Jon Scieszka (1954-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights
Last name rhymes with "Fresca"; born 1954, in Flint, MI; Education: Attended Culver Military Academy; Albion College, B.A., 1976; Columbia University, M.F.A., 1980. Hobbies and other interests: "Many."
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Viking Penguin, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014-3658.
Writer. Previously worked at Manhattan Day School, New York, NY, elementary school teacher, beginning 1980. Has also worked as a painter, a lifeguard, and a magazine writer.
New York Times Best Books of the Year citation, American Library Association (ALA) Notable Children's Book citation, Maryland Black-eyed Susan Picture Book Award, and Parenting Reading Magic Award, all 1989, all for The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!; New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year citation, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year citation, Booklist Children's Editors' Top-of-the-List citation, and ALA Notable Children's Book citation, all 1992, all for The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales; Best Children's Book citation, Publishers Weekly, Blue Ribbon citation, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, and Top-of-the-List and Editors' Choice citations, Booklist, all 1995, and Best Book for Young Adults citation, ALA, 1996, all for Math Curse; Top 100 Children's Books citation, National Education Association, 1999, for Math Curse and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!; Best Books of the Year citation, Los Angeles Times Book Review, and Reading Magic Award, Parenting magazine, both 2001, both for Baloney (Henry P.).
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1989, tenth anniversary edition, 1999.
The Frog Prince, Continued, illustrated by Steve Johnson, Viking (New York, NY), 1991.
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1992.
The Book That Jack Wrote, illustrated by Daniel Adel, Viking (New York, NY), 1994.
Math Curse, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1995.
Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1998.
Baloney (Henry P.), illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 2001.
Science Verse, Viking (New York, NY), 2004.
"TIME WARP TRIO" SERIES
Knights of the Kitchen Table, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1991.
The Not-So-Jolly Roger, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1991.
The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1992.
Your Mother Was a Neanderthal, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1993.
2095, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1995.
Tut, Tut, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1996.
Summer Reading Is Killing Me!, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1998.
It's All Greek to Me, illustrated by Lane Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 1999.
See You Later, Gladiator, illustrated by Adam McCauley, (New York, NY), 2000.
Hey Kid, Want to Buy a Bridge?, illustrated by Adam McCauley, Viking (New York, NY), 2001.
Sam Samurai, illustrated by Adam McCauley, Viking (New York, NY), 2001.
Viking It and Liking It, illustrated by Adam McCauley, Viking (New York, NY), 2002.
Me Oh Maya!, illustrated by Adam McCauley, Viking (New York, NY), 2003.
Da Wild, Da Crazy, da Vinci, illustrated by Adam McCauley, Viking (New York, NY), 2004.
(Editor) Guys Write for Guys Read, Viking (New York, NY), 2005.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!, a sound recording read by the author, was released by Viking, 1992; The Frog Prince, Continued was set to music by Patrick Neher and the score was released by ISG Publications, 1995; The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales was adapted by John Glore into a play produced at South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa, CA, in 1995, and adapted by William Massolia into a play produced at the Griffin Theatre, Chicago, IL, in 1997; "The Time Warp Trio" series is being developed into a television series for PBS.
"Jon Scieszka," wrote a critic in Children's Books and Their Creators, "enters classic fairy tales, turns them upside down, and exits with a smirk." In works such as The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!, The Frog Prince, Continued, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, and Math Curse, Scieszka and his collaborator/artist friend Lane Smith bring a postmodern sense of absurdity and a satiric edge to a classic category of writing. They take away the sense of easy familiarity and boredom that sometimes surrounds modern perceptions of the fairy tale genre. "What remains," the Children's Books and Their Creators contributor concluded, "is hilarious buffoonery within these energetic, yet sophisticated parodies." Scieszka and Smith also have parodied fables and produced wildly humorous works about aliens, time travel, and a variety of other subjects, and Scieszka has become an activist for encouraging boys to read.
The fact that Scieszka's parody plays to a more mature audience has surprised some critics. His works—sold as picture books intended for beginning readers—are equally funny to older children and young adults who have grown beyond the picture-book stage and are used to sophisticated humor. In doing this he follows the pioneering examples of other great writers in children's literature, such as L. Frank Baum, E. Nesbit, and Dr. Seuss. "What Scieszka has done is make a book equivalent of a happy meal—taking the things that most kids like in books like humor, adventure, fairy tales, and plain old silliness, and combining them into easy to read tomes which will indeed appeal to an audience of all ages," explained Patrick Jones and Christine Miller in Twentieth-Century Children's Writers. "Our audience is hardcore silly kids," Scieszka told Publishers Weekly interviewer Amanda Smith. "And there are a lot of 'em out there."
