Diane Goode (1949–) Biography
Personal, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
(Diane Capuozzo Goode)
Born 1949, in Brooklyn, NY; Education: Attended École des Beaux Arts, Aix-en-Provence, France, 1971–72; Queens College of the City University of New York, B.F.A., 1972.
Children's book illustrator and writer, 1975–. Substitute teacher in New York, NY, public schools, 1972–73; University of California, Los Angeles, teacher of a studio workshop on children's book illustration, 1976–79. Exhibitions: Exhibitor at museums, colleges, and libraries, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1982; Denver Public Library, 1985; Krasl Art Center, 1987; Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, 1991–92; Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, 1998–2001; Keene State Gallery; Simmons College Art Gallery; Dromkeen Children's Literature Collection; Richmond Library; and University of Southern Maine. Work included in permanent collection at Kerlan Collection.
Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People award for illustration, 1976, for The Selchie's Seed and Little Pieces of the West Wind, and 1979, for Dream Eater; Caldecott honor book award, American Library Association (ALA), 1983, for When I Was Young in the Mountains; Parents' Choice Award, 1985, for Watch the Stars Come Out, and 1986, for I Go with My Family to Grandma's; Redbook Top-Ten Children's Picture Books designation, 1985, for Watch the Stars Come Out; Best Children's Books of the Year designation, Child Study Children's Book Committee, 1987, for I Go with My Family to Grandma's, and 1989, for I Hear a Noise; Picks of the List, American Bookseller, for Where's Our Mama?, Diane Goode's American Christmas, The Diane Goode Book of American Folk Tales and Songs, Watch the Stars Come Out, and I Go with My Family to Grandma's; Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies designation, National Council of Social Studies/Children's Book Council (CBC), for The Diane Goode Book of American Folk Tales and Songs, Watch the Stars Come Out, I Go with My Family to Grandma's, and When I Was Young in the Mountains; Notable Book designation, ALA, for Tattercoats: An Old English Tale, Watch the Stars Come Out, and When I Was Young in the Mountains; Teachers' Choice award, National Council of Teachers of English, for Watch the Stars Come Out and When I Was Young in the Mountains; Library of Congress Children's Book of the Year designation, for When I Was Young in the Mountains; Children's Choice citation, International Reading Association/CBC, for The Unicorn and the Plow; Storytelling World award, 1998, for Diane Goode's Book of Giants and Little People; Society of Illustrators Certificate of Merit; named English-Speaking Union Ambassador of Honor.
I Hear a Noise, Dutton (New York, NY), 1988.
Where's Our Mama?, Dutton (New York, NY), 1991.
Mama's Perfect Present, Dutton (New York, NY), 1996.
The Dinosaur's New Clothes, Blue Sky (New York, NY), 1999.
(Reteller) Cinderella: The Dog and Her Little Glass Slipper, Blue Sky (New York, NY), 2000.
Tiger Trouble!, Blue Sky (New York, NY), 2001.
Monkey Mo Goes to Sea, Blue Sky (New York, NY), 2002.
Thanksgiving Is Here!, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.
Mind Your Manners!, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2005.
The Most Perfect Spot, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.
The Diane Goode Book of American Folk Tales and Songs, compiled by Ann Durell, Dutton (New York, NY), 1989.
Diane Goode's American Christmas, Dutton (New York, NY), 1990.
Diane Goode's Book of Silly Stories and Songs, Dutton (New York, NY), 1992.
Diane Goode's Christmas Magic: Poems and Carols, Random House (New York, NY), 1992.
The Little Books of Nursery Animals (contains The Little Book of Cats, The Little Book of Farm Friends, The Little Book of Mice, and The Little Book of Pigs), Dutton (New York, NY), 1993.
Diane Goode's Book of Scary Stories and Songs, Dutton (New York, NY), 1994.
Diane Goode's Book of Giants and Little People, Dutton (New York, NY), 1997.
Christian Garrison, Little Pieces of the West Wind, Bradbury (New York, NY), 1975.
