsch, I Have to Go! (also see below), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1986.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Money Van, Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987.

Robert Munsch, Moira's Birthday (also see below), Firefly Books (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1987.

Judy Owens, One Sock, Two Socks, Gage Educational Publishing (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987.

Robert Munsch, Pigs (also see below), Firefly Books (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1989.

Ardyth Brott, Jeremy's Decision, Oxford University Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.

Robert Munsch, Something Good (also see below), Firefly Books (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1990.

Robert Munsch, Show and Tell (also see below), Firefly Books (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1991.

Caroline Parry (compiler), Zoomerang a Boomerang: Poems to Make Your Belly Laugh, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1991.

Allen Morgan, The Magic Hockey Skates, Oxford University Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1991.

Caroline Parry, editor, A Rhyme for Me: A Big Poetry Book, Houghton (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1992.

Patricia Seeley, Portus Potter Was Loose!, Doubleday Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1992.

Maxine Trottier, Alison's House, Oxford University Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1993.

Selma Hooge, Counting My Friends, Gage Educational Publishing (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1993.

Janet Munsil, Where There's Smoke, Firefly Books (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1993.

Robert Munsch, Wait and See, Firefly Books (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1993.

Ted Staunton, Anna Takes Charge, Bramalea City Centre (Bramalea, Ontario, Canada), 1993.

Allen Morgan, Jessica Moffat's Silver Locket, Stoddart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1994.

Michael Furey, Spuzzles: The Game Book of Comic Clues and Secret Answers, Penguin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995.

Robert Munsch, From Far Away (also see below), Firefly Books (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1995.

Robert Munsch, Frogs, Firefly Books (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1996.

Robert Munsch, Stephanie's Ponytail (also see below), Firefly Books (Willowdale, Ontario, Canada), 1996.

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, Silver Threads, Viking (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1996.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Pilot, Stoddart (Buffalo, NY), 1997.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Ball Game, Stoddart (Buffalo, NY), 1997.

Felicity Williams, Pocketful of Stars: Rhymes, Chants, and Lap Games, Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1997.

Robert Munsch, Alligator Baby, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Pirates, Stoddart (New York, NY), 1998.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Flood, Stoddart (New York, NY), 1999.

Robert Munsch, Andrew's Loose Tooth, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Robert Munsch, Munschworks: The First Munsch Collection (contains The Paper Bag Princess, David's Father, The Fire Station, Thomas's Snowsuit, and I Have to Go!), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1998.

(With Helene Desputeaux) Robert Munsch, Munschworks 2: The Second Munsch Treasury (contains Pigs, Mortimer, Murmel Murmel Murmel, and Something Good), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999.

Robert Munsch, We Share Everything!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Linda Granfield, High Flight: A Story of World War II, Tundra Books (Plattsburgh, NY), 1999.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Hospital, Stoddart (New York, NY), 1999.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Firefighter, Stoddart (New York, NY), 2000.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Wrestlers, Stoddart (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Vladyana Krykorka) Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak, Munschworks 3: The Third Munsch Treasury (contains Stephanie's Ponytail, Angela's Airplane, Jonathan Cleaned Up, Then He Heard a Sound; or, Blackberry Subway Jam, and Show and Tell), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Robert Munsch, Mmm, Cookies!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Bank, Stoddart (New York, NY), 2001.

Robert Munsch, Makeup Mess, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Robert Munsch, Up, up, Down!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, Enough, Fitzhenry & White-side (Markham, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Wrecker, Stoddart (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Vladyana Krykorka and Helene Desputeaux) Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak, The Munschworks Grand Treasury, Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Allen Morgan, Matthew and the Midnight Movie, Stoddart (New York, NY), 2002.

Robert Munsch, Playhouse, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Vladyana Krykorka) Munschworks 4: The Fourth Munsch Treasury (contains Moira's Birthday, From Far Away, Fifty below Zero, and The Boy in the Drawer), Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

Robert Munsch, More Pies!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Robert Munsch, Zoom!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.

Illustrator for a computer laser optical disk called Mud Puddle, written by Robert Munsch, Discis Knowledge Research, 1993.

Sidelights

Michael Martchenko is a prolific illustrator best known for creating the whimsical drawings that accompany author Robert Munsch's humorous stories for children. The pair have won awards for co-ventures including Thomas's Snowsuit, and their Mortimer was exhibited at the Bologna International Children's Book Fair in 1985. Munsch and Martchenko have worked together on more than twenty children's books, including Alligator Baby, Andrew's Loose Tooth, and Zoom! Martchenko has also illustrated works for other authors, including Allen Morgan and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch.

Growing up in a small town north of Paris, France, Martchenko developed an interest in the visual humor created through comic books and television cartoons. He immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of seven, and graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1966. Martchenko worked in commercial art for many years until Annick Press representatives and author Robert Munsch saw his work at a graphic-arts exhibition. Martchenko was displaying a scene in a park featuring pigeons with landing gear. The illustrator's zany humor—and Rowdy Mortimer's parents, brothers and sisters, and two police officers try unsuccessfully to get him to go to sleep. (From Mortimer, written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Martchenko.) extremely quick working pace—appealed to Munsch and to his publishers, and Martchenko began a new career. Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess, illustrated by Martchenko, appeared in 1980.