Scieszka was a jokester early in life; he once told another Publishers Weekly interviewer, Leonard S. Marcus, that he was "a stealth kid," making his friends laugh in class while he maintained an impassive, innocent expression. Scieszka eventually attended Columbia University and studied writing there. He intended, Smith related in her article, to "write the Great American novel." The author reported, "Then I taught first and second grade and got sidetracked." Later he realized that a children's book is a condensed short story, and since he enjoyed writing short stories, he decided to try writing children's books. He remarked that it was surprising he hadn't thought of writing for children sooner, since he came from a large family, had always loved children, was the son of an elementary school teacher, and had enjoyed being a teacher himself.
Scieszka met author and illustrator Lane Smith in the late 1980s through the women in their lives; Scieszka's wife, Jerilyn Hansen, was friends with Smith's girlfriend, Molly Leach, who later became Smith's wife and has designed several of the Scieszka-Smith books. Scieszka took a sabbatical from teaching and began to develop book ideas with Smith. Regina Hayes at Viking Press saw the early drawings and text for The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! and decided to take a risk and publish the story. "Lane and I got turned down in a lot of places," Scieszka told Amanda Smith, "because people thought the manuscript of The Three Little Pigs was too sophisticated. That became a curse word—the 'S' word .… People don't give kids enough credit for knowing the fairy tales and being able to get what parody is." Scieszka continued, "When I taught second-graders, that's the age when they first discover parody. They're just getting those reading skills and nothing cracks them up like a joke that turns stuff upside down." Teachers confirm this idea at book signings, saying how useful the book is in teaching point of view as an important facet of any story.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! is the story of Alexander T. Wolf ("Call me Al"). A. Wolf has, he believes, been framed for the deaths of two of the three little pigs. This "revisionist 'autobiography,'" as Stephanie Zvirin called it in her Booklist interview with Scieszka and Lane Smith, presents the familiar story from a different aspect. "It turns out that Alexander … only wanted to borrow a cup of sugar for a birthday cake for his granny," wrote Roger Sutton in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. "After knocking politely on the first pig's door, Al's nose started to itch. 'I felt a sneeze coming on. Well I huffed. And I snuffed. And I sneezed a great sneeze. And do you know what? That whole darn straw house fell down.'" The scene is repeated at the wooden home of the second pig, and Al continues to the home of the third pig, where he is finally arrested, tried, and confined in the "Pig Penn."
Al maintains his innocence, as Kimberly Olson Fakih and Diane Roback reported in Publishers Weekly, by implying "that had the first two [pigs] happened to build more durable homes and the third kept a civil tongue in his head, the wolf's helpless sneezes wouldn't have toppled them." Frank Gannon explained in the New York Times Book Review, the wolf "ably points out that wolves just naturally eat cute little animals like bunnies and sheep and pigs .…'If cheeseburgers were cute,' says A. Wolf, 'folks would probably think you were Big and Bad, too.' It's hard to argue with him on that point."
One of the factors making The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! intriguing to readers is its dark humor. There is a sly contrast between Scieszka's "innocent wolf" narrator and Lane Smith's sometimes morally ambiguous pictures. Alexander's grandmother, noted Sutton, "looks a bit all-the-better-to-eat-you-with herself, and is that a pair of bunny ears poking out of the cake batter?" As observed Marilyn Fain Apseloff in the Children's Literature Association Quarterly, "After the destruction of their homes, the first two pigs are shown bottom-up in the midst of the rubble; it is hard to tell if they are really dead or are just trying to hide. We have to take the wolf's word for their demise." One view of the second little pig frames his backside between a knife and fork. The reader's final view of Alexander shows him, older, behind bars, and dressed in a convict's uniform, still trying to borrow that cup of sugar.