Shulamith Levey Oppenheim, The Selchie's Seed, Bradbury (New York, NY), 1975, revised edition, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1996.
Christian Garrison, Flim and Flam and the Big Cheese, Bradbury (New York, NY), 1976.
Flora Annie Steele, Tattercoats: An Old English Tale, Bradbury (New York, NY), 1976.
(And translator) Madame de Beaumont, Beauty and the Beast, Bradbury (New York, NY), 1978.
Christian Garrison, The Dream Eater, Bradbury (New York, NY), 1978.
Emoeke de Papp Severo, translator, The Good-Hearted Youngest Brother (translation of the Hungarian folktale "A joszivu legenyke"), Bradbury (New York, NY), 1981.
Louise Moeri, The Unicorn and the Plow, Dutton (New York, NY), 1982.
Cynthia Rylant, When I Was Young in the Mountains, Dut-ton (New York, NY), 1982.
Diane Goode's Little Library of Christmas Classics (contains "The Nutcracker," "Christmas Carols," "The Fir Tree," and "The Night before Christmas"), Random House (New York, NY), 1983.
J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan, edited by Josette Frank, Random House (New York, NY), 1983.
Carlo Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Random House (New York, NY), 1983.
Amy Ehrlich, adapter, The Random House Book of Fairy Tales, Random House (New York, NY), 1985.
Riki Levinson, Watch the Stars Come Out, Dutton (New York, NY), 1985.
Deborah Hautzig, The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet, Random House (New York, NY), 1986.
Riki Levinson, I Go with My Family to Grandma's, Dut-ton (New York, NY), 1986.
(Reteller) Julian Hawthorne, Rumpty-Dudget's Tower, Knopf (New York, NY), 1987.
(And translator) Charles Perrault, Cinderella, Knopf (New York, NY), 1988.
Noel Streatfeild, Ballet Shoes, Random House (New York, NY), 1991.
Noel Streatfeild, Theater Shoes, Random House (New York, NY), 1994.
Lloyd Alexander, The House Gobbaleen, Dutton (New York, NY), 1995.
Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child's Garden of Verses, Morrow (New York, NY), 1998.
Cynthia Rylant, Christmas in the Country, Blue Sky (New York, NY), 2002.
Margaret Wise Brown, Christmas in the Barn, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.
Cynthia Ryland, Alligator Boy, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2007.
Books illustrated by Goode have been translated into Spanish.
Diane Goode is an award-winning author-illustrator of children's books who is noted for her anthologies of folktales and songs, as well as for whimsical picture books. Some of her stories, such as Where's Our Mama?, Mama's Perfect Present, and Monkey Mo Goes to Sea, are original tales, while others, such as Cinderella: The Dog and Her Little Glass Slipper and The Dinosaur's New Clothes, recast old stories in a fresh and humorous setting. The versatile Goode has also paired her illustrations with the writings of other authors to create works such as the Caldecott honor book When I Was Young in the Mountains as well as beautifully illustrated renditions of such classics as Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, The Night before Christmas, and A Child's Garden of Verses. Based on an 1802 school primer listing the rules for proper dinner-table behavior, Goode's self-illustrated Mind Your Manners! showcases her humor and sense of fun as she transforms dour pronouncements such as "Stuff not thy mouth so as to fill thy cheeks" into what Booklist critic Jennifer Mattson deemed a "comic, pictorial narrative" showing an elegantly dressed family of the times gleefully engaging in "precisely the opposite of everything the text prescribes, to the disgust and dismay of their captive dinner guests.
"When I was a child I loved books and art," Goode once told SATA. "Reading allowed me to escape into the reality of others, and drawing let me create my own. My father was of Italian descent, and my mother was French. My brother and I enjoyed the richness of
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both cultures. We traveled to Europe every summer from the time we were infants, visiting family and the great cathedrals and museums of the world. These early impressions helped shape my appreciation for life and art. I was bedazzled by Michelangelo's Pieta. Could marble be warm and luminous? Could monumental forms be at once tender and powerful? Man's creative ability seemed staggering. I saw the works of Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Botticelli, Lautrec, Monet, Manet, Cezanne, and all the great artists. I was awestruck. I was in love with art!
