Dominic Catalano (1956-) Biography
Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1956, in Syracuse, NY; Education: State University of New York at Buffalo, B.S., 1978; State University of New York at Oswego, M.A., 1988; Syracuse University, M.F. A., 1991. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, camping, canoeing, cooking, woodworking, toy making.
Children's book illustrator and author. Cat Graphics Design and Illustration, Syracuse, NY, owner, artist, and creative director, 1978—; art and music teacher for various schools in New York State, 1978-87; Herald Journal and Post Standard (newspapers), Syracuse, art director and graphic artist, 1982-86; Cazenovia College, Cazenovia, NY, design, drawing, and illustration teacher, 1988—; State College of New York at Oswego, Syracuse, assistant professor of illustration, 1989-91; Onondaga County Board of Cooperative Educational Services, Syracuse, graphic design teacher, 1991-93. Exhibitions: Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, 1992; Tyler Gallery of the State University of New York at Oswego; New York State Fair; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; and Limestone Gallery, Fayetteville, NY.
National Wildlife Federation, Nature Conservancy.
First prize in graphics, New York State Fair; second prize, Everson Museum WCNY Art Invitational.
Wolf Plays Alone , Philomel (New York, NY), 1992.
The Highland Minstrel Players Proudly Present Frog Went a-Courting: A Musical Play in Six Acts, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1998.
Santa and the Three Bears Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2000.
Mr. Basset Plays Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2003.
Hush!: A Fantasy in Verse, Gingham Dog Press (Columbus, OH), 2004.
Arnold Sungaard, The Bear Who Loved Puccini, Philomel (New York, NY), 1992.
Nancy W. Carlstrom, Rise and Shine, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.
Eric L. Houck, Jr., Rabbit Surprise, Crown (New York, NY), 1993.
Roni Schotter, Monsieur Cochon, Philomel (New York, NY), 1993.
Roni Schotter, That Extraordinary Pig of Paris, Philomel (New York, NY), 1994.
Larry Dane Brimner, Merry Christmas, Old Armadillo, Boyds Mills (Honesdale, PA), 1995.
Christine San Jose, Sleeping Beauty, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1997.
Marilyn J. Woody, Basil Bear Takes a Trip, Gold 'n' Honey (Sisters, OR), 1998.
Marilyn J. Woody, Basil Bear Goes to Church, Multnomah (Sisters, OR), 1998.
Joan Elizabeth Goodman, Bernard's Nap, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1999.
Marilyn J. Woody, Basil Bear Learns to Tell Time, Gold 'n' Honey (Sisters, OR), 1999.
Joan Elizabeth Goodman, Bernard's Bath, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2000.
Hazel Hutchins, The Wide World of Suzie Mallard, Ducks Unlimited (Memphis, TN), 2000.
Tobi Tobias, The Ballerina Cat, Browndeer (San Diego, CA), 2000.
Patricia L. Barnes-Svarney, A House for Wanda Wood Duck, Ducks Unlimited (Memphis, TN), 2001.
Joan Elizabeth Goodman, Bernard Goes to School, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2001.
Dandi Daley Mackall, A Tree for Christmas, Concordia Publishing House (Saint Louis, MO), 2004.
Miriam Aroner, Clink, Clank, Clunk, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2005.
In addition to writing and illustrating several books for young readers, Dominic Catalano has illustrated more than a dozen children's books for other authors, among them the popular "Bernard" series written by Joan Elizabeth Goodman and the "Basil Bear" series by Marilyn J. Woody. Catalan's picture-book debut was as the illustrator to Arnold Sungaard's The Bear Who Loved Puccini, about which a reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that the artist's "muted pastel illustrations echo the understated wit of this upbeat tale." Catalano's illustrations for Rabbit Surprise, by Eric L. Houck, Jr., have also been well received due to their sense of fun; "Youngsters will relish the abundant humor of Catalano's illustrations," maintained a reviewer for Publishers Weekly.
Catalano's illustrations for Goodman's "Bernard" books counts among his best-known work. Bernard is a young elephant who happens to have many things in common with young children, such as not being sleepy at nap time in Bernard's Nap, the first installment of the series. Catalano's illustrations for Bernard's Bath focus on tubby time, and were equally as well received, Booklist critic Lauren Peterson describing them as "bursting with all the fun and activity one would expect from a tub full of elephants." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly also mentioned that "there's much sly visual enjoyment" within Catalano's work for the series.
Catalano made his debut as an author/illustrator with Wolf Plays Alone, a book about a wolf who wants to play his horn one night but keeps getting interrupted. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly summed it up as a "sweet, though unexceptional, read-aloud." In his second book, The Highland Minstrel Players Proudly Present Frog Went a-Courting: A Musical Play in Six Acts, Catalano sets his stage adaptation of the familiar American folk song in Scotland. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly wrote that "A simple arrangement of the song, complete with guitar chords, sounds the closing notes to this buoyant musical." Similarly, Santa and the Three Bears presents a variation on the classic Gold-ilocks tale, with Mama, Papa, and Baby Bear wandering into Santa's workshop. A contributor to School Library Journal dubbed the volume useful during the holiday season as "an additional title for storytime."
Mr. Basset Plays is a story about a rich businessdog who learns the value of friendship and play. Leslie Barban, writing for School Library Journal, wrote that "Large, bold illustrations fill the pages with color, bringing these well dressed characters to life with personality and humor," while a Kirkus contributor deemed the volume "a good choice for sharing with friends." Catalano has also written the self-illustrated bedtime story Hush!: A Fantasy in Verse, about a child waking from a bad dream who is comforted by her father. Kathleen Simonetta summed up the book in School Library Journal as "an interesting and fun take on the rhyme."
"As a junior high school student," Catalano once reminisced to Something about the Author ( SATA ), "I 'rediscovered' picture books. The class, a creative writing course, was taught by a man who just sparkled when he read to us. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak was a motivational read and each of us wrote our own stories à la Max's adventure. I illustrated mine as well. Needless to say I was bitten by the bug."
Catalano divides his life among his three joys: art, music, and teaching. He teaches illustration at Columbus College of Art and Design and lives in nearby Bexley, Ohio with his wife and stepson. "I feel so lucky to be writing and illustrating children's books now," he noted to SATA. "This is an exciting time in books, and a very competitive one. I know my most valuable trait will be my persistence. I believe in myself—one has to! I know I have a contribution to make to our children. In some ways I just can't believe it's all happened! If my junior high teacher could see me now."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, February 1, 1996, review of Bernard's Bath, p. 938; October 15, 1997, Julie Corsaro, review of Sleeping Beauty, p. 410; October 15, 1998, Helen Rosenberg, review of Frog Went a-Courting, p. 424; September 1, 2000, Hazel Rocman, review of Santa and the Three Bears, p. 131.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2003, review of Mr. Basset Plays, p. 461.
Publishers Weekly, June 15, 1992, review of The Bear Who Loved Puccini, p. 101; August 31, 1992, review of Wolf Plays Alone, p. 79; August 3, 1998, review of Frog Went a-Courting, p. 84; January 17, 2000, review of Bernard's Bath, p. 58; September 25, 3000, review of Santa and the Three Bears, p. 68.
School Library Journal, October, 1998, Jane Marino, review of Frog Went a-Courting, p. 122; October, 2000, review of Santa and the Three Bears, p. 58; March, 2003, review of Mr. Basset Plays, p. 179; January, 2004, review of Hush!: A Fantasy in Verse, p. 95.
Dominic Catalano Home Page, http://www.author-illustrsource.com/dominiccatalano (August 15, 2004).*
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