Scieszka's second fairy tale, The Frog Prince, Continued, was illustrated by Steve Johnson rather than Smith. As the title indicates, it takes up the story of The Frog Prince and traces it through its traditional happily-ever-after ending. It seems that the disenchanted Prince and his Princess are not well matched. "In fact," wrote Linda Boyles in School Library Journal, "they're downright miserable. He misses the pond; she's tired of him sticking out his tongue and hopping on the furniture." The Prince decides to resolve his unhappy home life by finding a witch to change him back into a frog. He encounters several witches and magic makers from other fairy tales, but none of them has the power to resolve the situation. "At the end, tired and bedraggled and ready to re-count his old blessings," explained New York Times Book Review contributor Peggy Noonan, "he returns home to a by now anxious and rueful Princess, who is eager to kiss his moist amphibian mouth." Several reviewers commented on Scieszka's continued use of a witty, mature outlook in The Frog Prince, Continued. "Like Sondheim's Into the Woods," remarked Mary M. Burns in Horn Book, "Scieszka's tale is a sophisticated variant on traditional themes; it has a wry, adult perspective and yet is accessible to younger readers who enjoy—and understand—the art of parody and lampoon." Noonan also expressed the opinion that the book speaks best to older readers. "To fully appreciate The Frog Prince, Continued," she stated, "you have to have a highly developed sense of irony and a sharp sense of the absurd, which most children don't develop before they can read, despite exposure to random television programming."
Scieszka and Smith teamed up again for The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, which takes on still more classic fairy tales. "With a relentless application of the sarcasm that tickled readers of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Scieszka and Smith skewer a host of juvenile favorites," related Diane Roback and Richard Donahue in Publishers Weekly. "Blend 'Saturday Night Live' with 'Monty Python,' add a dash of Mad magazine with maybe a touch of 'Fractured Fairy Tales' from the old 'Rocky and Bullwinkle' show," stated Horn Book contributor Burns, "and you have an eclectic, frenetic mix of text and pictures with a kinetic display of typefaces."
The stories in the book range from "The Little Red Hen" and "Jack and the Beanstalk" to "Cinderumplestiltskin," "Little Red Running Shorts," and "The Tortoise and the Hair." Not only does Cinderella fail to win the prince, but Little Red Running Shorts out paces the wolf to Grandma's house, the Ugly Duckling grows into an Ugly Duck, and the Frog Prince turns out to be … a frog. Even the title character has a twist; unlike the more famous Gingerbread Man, the Stinky Cheese Man is avoided by everyone. "What marvelous liberties Scieszka and Smith take here," remarked Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor Roger Sutton, "playing around with the entire cast of Into the Woods, but managing to be twice as funny as Stephen Sondheim."
Some of the most noticeable aspects of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales are its unconventional arrangement of pages—along with other surprising elements of Molly Leach's design—and its anarchic approach to storytelling. Jack and the Hen serve as commentators and narrators in the text. "The little reddish hen on the back makes fun of the ISBN, and one blurb from the flap brags that there are seventy-three percent more pages than 'those old 32-page "Brand X" books,'" explained Signe Wilkinson in the New York Times Book Review. "The title page reads 'Title Page' in blaring two-and-a-half-inch-tall generic black type." The Table of Contents appears in the middle of the book instead of the front. Jack complains when the first story begins on the endpapers of the book instead of the first leaf. Later he avoids being eaten by the giant by distracting him with a never-ending story. The Hen—"a kvetch if ever there was one," as Burns put it—appears at odd points in the volume, complaining about the position of her story in the book. In a dark moment, after one of these appearances she is apparently eaten by the giant. "For those that are studying fairy tales at the college level," Wilkinson stated, "'The Stinky Cheese Man' would be the perfect key to the genre, but no one would mistake it for the old-fashioned originals."
In an interview with Leonard S. Marcus for Publishers Weekly, Scieszka praised Leach's contribution to the book. "People leafing through The Stinky Cheese Man would see that something different was going on—and realize that a good part of that 'something' was Molly's design," he told Marcus. Of his continuing collaboration with both Smith and Leach, Scieszka told Teacher Librarian contributor Mary Berry, "I love to work with Lane because he is an absolute perfectionist about always making the best story, or drawing, or film, or joke possible. We trade ideas back and forth and always add on to my draft of any story. Then we do the same thing working with Lane's wife, Molly, as she designs the book."