"I have been drawing ever since I can remember, but my formal education began at Queens College in art history. I soon switched to fine arts, where I tried my hand at everything: drawing, painting, sculpture, etching, and color theory. I took a year off to study at the École des Beaux Arts in Aix-en-Provence. It was an artist's dream.
"After graduating, I taught high school for a year, putting together a portfolio at night. In my blissful ignorance of publishing, I had decided to illustrate children's books. It was just as well that I was so naive, or else I would have been too afraid to try. As luck would have it, I was contracted to illustrate my first picture book in 1973. I was twenty-four then and knew nothing at all about commercial art. Since I was living in California, my New York publisher taught me color separation over the phone!"
Goode's first illustration project was The Selchie's Seed, by Shulamith Oppenheim, and her success here provided her with the opportunity to create artwork for texts by other authors. Moving to more classic works, she began to illustrate anthologies of traditional tales, such as Diane Goode's Little Library of Christmas Classics, which contains such popular Christmas tales as "The Fir Tree," "The Night before Christmas," and "The Nutcracker," as well as several well-known Christmas carols. "This small, gaily decorated slipcase holds four books that Goode has illustrated in extremely pretty, full-color, animated holiday scenes," noted a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. George A. Woods observed in the New York Times that the "star of this package … is Diane Goode, whose illustrations lend just the right accompanying note to each book."
Goode's illustrated retellings of oft-told tales and verses won the admiration of critics and readers alike. Her adaptation of Julian Hawthorne's Rumpty Dudget's Tower brought praise from Jeanne Marie Clancy in School Library Journal: "Goode's colorful cross-hatched illustrations for her adaptation enhance the story and capture the spirit of the characters, especially the mischievous Rumpty-Dudget." A Booklist reviewer commented that the "beauty and wit of Goode's well-composed artwork will draw readers into the rather old-fashioned tale," while Horn Book critic Margaret A. Bush concluded that Goode's "fine execution of both text and illustration breathes new life into the old story, making it freshly accessible as an old-fashioned fairy tale, eminently suited for reading aloud." Goode's illustrations have also been credited with attractively interpreting Robert Louis Stevenson's collection A Child's Garden of Verses. School Library Journal critic Robin L. Gibson asserted that the artist "applies her characteristically charming illustrations to Stevenson's poems with appealing results." Gibson went on to observe that Goode "captures the exuberance of childhood in many pictures."
Much of Goode's creative energy has focused on anthologies. In Diane Goode's Book of Scary Stories and Songs she collects works featuring ghosts and goblins from around the world. Horn Book contributor Nancy Vasilakis dubbed the book a "welcome addition to the Halloween or storytelling shelves." A Publishers Weekly reviewer, noting that the funny stories "are rather tame," assured readers that the book "will be appreciated more for its rich multicultural flavor than for its fright value." With Diane Goode's Book of Giants and Little People the author/illustrator deals with the theme of the "triumph of a small but clever hero over a gigantic adversary," according to Booklist reviewer Julie Corsaro. Working once again with tall tales and folktales from around the world, Goode puts together a smorgasbord of stories. Corsaro went on to note that "Goode's elegant watercolors bring it all together, her appealing cartoon-style art displaying a penchant for the compelling contrast between big and small." A Publishers Weekly critic felt that these stories of giants and little people add to Goode's "stable of stellar collections." "With this blithely spirited book," concluded the reviewer, "Goode has done it again … and that's no exaggeration."
