17 minute read

Diane deGroat (1947–) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

Born 1947, in Newton, NJ; Education: Attended Phoenix School of Design, 1964; Pratt Institute, B.F.A., 1969.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarperCollins, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019-4703.


Illustrator and author of books for children, 1971–. Holt, Rinehart &Winston (book publishers), New York, NY, book designer, then art director of Basic Reading Program, 1969–72. Exhibitions: Work has appeared in shows, including Society of Illustrators Annual National Exhibition, New York, NY, 1973, 1975; Art Directors Club, New York, 1974; and American Institute of Graphic Arts Annual Book Show, New York, 1978. Work exhibited at R. Michelson Gallery, Amherst, MA.

Honors Awards

California Young Readers Award, 1975, for Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth, by Lucy Bate; Arkansas State Children's Book Award, North Carolina State Children's Book Award, and Children's Choice, International Reading Association/Children's Book Council, all for Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink.



Alligator's Toothache, Crown (New York, NY), 1977.

Annie Pitts, Artichoke, Chronicle (New York, NY), 1992.

Annie Pitts, Swamp Monster, Chronicle (New York, NY), 1993.

Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink, Morrow (New York, NY), 1995.

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, Morrow (New York, NY), 1998.

Happy Birthday to You, You Belong in a Zoo, Morrow (New York, NY), 1999.

Jingle Bells, Homework Smells, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

Annie Pitts, Burger Kid, SeaStar (New York, NY), 2000.

Diane deGroat

We Gather Together—Now Please Get Lost!, Chronicle (New York, NY), 2001.

Lola the Elf, Night Sky Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Love, Lola, Night Sky Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite, Chronicle (New York, NY), 2002.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire, Chronicle (New York, NY), 2003.

Lola's Costume, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2004.

Lola Hides the Eggs, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2004.

Brand-New Pencils, Brand-New Books, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.

No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks!, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.

Last One in Is a Rotten Egg, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2007.


Eleanor L. Clymer, Luke Was There, Holt (New York, NY), 1973.

Elinor Parker, Four Seasons, Five Senses, Scribner (New York, NY), 1974.

Marcia Newfield, A Book for Jodan, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1975.

Lucy Bate, Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth, Crown (New York, NY), 1975.

Mamie Hegwood, My Friend Fish, Holt (New York, NY), 1975.

Anne Snyder, Nobody's Family, Holt (New York, NY), 1975.

Miriam B. Young, Truth and Consequences, Four Winds (New York, NY), 1975.

Sylvia Sunderlin, Antrim's Orange, Scribner (New York, NY), 1976.

Maria Polushkin, Bubba and Babba: Based on a Russian Folktale, Crown (New York, NY), 1976.

Harriett M. Luger, Chasing Trouble, Viking (New York, NY), 1976.

Kathryn F. Ernst, Mr. Tamarin's Trees, Crown (New York, NY), 1976.

Eve Bunting, One More Flight, Warne (New York, NY), 1976.

Kathryn F. Ernst, Owl's New Cards, Crown (New York, NY), 1977.

Ann Tompert, Badger on His Own, Crown (New York, NY), 1978.

Tobi Tobias, How Your Mother and Father Met, and What Happened After, McGraw Hill (New York, NY), 1978.

Lois Lowry, Anastasia Krupnik, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1979.

Seymour Simon, Animal Fact/Animal Fable, Crown (New York, NY), 1979.

Elizabeth T. Billington, Part-Time Boy, Warne (New York, NY), 1980.

Valerie Flournoy, The Twins Strike Back, Dial (New York, NY), 1980.

Lois Lowry, Anastasia Again!, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1981.

Christine McDonnell, Don't Be Mad, Ivy, Dial (New York, NY), 1981.

Barbara Dillon, Who Needs a Bear?, Morrow (New York, NY), 1981.

Lynn Luderer, The Toad Intruder, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1982.

Christine McDonnell, Toad Food and Measle Soup, Dial (New York, NY), 1982.

Johanna Hurwitz, Tough Luck Karen, Morrow (New York, NY), 1982.

Susan Shreve, Bad Dreams of a Good Girl, Knopf (New York, NY), 1982.

Lois Lowry, Anastasia at Your Service, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1982.