Although The Book That Jack Wrote was not a Scieszka-Smith project—the illustrations are by Daniel Adel—it continues Scieszka's theme of taking traditional fairy tales and nursery rhymes, including the works of Lewis Carroll, and turning them upside down. Its pictures are more realistic but fully as surreal as any of the collaborations between Scieszka and Smith. "The characters are borrowed largely from children's literature—a grinning Cheshiresque cat, a cow jumping over the moon, a pieman at the fair, Humpty Dumpty, and the Mad Hatter—but they bear only a passing resemblance to their traditional forms," noted Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan in School Library Journal. "Readers who require logic will be stymied," observed Elizabeth Devereaux and Diane Roback in Publishers Weekly; "those who appreciate near-Victorian oddities and Escher-like conundrums will tumble right in." Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded, "This one will wow even the most sophisticated."
Like The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, The Book That Jack Wrote operates on several different levels, according to the sophistication of the reader. The original rhyme, "The House That Jack Built," is very old—perhaps dating back to 1590, according to William S. and Ceil Baring-Gould in their The Annotated Mother Goose—and belongs to a class of poems known to scholars as "accumulative rhymes." It builds on a single statement and adds more and more detail with each line, like the Christmas carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas." In The Book That Jack Wrote, however, Scieszka and Adel turn this structure on its head by looping the last page to the first page—the title character appears on both pages crushed under a fallen portrait. So what appears to be a straight-line story is in fact a never-ending circle.
Math Curse, another Smith-Scieszka collaboration, "is one of the great books of the decade, if not of the century," commented Dorothy M. Broderick in Voice of Youth Advocates. The narrator, a little girl, is caught up in a remark made by her math teacher, Mrs. Fibonacci: "You know, you can turn almost anything into a math problem." According to Deborah Stevenson in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, "The result is a story problem gone exponentially berserk." Soon the anonymous narrator can think of nothing except math problems. "It's a math curse: for the next twenty-four hours no activity remains uncontaminated by this compulsive perspective," explained Amy Edith Johnson in the New York Times Book Review. She finally "breaks out of her prison," Stevenson continued, "by using two halves of chalk to make a (w)hole."
As in Scieszka and Smith's earlier works, Math Curse slyly introduces mature elements of humor. Mrs. Fibonacci likes to count using the Fibonacci series of numbers. The author and illustrator credits are contained within a Venn diagram, and the price is written in binary rather than Arabic numerals. Like a traditional math textbook, the answers to the questions are printed in the book: in this case, they appear upside-down on the back cover. "This isn't coating math with fun to make it palatable," remarked Stevenson, "it's genuine math as genuine fun." Scieszka and Smith, Johnson concluded, "capture a genuine intellectual phenomenon: possession … that can swallow up a student, generally in junior high school, as systems of thought spring into three dimensions and ideas become worlds—for a time."
In Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables, Scieszka and Smith offer a new twist on fables, as their earlier works did for fairy tales. The stories are billed as "fables that Aesop might have told if he were alive today and sitting in the back of the class daydreaming," and their morals include "Don't ever listen to a talking bug" and "You should always tell the truth. But if your mom is out having the hair taken off her lip, you might want to forget a few of the details." "As with all successful parodies … the reader does not need to know the original to appreciate the caricature," commented New York Times Book Review contributor Patricia Marx, who described the book as "a funny collection of warped fables." Roger Sutton, writing in Horn Book, remarked that "the humor is definitely juvenile and wears a little thin, but Scieszka has perfect pitch when it comes to this kind of thing." A Publishers Weekly reviewer thought Scieszka and Smith, even while sending up the genre, pay "tribute to the original fables' economy and moral intent .… Beneath this duo's playful eccentricity readers will discover some powerful insights into human nature."
Scieszka and Smith teamed up again for Baloney (Henry P.), a tale of a creature on another planet who is chronically late for school, so he comes up with creative excuses in a most unusual language. This language includes many foreign words and some coined by Scieszka; a guide at the end of the book helps readers translate. "The message of the book … is that mysterious words are not frightening but fun," related Ben McIntyre in the New York Times Book Review. He thought "the words used to describe Baloney's odyssey through space and language are rather more interesting and unexpected than anything that actually happens to him," but added that "there is something pleasantly subversive … about this bug-eyed linguistic space creature." Toby Clements, writing in London's Daily Telegraph, deemed Baloney (Henry P.) "a wonderful book, with illustrations that inspire and amuse," while the Los Angeles Times Book Review chose it as one of the best children's books of 2001.