Goode expanded her role from illustrator and reteller to author/illustrator of original stories in 1988 with I Hear a Noise, and has gone on to write and illustrate several more titles. A reviewer for Junior Bookshelf deemed her authorial debut "a joyously funny book," adding that, "In its high spirits, its high humour, the book is entirely original." I Hear a Noise is a story without narrative; it employs only dialogue and art to address the familiar childhood fear of bedtime fiends. Like many little boys, the hero, lying in bed, complains that he hears a noise. While his mother tries to comfort him, a green dragon swoops in, snatches them up, and flies off with mother and son in tow. Back at its castle, the monster's siblings argue over these human trophies, until the mother dragon breaks up the squabbling and insists that the captives be returned to their home. Goode "puts an amusing new twist on the well-worn subject of monsters at bedtime," declared a Kirkus Reviews critic. A reviewer for Booklist called the book a "gloriously spine-tingling thriller," adding that the author/ illustrator's "engagingly expressive creatures … will leave youngsters clamoring for yet one more read of this soft-edged, bedtime chiller."
Goode's French heritage and travels have inspired the popular picture books Where's Our Mama? and Mama's Perfect Present. In the first title, two children become separated from their mother at the Gare d'Orsay train station in Paris. Aided by a kindly French gendarme, the brother and sister set out to find their beautiful mother, treking from one place to the next. All the while, the illustrations reveal the "lost" mother in one corner of the crowded page; finally the two children see her, as well. Set early in the twentieth century, Where's Our Mama? was written in tribute to Goode's own mother. A writer for Kirkus Reviews observed that the book is reminiscent of a Russian folktale and called it "a charming transformation of a story that deftly dramatizes the child's-eye view of a most important person." Horn Book reviewer Mary M. Burns concluded her enthusiastic review by stating that "the book is as gallic as a shrug, as logical as Pascal, and as winning as a song by Maurice Chevalier. A witty, wonderful production. C'est magnifique!"
"Mayhem? Mais Oui! The rosy-cheeked children who searched Paris high and low in Where's Our Mama? are back," celebrated a Publishers Weekly reviewer regarding Mama's Perfect Present. Now accompanied by their dachshund, Zaza, who leaves destruction in its wake, the two siblings are searching for the perfect birthday gift for their beloved mother. Not surprisingly, each place they visit is in turn visited with chaos as a result of their rambunctious dog. A Publishers Weekly critic promised that this sequel "will leave young readers chuckling at Zaza's exploits and everyone else chuckling an appreciative ooh-la-la." Mary M. Burns asserted in Horn Book: "This is a true picture story, with the understated text serving as a straight-faced, innocent commentary on the action, which is visualized through careful manipulation of line, deft shading, and delicate hatching." In a Booklist review, Ilene Cooper commented that "the story is clever and full of fun, but it is really the pictures that make this come alive."
Other picture books by Goode include Tiger Trouble! which finds a boy and his pet tiger, Lily, threatened with eviction from their city apartment after their new cat-hating landlord moves in upstairs. Fortunately, Lily soon proves her worth when robbers appear, giving an upbeat ending to what a Kirkus Reviews writer called a "fanciful and cheerily outlandish tale." Praising the story's nostalgic 1930s setting, School Library Journal contributor Bina Williams noted that "Goode's fetching watercolors are delightful and luminous," while in Booklist Ilene Cooper wrote that the story's "multiethnic cast of kids is endearing, [and] the New York setting bristles with activity." Set in a similar era, Monkey Mo Goes to Sea finds a boy paired with another unusual pet, this time a monkey. Visiting his grandfather for lunch on a luxurious ocean liner docked nearby, Bertie and his pet Mo do their best to behave, with humorous results. The impish Mo "will endear himself to youngsters as they will recognize … much of themselves in his well-intentioned" antics, predicted Rosalyn Pierini in School Library Journal, while Cooper wrote that Goode's "well-structured book has a sly story that's as strong as the illustrations."
Goode shows that she is not afraid to give tradition friendly tug with books such as The Dinosaur's New Clothes and Cinderella: The Dog and Her Little Glass Slipper. With The Dinosaur's New Clothes she provides Hans Christian Andersen's classic story with "a prehistoric makeover," according to a Publishers Weekly critic. Goode recasts the royals of the original version as a gaggle of pompadoured dinosaurs holding court at the French palace of Versailles, while a Tyrannosaurus rex—king of all dinosaurs—stars as the fashion-conscious emperor. "It's all good silly fun," concluded the critic, "a light parody of Andersen's send-up of gullibility and greed." A pack of hounds step into key roles in Goode's revisionist "Cinderella," and "silly images abound," according to a Publishers Weekly writer. Scruffy canines with powdered wigs fill the royal ballroom, dresses are patterned with paw prints, and "Goode works dog motifs into her luminous paintings with amusing frequency."