Johanna Hurwitz, DeDe Takes Charge!, Morrow (New York, NY), 1984.

Susan Shreve, The Flunking of Joshua T. Bates, Knopf (New York, NY), 1984.

Bonnie Pryor, Amanda and April, Morrow (New York, NY), 1986.

Steven L. Nickman, When Mom and Dad Divorce, Messner (New York, NY), 1986.

Johanna Hurwitz, Hurricane Elaine, Morrow (New York, NY), 1986.

Niki Yektai, Bears in Pairs, Simon &Schuster (New York, NY), 1987.

Barbara Cohen, The Christmas Revolution, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1987.

Robin A. Thrush, The Gray Whales Are Missing, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1987.

Christine McDonnell, Just for the Summer, Viking (New York, NY), 1987.

Barbara Isenberg, Albert the Running Bear Gets the Jitters, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1988.

Lois Lowry, All about Sam, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1988.

Barbara Cohen, The Orphan Game, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1988.

Kate McMullan, Great Advice from Lila Fenwick, Puffin (New York, NY), 1989.

Johanna Hurwitz, Aldo Peanut Butter, Morrow (New York, NY), 1990.

Joanne Rocklin, Jace the Ace, Simon &Schuster (New York, NY), 1990.

Bonnie Pryor, Merry Christmas, Amanda and April, Morrow (New York, NY), 1990.

Barbara Cohen, The Long Way Home, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1990.

Kate McMullan, The Great Eggspectations of Lila Fen-wick, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1991.

Jamie Gilson, Itchy Richard, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1991.

Eve Bunting, A Turkey for Thanksgiving, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1991.

Lois Lowry, Attaboy, Sam!, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1992.

Lisa G. Evans, An Elephant Never Forgets Its Snorkel: How Animals Survive without Tools and Gadgets, Crown (New York, NY), 1992.

Jean Van Leeuwen, The Great Summer Camp Catastrophe, Dial (New York, NY), 1992.

Kevin Roth, Lullabies for Little Dreamers, Random House (New York, NY), 1992.

Carol p. Saul, Peter's Song, Simon &Schuster (New York, NY), 1992.

Eve Bunting, Our Teacher's Having a Baby, Clarion (New York, NY), 1992.

Susan Shreve, Wait for Me, Morrow (New York, NY), 1992.

Eve Merriam, Where Is Everybody?: An Animal Alphabet, Simon &Schuster (New York, NY), 1992.

Susan Shreve, Amy Dunn Quits School, Morrow (New York, NY), 1993.

Ruth Westheimer, Dr. Ruth Talks to Kids: Where You Came From, How Your Body Changes, and What Sex Is All About, Simon &Schuster (New York, NY), 1993.

Teddy Slater, The Wrong-Way Rabbit, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1993.

A.C. LeMieux, Fruit Flies, Fish, and Fortune Cookies, Morrow (New York, NY), 1994.

Jamie Gilson, It Goes Eeeeeeeeeeee, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1994.

Stephanie Calmenson, Kinderkittens: Show and Tell, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1994.

P.J. Petersen, Some Days, Other Days, Scribner (New York, NY), 1994.

Eve Bunting, Sunshine Home, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1994.

Jamie Gilson, You Don't Know Beans about Bats, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1994.

John Dennis Fitzgerald, The Great Brain Is Back, Dial (New York, NY), 1995.

Stephanie Calmenson, Kinderkittens: Who Took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1995.

Lois Lowry, See You Around, Sam!, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1996.

Pam Muñoz Ryan, A Pinky Is a Baby Mouse, and Other Baby Animal Names, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1997.

Pam Muñoz Ryan, Armadillos Sleep in Dugouts, and Other Places Animals Live, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1997.

Amy Goldman Koss, How I Saved Hanukkah, Dial (New York, NY), 1998.

Patricia Hubbell, Pots and Pans, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 1998.

Jamie Gilson, Bug in a Rug, Clarion (New York, NY), 1998.

Kimberley Weinberger, Our Thanksgiving, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Lois Lowry, Zooman Sam, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1999.

Mary Downing Hahn, Anna All Year Round, Clarion (New York, NY), 1999.

Joan Lowrey Nixon, Gus &Gertie and the Missing Pearl, SeaStar (New York, NY), 2000.