Nearly ten years after the publication of Math Curse, Scieszka and Smith answered reader requests for a science sequel. Scieszka tried ten to twenty different versions of the book before coming up with one he liked; he explained to a Publishers Weekly interviewer: "The name Science Verse came to me with the idea of writing parodies of famous verse and poems … with scientific content. And then all of the work and struggling was suddenly like flying." He told the interviewer that the book "was one of those initially maddening but eventually and ultimately most rewarding books to work on."
As in Math Curse, Science Verse finds a student allowing the comment of a teacher, this time Mr. Newton, to change the way she thinks. As a result, she begins seeing the world in terms of the "poetry of science"—in this case, literally poetry based on scientific concepts. Food additives are featured in a poem based on Lewis Carroll's classic poem "Jabberwocky," while Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" becomes a poem about studying dinosaurs year after year in school.
Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan called the book "intelligent, irreverent, inviting, and downright irresistible." While considering Science Verse to be less successful than Math Curse, a Kirkus Reviews contributor did acknowledge that the book "will nevertheless find an eager audience, who will hope that the results of Mr. Picasso's curse will soon be forthcoming." Grace Oliff in School Library Journal assured, "Children need not be familiar with the works upon which the spoofs are based to enjoy the humor, but this is a perfect opportunity to introduce the originals and to discuss parody as a poetic form." Horn Book contributor Peter D. Sieruta commented, "Scieszka's clever verses … relate simple scientific concepts about topics such as precipitation, the food chain, and atoms, while demonstrating a neat awareness of how kids think."
Science Verse also comes with an audio recording of Smith and Scieszka reading the poetry aloud, and having fun improvising comedy between the poems. "Poems and songs are meant to be spoken/sung aloud," Scieszka explained in Publishers Weekly. "The CD just seemed like a natural way to share the book."
Scieszka and Lane Smith have also produced a series of books for younger readers called "The Time Warp Trio." The books are, according to Amanda Smith in Publishers Weekly, "an introduction for children to other genres of literature." They tend to downplay the satire and parody of their picture books in favor of fast-moving plots and contemporary comedy. "I saw a need for something between a picture book and a chapter book," Scieszka told Smith. "Kids get stuck in that lull there. When I taught third and fourth grades, I couldn't find cool-looking books to hand to boys, who, for the most part, were reluctant readers and didn't want to be seen as dummies." Scieszka and his coauthor wanted to make the books attractive to those readers, he continued, "so they'd pick 'em up and not feel bad about walkin' around with 'em. But still make 'em short enough, action-packed enough, disgusting enough."
The series takes the three boys, Joe, Fred, and Sam, by way of a magical Book, to the court of King Arthur in Knights of the Kitchen Table, to face the pirate Black-beard in The Not-So-Jolly Roger, into the distant future to meet their own descendants in 2095, and through bizarre encounters with characters from classic children's stories in Summer Reading Is Killing Me! The books, observed a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, "demonstrate Scieszka's perfect ear for schoolyard dialogue and humor—most notably of the bodily function variety." Some of the later titles in the series are illustrated by Adam McCauley rather than Smith.
The trio's adventures almost always occur accidentally; some conversation they have will trigger the Book; in each time they visit, they have to find where the Book has disappeared to before they can return to their own time. Because of this, they face such perils as warrior samurai and evil war leaders in Sam, Samurai, raiding Vikings in Viking It and Liking It, and an evil high priest who wants to sacrifice them in Me Oh Maya. Their journeys also introduce them to such notable historical characters as Thomas Alva Edison in Hey Kid, Want to Buy a Bridge? and Leonardo da Vinci in Da Wild, Da Crazy, da Vinci. Elaine E. Knight, in her School Library Journal review of Sam, Samurai pointed out, "Elements of Japanese history blend with wild anachronisms and off-the-wall humor." Writing for Booklist, Kay Weisman noted that in Me Oh Maya, "Scieszka manages to work in a fair amount of information about Mayan culture." Booklist contributor Karin Snelson noted of the whole series, "The snappy dialogue and classic boy humor in this series of chapter books guarantee chuckles from the most reluctant readers."