In 1990, Martchenko published his first self-written children's book, Birdfeeder Banquet, a picture book that a reviewer for Canadian Children's Literature found similar in several respects to Martchenko's work with Munsch, noting that Martchenko's text relies on "the same word play with its repetition, exclamation and capitalization." In Birdfeeder Banquet, the veteran illustrator renders his characters—including some very fat chickens, a sprightly little girl, and a number of lumpy adults—with his usual panache, enhancing the humor of what a critic in Canadian Children's Literature called a "silly situation."

In 1984 Martchenko began a partnership with author Allen Morgan, author of the "Matthew's Midnight Adventure" series, about a young boy's fantastic nighttime escapades. In Matthew and the Midnight Pilot, the young protagonist helps a stranded glider pilot with a special mission. A contributor to Resource Links noted that "The colourful, high energy cartoons by Martchenko greatly expand the text." Matthew plays a strange game of Monopoly and breaks up a band of bank-robbing pigeons in Matthew and the Midnight Bank. "As always, Martchenko's lively, busy illustrations expand the characters and add to the zaniness," wrote Denise Parrott in Resource Links. Matthew and the Midnight Movie describes the boy's heroic rescue of his mother from an evil villain. The rescue, which has been captured on film, earns Matthew a major film award. Denise Parrott in Resource Links stated that "The pace is as frenetic as ever and Michael Martchenko captures the excitement with his boisterous illustrations."

Martchenko has had his greatest success teaming with Munsch, creating such critically acclaimed titles as Alligator Baby and Andrew's Loose Tooth. In Alligator Baby a young girl takes it upon herself to find her sibling when her parents accidentally bring home the wrong newborn. Though Kristen realizes that the strange creature who now shares her house is not human, she cannot get her dizzy mother and father to understand their mistake: they picked up their "baby" at the zoo instead of the hospital. A resourceful Kristen hops on her bicycle and pedals over to the zoo, where she claims the infant from its "foster mother," a gorilla. "Martchenko's exaggerated cartoons are responsible for much of the tale's cheerful slapstick," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

A wiggly tooth that won't fall out is the subject of Andrew's Loose Tooth. Andrew's family tries every method they can think of to remove his tooth, including yanking on it with their hands and pulling on it with After her castle and clothes are destroyed and her prince kidnapped by a dragon, feisty Princess Elizabeth puts on a paper bag and rescues the ungrateful prince—who tells her to come back when she looks like a real princess. (From The Paper Bag Princess, written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Martchenko.) pliers. Even his dentist and the tooth fairy fail in their efforts. When Andrew's best friend suggests inhaling some pepper, the resulting sneeze sends the tooth flying. "Martchenko's watercolor cartoons embellish the tale's hyperbole with funky touches," wrote a contributor in Publishers Weekly.

Munsch's We Share Everything! concerns a pair of troublesome kindergarten students. Amanda and Jeremiah fight over everything in their classroom. Each time they quarrel they are gently admonished by their patient teacher, who reminds them: "We share everything." Amanda and Jeremiah finally take the teacher at her word, causing a stir by swapping their clothes. Reviewing We Share Everything! for Booklist, Carolyn Phelan found the book's humor "irresistible" and stated Martchenko's "artwork exaggerates, illuminates, and entertains." School Library Journal critic Coop Renner noted that "the comic illustrations are realistically cluttered."

In Mmm, Cookies! also written by Munsch, a practical joke backfires on a little boy. Christopher's "cookies" are actually made of clay, but he doesn't tell that to his mother and father, who bite into them with gusto. Christopher's parents turn the tables on him by informing his teacher of the prank, and she makes sure that Christopher gets a taste of his own medicine. "Martchenko's brassy, over-the-top watercolors over-flow with silly images," observed a Publishers Weekly contributor, while Maryann H. Owen, writing in School Library Journal, remarked that the illustrator's "bright watercolors with their expressive, exaggerated facial contortions are entertaining."

A little boy's enormous appetite frustrates his mother in More Pies! Samuel wakes up hungry one morning, despite the fact that he has devoured a good portion of his pillow during the night. Samuel's mother feeds him bowl after bowl of cereal, stack after stack of pancakes, and even a fried chicken, but he is still famished. After learning of a local pie-eating contest, Samuel enters, coasts to victory, and finally fills his stomach. In the words of School Library Journal contributor Lisa Dennis, Munsch's text combines with Martchenko's "bright hues and outrageous exaggeration to create a typically zany whole."

Spunky, wheelchair-bound Lauren is the protagonist of Munsch's Zoom! Lauren's old wheelchair needs to be replaced, and she'll settle for nothing less than the ninety-two-speed, dirt-bike model. When Lauren takes her new wheelchair out on the road, however, she is pulled over and ticketed for speeding. Lauren's parents decide to return the wheelchair to the store, until Lauren uses the chair to rush her brother to the hospital. Critics praised both Munsch's humorous text and Martchenko's drawings. Booklist critic Shelle Rosenfeld wrote, "The brightly colored, animated art is almost frenetic," and Elizabeth Abercrombie, reviewing Zoom! for Resource Links, stated that Martchenko's illustrations "add tremendously to the humor of the adventures."