Joanna Hurwitz, One Small Dog, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

Joan Lowrey Nixon, Gus &Gertie and the Lucky Charms, SeaStar (New York, NY), 2001.

Mary Downing Hahn, Anna on the Farm, Clarion (New York, NY), 2001.


In addition to writing her own books, Diane deGroat has illustrated numerous books by some of the most prominent authors in children's literature, including Lois Lowry, Eve Bunting, and Joan Lowrey Nixon. DeGroat's interest in art began during her childhood, growing up in Belleville, New Jersey. She took her first painting lessons at the age of seven, and by the time she reached her junior year of high school she had won a scholarship to study at the Phoenix School of Design in New York City for a summer. She attended college at the highly regarded Pratt Institute.

After graduating from Pratt, deGroat worked as a book designer for New York publisher Holt, Rinehart &Winston, designing their first basic reading program. There she learned about book production and developed an interest in children's books. In 1972 she left Holt to become a freelance illustrator.

After twenty years of illustrating for other authors, deGroat was inspired to write and illustrate the first of her amusing stories about third-grader Annie Pitts, who wants nothing in the world more than to be a famous actress. She thinks that her big break to stardom is waiting around every corner, which leads her into many funny situations. In Annie Pitts, Artichoke, Annie accompanies her class on a field trip to the supermarket. While there, she hopes that the store manager will notice her and ask her to appear in his next television commercial. When Annie winds up hitting her classmate Matthew in the head with a dead fish, however, the class is asked to leave the store. As punishment, the teacher makes Annie play the undesirable role of an artichoke in the school play. In a Booklist review, Ellen Mandel called Annie Pitts, Artichoke "amusing and highly palatable reading fare, with sprightly, realistically drawn illustrations that enhance the book's energy and fun."

In 1993's Annie Pitts, Swamp Monster, Annie jumps at the chance to star in a low-budget horror movie being produced by a high-school student as a class project. She takes her role as the swamp monster very seriously, hoping it could be the opportunity she has been waiting for to get into show business. The filming turns into one hilarious disaster after another, however, and Annie is embarrassed when the video is shown to her grade-school class. Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, writing in School Library Journal, called the book "breezy and lighthearted" and noted that "the slapstick humor will have young readers giggling." Booklist reviewer Chris Sherman added that "the black-and-white illustrations are delightful" and claimed that the book was "sure to win new fans for author-illustrator deGroat."

Annie Pitts returns for a new adventure in Annie Pitts, Burger Kid. Annie is determined to become the next poster model for Burger Barn. But before her audition, she must catch up with a heavy dose of homework and deal with an awkward Thanksgiving dinner with too many guests. "Readers will admire the redhead's spunk," wrote Gay Lynn Van Vleck in School Library Journal, while Ellen Mandel wrote in Booklist that "fans of … Annie's other adventures won't be disappointed."

With Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink deGroat introduces readers to Gilbert, a woodland creature who is attending elementary school. When his class assignment is to write a Valentine card for every person in the class, Gilbert cannot think of anything nice to say about class bully Lewis or mean Margaret. Instead, he writes clever insults about both of them, signing the other's name to the card. It does not take long to figure out the culprit, and after Gilbert gets in trouble, both Lewis and Margaret apologize for hurting his feelings. "The winning touch here is deGroat's characteristically buoyant watercolor art," commented a critic for Publishers Weekly. "Kids will enjoy all the rhymes, and they'll want to make up their own playful parodies," added Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman.

Gilbert and friends return in Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet. Here Gilbert is excited to be a space pilot for Halloween, but when he opens the bag containing his costume, he realizes that he and his sister Lola accidentally switched the bags containing their Halloween costumes. At first mortified by the though of dressing up as a ballerina, when Gilbert ends up as the only ballerina in a class of space pilots, he decides it is fun to be unique and has fun posing as a ballerina until his sister demands her costume back. "Gilbert's good-natured blunderings make for a kid-appealing Halloween treat," When Gilbert makes a misstep while cast in the role of George Washington in the school play, he realizes that admitting to an untruth is easier on stage than in person in deGroat's Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire.wrote Horn Book reviewer Marilyn Bousquin, while Hazel Rochman wrote in Booklist that deGroat's "funny watercolor pictures capture the various animal creatures' very human expressions."