In 2001, Scieszka launched the "Guys Read" campaign, designed to encourage boys to read. He was distressed by statistics indicating that boys are far less proficient at reading than girls are. "Boys are [viewed] like criminals in school; they're seen as toxic," he told Los Angeles Times reporter Barbara J. Odanaka. "And I'd like to save boys from that." Odanaka related that Scieszka "is quick to stress that Guys Read is not anti-girl, but pro-boy," and that he likens it to programs that encourage girls' work in math and science. Aspects of the campaign include developing father-son book clubs and raising educators' awareness of the types of books that will appeal to boys. "They want to read books that will titillate or electrify them first," Scieszka told Publishers Weekly contributor Shannon Maughan. "Then we can move them into something more sophisticated, with an emotional palette that helps them become more well-rounded people." Overall, he hopes to show boys that reading is cool.
The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) had already been formulating reading programs when Scieszka began "Guys Read." They initially approached Lane Smith to do some art work, and through that contact they learned about the efforts Scieszka had already begun. In 2001 the network, Penguin Putnam, and Scieszka began their collaboration, and since then the project has continued to grow; Scieszka manages the Web site GuysRead.com and has edited a collection titled Guys Write for Guys Read. The book includes writings by such notable "guy" authors as Gary Paulsen, Laurence Yep, and Daniel Handler (who also writes as Lemony Snicket), as well as art from Mo Willems and The Simpsons creator Matt Groenig. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted that "the contributors keep their works succinct and enticing, allowing boys to skip about, and dip in and out." Scieszka explained to Kathryn R. Satterfield in Time for Kids that he chose male authors because he feels male readers can better relate to them as role models. "I thought the boys could see themselves in all these different guys," he said.
Scieszka's distinctive brand of humor already has made many boys—and girls—consider reading cool. "I think that turning something upside down or doing something wrong is the peak of what's funny to second graders," Scieszka told Booklist interviewer Stephanie Zvirin. "Catching adults or the world at large doing something wrong empowers kids because they know the right thing—like brushing your hair with your toothbrush. If they get a gag like that, they know they're in the real world."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Baring-Gould, William S., and Ceil Baring-Gould, The Annotated Mother Goose, Bramball House (New York, NY), 1962, pp. 43-45.
Children's Literature Review, Volume 27, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992, pp. 152-157.
Marcus, Leonard S., Side by Side: Five Favorite Picture Book Teams Go to Work, Walker (New York, NY), 2001.
St. James Guide to Children's Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.
Seventh Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators, H. W. Wilson (New York, NY), 1996, pp. 289-290.
Silvey, Anita, editor, Children's Books and Their Creators, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1995, pp. 581-582.
Booklist, September 1, 1992, Stephanie Zvirin, "Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith," p. 57; October 1, 1993, p. 344; June 1, 1995; November 1, 1995, p. 472; October 1, 1996, p. 352; November 1, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Sam Samurai, p. 475; February 1, 2002, Todd Morning, review of Hey Kid, Want to Buy a Bridge? p. 939; December 1, 2002, Karin Snelson, review of Viking It and Liking It, p. 668; September 15, 2003, Kay Weisman, review of Me Oh Maya, p. 241; July, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of Science Verse, p. 1843; August, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Da Wild, Da Crazy, da Vinci, p. 1937.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 1989, Roger Sutton, review of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!, p. 19; October, 1992, Roger Sutton, review of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, pp. 33-34; October, 1995, Deborah Stevenson, review of Math Curse, pp. 68-69.
Children's Digest, March-April, 2005, review of Science Verse, p. 26.
Children's Literature Association Quarterly, fall, 1990, Marilyn Fain Apseloff, "The Big, Bad Wolf: New Approaches to an Old Folk Tale," pp. 135-137.
Daily Telegraph (London, England), December 1, 2001, Toby Clements, "Fed up with Wearing Stone Underpants," p. 5.
Horn Book, July-August, 1991, Mary M. Burns, review of The Frog Prince, Continued, pp. 451-452; November-December, 1992, Mary M. Burns, review of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, p. 720; November-December, 1995, p. 738; November-December, 1996, pp. 713-717; November, 1998, Roger Sutton, review of Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables, p. 718; May 1, 2001, review of Baloney (Henry P.), p. 316; September-October, 2004, Peter D. Sieruta, review of Science Verse, p. 574.
