Pamela Jane - Sidelights
Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dan Jacobson Biography - Dan Jacobson comments: to Barbara Knutson (1959–2005) Biography - PersonalPamela Jane Biography - Writings, Sidelights - Personal, Addresses, Career, Adaptations, Work in Progress
Pamela Jane is a popular author of books for children. Her works include the holiday tales All about Christmas: A Merry Alphabet Story and ABC Valentine, chapter books such as Milo and Flapjack Fiasco, and the "Winky Blue" series of easy readers.
Jane began her writing career in a surprising way: she ignored an expert's advice. "Years ago, when I was struggling to write my first children's book," Jane stated on her Web site, "a noted writing teacher and expert in the field of children's literature offered some advice. 'If you want to get published,' she said, 'don't write fantasy, don't write seasonal material, and for heaven's sake, don't write about dolls!' She suggested instead that I write about 'real life'—my own authentic childhood experience." The problem, Jane continued, was that "my idea for a Christmas story about an ambitious ballerina doll was my authentic childhood experience." With the encouragement of a good friend–and despite her own misgivings–Jane eventually submitted her tale to an editor at Houghton Mifflin, who quickly offered her a book contract. Noelle of the Nutcracker, Jane's debut children's book, was published in 1986.
Jane has published several alphabet and counting books, some with holiday themes. All about Christmas depicts a family gathering at the height of the season, and ABC Valentine shows a young girl preparing for a visit from a special friend. In the rhyming book Monster Countdown, a child describes the zany creatures who share his house. Spring Is Here!: A Barnyard Counting Book describes a change of seasons on a farm.
Monster Mischief, a 2001 work told in verse, takes place on Halloween night. In the story, two creatures prepare a batch of monster stew to celebrate the occasion. As the ghouls add spiders, lizards, and frogs to their cauldron, they are joined by two other monsters who contribute their own ingredients to the creepy brew. When Little Moe stops by and decides to peek at the stew, he spills the contents, which go scrambling away. Fortunately, another creature, having just returned from treat-or-treating, decides to share his sack of goodies with the other monsters. "Janes's rhymes flow and read well," noted a critic in Kirkus Reviews. Booklist contributor Gillian Engberg offered a similar opinion, writing, "The brief rhyming text has an appealing rhythm."
Jane's humorous "Winky Blue" series follows the adventures of a young girl named Rosie and her parakeet, Winky Blue. In works such as Take a Bow, Winky Blue! and Winky Blue Goes Wild!, Rosie involves her pet in a variety of schemes designed to gain fame and fortune. Jane has also published a number of chapter books about Milo, a rambunctious youngster who manages to create chaos out of normalcy. In Milo and the Fire Engine Parade, Milo disrupts an entire parade route while chasing after his runaway dog, Wolf. In Milo and the Flapjack Fiasco, he nearly ruins a special breakfast by flipping the main course—a giant pancake—into Wolf's mouth.
The thrill of writing and publishing stories remains strong for the author. On her Web site, Jane observed, "there is magic in being able to hold your newly published book in your hands—a tangible, almost living thing. The best part comes when a child writes, as one little girl did, 'I loved your book because it made me happy.'"
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, September 1, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Monster Mischief, p. 120.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2001, review of Monster Mischief, p. 1126; May 1, 2002, review of Milo and the Fire Engine Parade, p. 657.
Publishers Weekly, September 24, 2001, review of Monster Mischief, p. 42.
School Library Journal, September, 2001, Be Astengo, review of Monster Mischief, p. 191; June, 2004, Corrina Austin, review of Milo and the Flapjack Fiasco, p. 112.
Pamela Jane Web site, http://www.pamelajane.com (February 1, 2005).*