Gilbert and company star in several other adventures, including Happy Birthday to You, You Belong in a Zoo, in which Gilbert is invited to bully Lewis's birthday party. Not wanting to get Lewis anything good, Gilbert suggests to his Mom that buying him a frying pan would be a good idea; when he enjoys himself at the party, he begins to feel guilty about the gift, only to realize as Lewis opens the present from Gilbert that his mother bought a good gift instead. "DeGroat's watercolors capture Gilbert's changing moods perfectly," complimented a critic for Publishers Weekly, while Kathy Broderick noted in Booklist that "both story and watercolor pictures excel at capturing the anguish children often feel" in awkward social situations. In Jingle Bells, Homework Smells Gilbert puts off doing his homework over a weekend while preparing for Christmas, and by Monday morning, he has completely forgotten about it. "Gilbert's dilemma is a common one and most readers will appreciate his last-minute attempt to appease his teacher," wrote a School Library Journal reviewer.

Camp Hi-Dee-Ho is the setting for Gilbert's first overnight camping experience in Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite! Here Gilbert is scared when other campers tell ghost stories, but a midnight trek to the bathroom reveals that he is not the only one frightened. "Those anticipating … an inaugural camp expe-rience especially will revel in this realistic yet reassuring visit," wrote a Publishers Weekly critic. According to Kitty Flynn in Horn Book, deGroat "gets the thrills and (slight) chills of a first overnight camping experience just right." Gilbert is given the role of George Washington in a class skit in Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire. Though his line is "I cannot tell a lie," when faced with a tough situation, Gilbert realizes that telling the truth is often much harder than lying. Ilene Cooper, writing in Booklist, commented on the "humorous text, the sprightly art with its all-animal cast, and the message that peeks through the fun." According to Anne Knickerbocker in School Library Journal, "this entertaining tale provides good discussion material and should be a winner at storytime."

With Brand-New Pencils, Brand-New Books, deGroat tells the story of Gilbert's very first day of school. While some things go wrong on his first day, he realizes that he has strengths his classmates do not, while some of them excel at things that he is not good at. Booklist critic Gillian Engberg felt that "deGroat skillfully shows a child's common anxieties throughout a school day." The "Gilbert" books continue on with No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teacher's Dirty Looks! as well as a spin-off series features stories about Lola, Gilbert's little sister.

Among the many books deGroat has illustrated for other authors is Eve Bunting's Sunshine Home. The story centers around seven-year-old Timmy, whose grandmother has been placed in a nursing home after injuring herself in a fall. On his first visit to Sunshine Home, Timmy is nervous about what he will find there. Although he does not like the "barf green" walls or the way the place smells, the boy is relieved that his grandmother seems the same and their visit goes well. After his family leaves, however, Timmy's mother begins to cry. Discovering that he has forgotten to give his grandmother a copy of his school picture, Timmy runs back into the nursing home and finds his grandmother crying too. When he brings his parents back inside to talk to his grandmother again, everyone in the family is able to confront their true feelings about the situation. In Booklist, Ellen Mandel wrote that, "in her realistic watercolors, deGroat defines the images of Bunting's tender, true-to-life story," and Jody McCoy added in School Library Journal that the book's illustrations "are appropriately heavy on institutional green and poignantly support the text."

DeGroat has worked on titles for many other prominent authors, including Lois Lowry, for whom she illustrates both the "Anastasia Krupnik" and "Sam" series. For Patricia Hubbell, deGroat illustrated Pots and Pans, a noisy tale about a young child who loves banging wooden spoons against pots, pans, and boxes. "The watercolor illustrations capture the curious wonder, adventurous spirit, and total joy" of the child musician, according to Linda Perkins in Booklist. For texts by writer Mary Downing Hahn, deGroat has created artwork A nine year old's experiences while away from her home in early-twentieth-century Baltimore and visiting rural relatives are brought to life in deGroat's detailed artwork for Mary Downing Hahn's Anna on the Farm.bringing to life the stories about a young girl named Anna, who is growing up in the early 1900s. In Anna on the Farm, Anna visits her uncle's farm and tries to convince her annoying cousin that she is not just a city slicker. DeGroat's illustrations were praised as "perfectly in tune with the mood of the story," according to Debbie Whitbeck in School Library Journal.