Martchenko is one of the illustrators of the fifteen Robert Munsch stories collected in The Munschworks Grand Treasury. (Written by Munsch and Michael Kusugak.)

From Far Away is a departure for the Martchenko-Munsch team, as it tackles a serious subject: an immigrant child's adjustment to a new land. This autobiographical work is based on the true story of Saoussan Askar, who left war-torn Beirut, Lebanon, at age five to live with her family in Canada. Unfamiliar with the language and customs of her new home, Saoussan is often confused and frightened; a Halloween skeleton reminds her of the horrors of war, for instance. Over time, Saoussan grows comfortable with her surroundings and begins to thrive. Martchenko contributed watercolors to the book, "which takes on a difficult theme and communicates it effectively on a child's level," according to Booklist reviewer Carolyn Phelan.

In 2003 Martchenko published Ma, I'm a Farmer, his second self-illustrated work. Ma, I'm a Farmer tells the story of Fred, a computer operator who quits his boring job, moves to the country, and buys a farm, only to find himself completely unprepared for the realities of farm life. When a neighbor suggests that Fred use his background in technology to improve his efficiency, Fred builds a series of computerized machines, including an automated milker and an egg collector. The system overloads the power grid, causing a massive outage, and Fred's perseverance is once again put to the test. According to School Library Journal contributor Carolyn Janssen, Ma, I'm a Farmer is a "lighthearted look at technology and our efforts to make life easier." A Publishers Weekly critic remarked that young readers "will be most entertained by Martchenko's zany, bustling watercolor cartoons."

"While illustrating children's books is hard work," as Martchenko once told Something about the Author, "it's also great fun, with the added advantage of having little interference and few restrictions placed upon you, such as you may have in the commercial art field." Martchenko continued, "I'm sure that everyone visualizes pictures when reading a story. I feel very fortunate that in illustrating children's stories, I can put my mental pictures down on board. I hope that I do it in such a way that children can not only identify with the story, but can use their own imaginations to bring the characters to life."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of From Far Away, p. 848; September 1, 1999, Carolyn Phelan, review of We Share Everything!, p. 142; November 8, 1999, review of Together for the First Time, p. 70; January 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Munschworks 2: The Second Munsch Treasury, p. 936; February 1, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of Munschworks 3: The Third Munsch Treasury, p. 1057; February 1, 2003, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Zoom!, p. 1000.

Canadian Children's Literature (annual), 1992, review of Birdfeeder Banquet, pp. 107-108; 1993, p. 5.

Canadian Materials, March 12, 1999; October 20, 2000; April 27, 2001, Dave Jenkinson, review of Munschworks 3.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2002, review of More Pies!, pp. 1534-1535.

Publishers Weekly, June 23, 1997, review of Alligator Baby, pp. 90-91; February 16, 1998, review of Andrew's Loose Tooth, p. 209; August 23, 1999, review of We Share Everything!, p. 57; March 20, 2000, review of Mmm, Cookies!, p. 90; April 23, 2001, review of Enough, p. 78; December 1, 2003, review of Ma, I'm a Farmer, p. 55.

Quill & Quire, January, 1991, p. 22.

Resource Links, October, 1997, review of Matthew and the Midnight Pilot and Matthew and the Midnight Ball Game, pp. 17-18; February, 2001, Denise Parrott, review of Matthew and the Midnight Bank, p. 6; June, 2002, Denise Parrott, review of Matthew and the Midnight Movie, pp. 4-5; December, 2002, Victoria Pennell, review of Munschworks 4: The Fourth Munsch Treasury, pp. 13-14; February, 2003, Wendy L. Hogan, review of More Pies!, pp. 5-7; June, 2003, Elizabeth Abercrombie, review of Zoom!, pp. 7-8; December, 2003, Linda Ludke, review of Ma, I'm a Farmer, p. 55; April, 2004, Lori Lavallee, review of Matthew and the Midnight Firefighter, p. 8

School Library Journal, August, 2000, Maryann H. Owen, review of Mmm, Cookies!, p. 162; May, 2001, Jeanne Clancy Watkins, review of Enough, p. 135; February, 2002, Gay Lynn Van Vleck, review of Makeup Mess, p. 110; March, 2003, Lisa Dennis, review of More Pies!, p. 200; June, 2003, Coop Renner, review of We Share Everything!, p. 64; January, 2004, Carolyn Janssen, review of Ma, I'm a Farmer, p. 6.

ONLINE

Annick Press Web site, http://www.annickpress.com/ (September 17, 2004).

Robert Munsch Web site, http://www.robertmunsch.com/ (September 17, 2004).*

[back] John F. Marszalek (1939–) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Work in Progress, Sidelights

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almost 4 years ago

why dont u have full sentences?