Instructor, September 1, 2001, Judy Freeman, review of Baloney (Henry P.), p. 28.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 1994, review of The Book That Jack Wrote, p. 1139; January 1, 2002, review of Hey Kid, Want to Buy a Bridge? p. 51; September 1, 2002, review of Viking It and Liking It, p. 1320; August 15, 2004, review of Science Verse, p. 813.
Los Angeles Times, May 14, 2001, Barbara Odanaka, "Getting Boys on the Same Page," section 5, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, January 7, 1996, p. 15; December 2, 2001, "The Best Books of 2001," p. 15.
New York Times Book Review, November 12, 1989, Frank Gannon, "Everybody's Favorite Swine," p. 27; May 19, 1991, Peggy Noonan, "Those Moist Amphibian Lips," p. 25; October 6, 1991, p. 23; November 8, 1992, Signe Wilkinson, "No Princes, No White Horses, No Happy Endings," pp. 29, 59; November 12, 1995, Amy Edith Johnson, "Your Days Are Numbered," p. 31; November 15, 1998, Patricia Marx, "Don't Ever Listen to a Talking Bug," p. 30; May 20, 2001, Ben McIntyre, "Zerplatzen on the Speelplaats," p. 31.
Parenting, May, 2001, Leonard S. Marcus, "Talking with … the Creators of Baloney (Henry P.)," p. 24; December, 2001, "Parenting Reading Magic Awards," p. 151.
People, November 28, 1994, p. 42.
Publishers Weekly, July 28, 1989, Kimberly Olson Fakih and Diane Roback, review of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!, p. 218; May 17, 1991, reviews of Knights of the Kitchen Table and The Not-So-Jolly Roger, p. 64; July 26, 1991, Amanda Smith, "Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith," pp. 220-221; September 28, 1992, Diane Roback and Richard Donahue, review of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, pp. 79-80; July 4, 1994, Elizabeth Devereaux and Diane Roback, review of The Book That Jack Wrote, p. 63; September 11, 1995, p. 86; May 18, 1998, review of Squids Will Be Squids, p. 78; May 25, 1998, Shannon Maughan, "Summertime, and the Reading Is Easy," p. 28; February 14, 2000, Leonard S. Marcus, "Talking with Authors," p. 98; April 30, 2001, review of Baloney (Henry P.), p. 76; May 7, 2001, Shannon Maughan, "You Go, Guys," p. 41; July 16, 2001, Leonard S. Marcus, "A Collaborative Effort," p. 84; August 2, 2004, review of Science Verse, p. 70; September 13, 2004, Shannon Maughan, "The Sound of Science," p. 38; February 21, 2005, review of Guys Write for Guys Read, pp. 176-177.
School Library Journal, May, 1991, Linda Boyles, review of The Frog Prince, Continued, pp. 83-84; August, 1991, p. 169; December, 1993, p. 27; September, 1994, Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, review of The Book That Jack Wrote, pp. 193, 199; July, 1995, p. 81; September, 1995, p. 215; November, 2001, Elaine E. Knight, review of Sam Samurai, p. 136; March, 2002, Kay Bowes, review of Hey Kid, Want to Buy a Bridge? p. 201; January, 2003, Pat Leach, review of Viking It and Liking It, p. 111; October, 2003, review of Viking It and Liking It, p. S37; December, 2003, Pat Leach, review of Me Oh Maya, p. 125; September, 2004, Janet Dawson Hamilton, review of Math Curse, p. 58, Grace Oliff, review of Science Verse, p. 179; October, 2004, review of Me Oh Maya, p. S30; December, 2004, Debbie Whitbeck, review of Da Wild, Da Crazy, da Vinci, p. 122.
Teacher Librarian, September 1, 2000, Mary Berry, "An Interview with Jon Scieszka: 'In Need of a Good Book,'" p. 55.
Time, December 21, 1992, pp. 69-70.
Time for Kids, April 8, 2005, Kathryn R. Satterfield, "Boys Book Club."
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), July 26, 1998, Mary Harris Russell, review of Summer Reading Is Killing Me!, p. 7; November 15, 1998, Mary Harris Russell, review of Squids Will Be Squids, p. 7; June 17, 2001, Mary Harris Russell, review of Baloney (Henry P.), p. 4.
Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1996, Dorothy M. Broderick, review of Math Curse, p. 376.
GuysRead.com, http://www.guysread.com/ (April 27, 2005).
KidsReads.com, http://www.kidsread.com/ (April 27, 2005), "Jon Scieszka."*
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