DeGroat has enjoyed the varied demands of her multifaceted career as an illustrator, author, and artist. "My picture books enable me to explore the world of fantasy, while the novels I've illustrated are very realistic in style," she explained in Illustrators of Children's Books 1967–76. "My work in fine art is an infusion of these two styles."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Lee Kingman and others, Illustrators of Children's Books, 1967–1976, Horn Book (Boston, MA), 1978.


Boolist, October 15, 1992, Ellen Mandel, review of Annie Pitts, Artichoke, p. 428; March 15. 1994, Ellen Man-del, review of Sunshine Home, p. 1371; June 1, 1994, Chris Sherman, review of Annie Pitts, Swamp Monster, p. 1815; March 1, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink, p. 1187; October 1, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of See You Around, Sam!, p. 349; August, 1998, review of Pots and Pans, p. 2015; September 1, 1998, Hazel Rochman, review of Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, p. 132; August, 1999, Kathy Broderick, review of Happy Birthday to You, You Belong in a Zoo, p. 2063; September 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Jingle Bells, Homework Smells, p. 69; October 1, 2000, Ellen Mandel, review of Annie Pitts, Burger Kid, p. 339; February 15, 2001, Kay Weisman, review of Anna on the Farm, p. 1136; September 1, 2001, review of We Gather Together—Now Please Get Lost!, p. 120; July, 2002, Ellen Mandel, review of Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite!, p. 1856; February 15, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire, p. 1072; August, 2005, Gillian Engberg, review of Brand-New Pencils, Brand-New Books, p. 2038.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 1977, p. 140; January, 2001, review of Annie Pitts, Burger Kid, p. 179.

Horn Book, July-August, 1989, p. 476; September-October, 1996, Roger Sutton, review of See You Around, Sam!, p. 597; September-October, 1998, Marilyn Bosquin, review of Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, p. 597; September, 1999, Roger Sutton, review of Zooman Sam, p. 613; July-August, 2002, Kitty Flynn, review of Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite!, p. 444.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1977, review of Alligator's Toothache, p. 1; September 15, 1992, p. 1185; June 15, 1994, p. 843; February 1, 2003, review of Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire, p. 228.

Publishers Weekly, January 24, 1977, review of Alligator's Toothache, p. 333; May 19, 1989, p. 81; February 5, 1996, review of Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink, p. 89; September 28, 1998, review of Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, p. 94; July 5, 1999, review of Happy Birthday to You, You Belong in a Zoo, p. 70; September 27, 1999, review of Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, p. 50; September 25, 2000, review of Jingle Bells, Homework Smells, p. 69; May 7, 2001, review of Annie Pitts, Artichoke and Annie Pitts, Swamp Monster, p. 249; April 8, 2002, review of Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite!, p. 227; December 2, 2002, review of Love, Lola, p. 54; January 13, 2003, review of Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire, p. 59; September 22, 2003, review of Jingle Bells, Homework Smells, p. 107.

School Library Journal, July, 1989, p. 73; September, 1992, p. 202; April, 1994, Jody McCoy, review of Sunshine Home, p. 100; July, 1994, Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, review of Annie Pitts, Swamp Monster, p. 102; April, 1996, Claudia Cooper, review of Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink, p. 106; October, 1996, Starr LaTronica, review of See You Around, Sam!, p. 102; June, 1998, Anne Knickerbocker, review of Bug in a Rug, p. 103; October, 1998, John Peters, review of Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet, p. 94; September, 1999, Marlene Gawron, review of Zooman Sam, p. 193; October, 1999, Alicia Eames, review of Happy Birthday to You, You Belong in a Zoo, p. 112; October, 2000, review of Jingle Bells, Homework Smells, p. 58, and Gay Lynn Van Vleck, review of Annie Pitts, Burger Kid, p. 120; March, 2001, Debbie Whitbeck, review of Anna on the Farm, p. 209; August, 2001, review of We Gather Together—Now Please Get Lost!, p. 146; August, 2002, Lisa Dennis, review of Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let the Bedbugs Bite!, p. 149; May, 2003, Anne Knickerbocker, review of Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire, p. 112.


Diane deGroat Home Page, http://www.author-illustr-source.com/dianedegroat.htm (March 28, 2006).

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Craig David Biography - Became Teenage MC to Herman Edwards Biography