Sergio Ruzzier (1966-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1966, in Milan, Italy; children: one daughter.
Office—203 17th St., Number 21, Brooklyn, NY 11215.
Illustrator, 1986—. Creator of comic strips for Linus magazine, 1989-93, and Lupo Alberto magazine; writer. School of Visual Arts, New York, NY, instructor, 2004—. Exhibitions: Solo exhibitions at Galleria Derbylius, Milan, Italy, 1993, Galleria Nuages, Milan, 1999, Galleria Affiche, Milan, 2002-03, and Galleria Hoepli, Milan, 2002. Works included in group shows in the United States and Italy.
Awards from Society of Illustrators, Society of Publication Designers, American Illustration, and Communication Arts; Parents' Choice Gold Award, 2004, for Why Mole Shouted and Other Stories.
Un cane insonne e altri animali (title means "A Sleepless Dog and Other Animals"), Nuages (Milan, Italy), 1999.
La culla vuota—The Empty Cradle, Cane Andaluso (Milan, Italy), 1999.
Gli Uccelli—The Birds, Despina (Milan, Italy), 2002.
The Little Giant, Laura Geringer Books (New York, NY), 2004.
The Room of Wonders, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor to books, including Guys Write for Guys Read, edited by Jon Scieszka, Viking (New York, NY), 2005.
Kenneth C. Davis, Don't Know Much about Space, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.
Karla Kuskin, Moon, Have You Met My Mother?: The Collected Poems of Karla Kuskin, Laura Geringer Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Lore Segal, Why Mole Shouted and Other Stories, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York, NY), 2004.
Lore Segal, More Mole Stories and Little Gopher, Too, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (New York, NY), 2005.
Kenneth C. Davis, Don't Know Much about World Myths, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including Wall Street Journal, New Yorker, Boston Globe, and Atlantic Monthly.
The work of award-winning author and illustrator Sergio Ruzzier has been described as "very adult and sophisticated" yet "still adaptable to children's sensitivity," according to Veronique Alaimo on the USItalia Web site. Ruzzier, who was born in Milan, Italy, began his career in illustration in 1986. His comic strips appeared in Linus, a popular Italian magazine, from 1989 to 1993, as well as Lupo Alberto magazine. In 1995 Ruzzier moved to New York City, where he began contributing illustrations to books and periodicals, including the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, and Atlantic Monthly. Ruzzier's first self-illustrated picture book, Un cane insonne e altri animali, was published in Italy in 1999, and since that time he has made highly praised artistic contributions to a number of titles for children, including Moon, Have You Met My Mother?: The Collected Poems of Karla Kuskin and Lore Segal's Why Mole Shouted, and Other Stories. In addition, he Ruzzier has continued to create original self-illustrated works, such as The Little Giant, and has been compared to noted illustrator Maurice Sendak due to his subtle use of color and his sketchy yet exacting line drawings.
In 2001 Ruzzier provided the illustrations for Don't Know Much about Space, a nonfiction work for children by Kenneth C. Davis, whose "Don't Know Much About" series was already a hit with adult readers. Using a question-and-answer format, Don't Know Much about Space presents information about the solar system, black holes, famous astronomers, and the history of the universe. In School Library Journal, John Peters noted that Ruzzier's "sophisticated but still decorative art is supplemented by several photos and photo-realist paintings." Davis and Ruzzier collaborated once again on the 2005 work Don't Know Much about World Myths.
Ruzzier's illustrations also graced the pages of the 2003 title Moon, Have You Met My Mother?, an anthology by celebrated children's poet Karla Kuskin. In the work, which spans more than forty years of the poet's career, Kuskin reflects on a variety of subjects, including the seasons, magic, animals, and childhood experiences. "The book's handsome design resembles a Shel Silverstein collection with small ink drawings—subtle, funny, and wild—on spacious cream-colored pages," remarked Booklist reviewer Gillian Engberg. A Publishers Weekly critic wrote that "Ruzzier's line illustrations resemble some of Sendak's early drawings, with just the right blend of sophistication and levity," and School Library Journal contributor Margaret Bush noted that the illustrator's "small cartoon sketches … echo the often humorous tone of the poetry."
Ruzzier's self-illustrated The Little Giant appeared in 2004. The work concerns Angelino De Grandi, an undersized giant who is shunned by his community and decides to leave home. During his travels Angelino meets his look-alike—Osvaldo Curti, an oversized dwarf who is similarly ostracized by his people. The pair become fast friends, and when their tribes go to war, they work together to settle the conflict. According to a critic in Publishers Weekly, in his water color illustrations Ruzzier "depicts Angelino and Osvaldo as folkloric figures in an all-male realm, who live in a desert painted in muted greens, soft blues, and sandstone yellows and reds." Booklist critic Jennifer Mattson felt that The Little Giant is appropriate for older readers "who will embrace the messages of peace, acceptance, and brotherly love."
Discussing the similarities between Angelino's search for an identity and his own, Ruzzier told Alaimo, "I left Italy because I needed a change, to find satisfaction in my work. Somehow it seems easier to reinvent oneself far away from the judging eyes of those who have known you all your life long and also in a city like New York where everything different is embraced with a certain enthusiasm. That constant influx of new ideas and new stimuli is what I find fascinating about this city and what allows me a greater freedom in my work."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, April 1, 2003, Gillian Engberg, review of Moon, Have You Met My Mother?: The Collected Poems of Karla Kuskin, p. 1408; March 15, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Little Giant, p. 1310.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2003, review of Moon, Have You Met My Mother?, p. 234; January 15, 2004, review of The Little Giant, p. 88.
Publishers Weekly, July 23, 2001, review of Don't Know Much about Space, p. 78; January 13, 2003, review of Moon, Have You Met My Mother?, p. 62; March 22, 2004, review of The Little Giant, p. 85.
School Library Journal, August, 2001, John Peters, review of Don't Know Much about Space, p. 194; February, 2003, Margaret Bush, review of Moon, Have You Met My Mother?, p. 162; March, 2004, Marianne Saccardi, review of The Little Giant, p. 180.
Sergio Ruzzier Web site, http://www.ruzzier.com (April 5, 2005).
USItalia Web site, http://www.usitalia.info/ (March 14, 2004), Veronique Alaimo, "Sergio Ruzzier's Little Giant."
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