As Goode explained of her work to SATA, "When you depend on pure line for expression, the slightest variation in length or thickness of the line of the mouth, the angle of an eyebrow, the sweep of a tail, the pose of a foot, changes the mood of the entire illustration. I often do the same small character over and over until the line is right, until I can just dash it off and it seems to come alive. My theme for this new approach is 'less is more.'
"In a successful picture book, illustration and text should move together like perfectly attuned partners in a dance. The illustrations not only support, but can serve as a counterpoint to the text. If I've done it right, the effort should not be evident, it should look easy and natural. It's an exciting process."
"Working in the field of children's literature has been a great joy," the author/illustrator once noted. "How lucky to be able to do the work I love and also contribute in some small way to the lives of our children. How lucky to find in my work the two things I've cherished since childhood: art and books."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Cummins, Julie, editor, Children's Book Illustration and Design, PBC International, 1992.
Booklist, January 15, 1988, review of Rumpty Dudget's Tower, p. 862; December 1, 1988, review of I Hear a Noise, pp. 647-648; October 1, 1994, p. 321; July, 1996, Ilene Cooper, review of Mama's Perfect Present, p. 1824; September 15, 1997, Julie Corsaro, review of Diane Goode's Book of Giants and Little People, p. 237; November 1, 2000, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Cinderella: The Dog and Her Little Glass Slipper, p. 543; October 1, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of Tiger Trouble!, p. 325; March 15, 2002, Ilene Cooper, review of Monkey Mo Goes to Sea, p. 1256; October 15, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Thanksgiving Is Here!, p. 418; November 15, 2005, Jennifer Matt-son, review of Mind Your Manners!, p. 49.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 1991, p. 10; December, 1996, p. 136.
Five Owls, September-October, 1991, p. 9.
Horn Book, March-April, 1988, Margaret A. Bush, review of Rumpty Dudget's Tower, pp. 199-200; September, 1988, p. 615; November-December, 1991, Mary M. Burns, review of Where's Our Mama?, pp. 727-728; September, 1992, p. 592; January-February, 1995, Nancy Vasilakis, review of Diane Goode's Book of Scary Stories and Songs, p. 75; November-December, 1996, Mary M. Burns, review of Mama's Perfect Present, pp. 723-724; March-April, 2002, Mary M. Burns, review of Monkey Mo Goes to Sea, p. 202; November-December, 2002, Mary M. Burns, review of Christmas in the Country, p. 738.
Junior Bookshelf, April, 1989, review of I Hear a Noise, p. 61; June, 1992, p. 102.
Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 1988, review of I Hear a Noise, p. 973; August 1, 1991, review of Where's Our Mama?, p. 1010; September 1, 2001, review of Tiger Trouble!, p. 1290; November 1, 2002, review of Christmas in the Country, p. 1625; August 1, 2003, review of Thanksgiving Is Here!, p. 1017; October 15, 2005, review of Mind Your Manners!, p. 1138.
New York Times, December 4, 1983, George A. Woods, review of Diane Goode's Little Library of Christmas Classics, pp. 77-79.
New York Times Book Review, April 19, 1992, p. 16; January 19, 1997, p. 24.
Publishers Weekly, September 2, 1983, review of Diane Goode's Little Library of Christmas Classics, p. 80; July 29, 1988, p. 230; June 29, 1992, p. 61; September 7, 1992, p. 67; July 4, 1994, review of Diane Goode's Book of Scary Stories and Songs, p. 60; September 2, 1996, review of Mama's Perfect Present, p. 129; July 28, 1997, review of Diane Goode's Book of Giants and Little People, p. 73; June 28, 1999, review of The Dinosaur's New Clothes, p. 78; August 7, 2000, review of Cinderella, p. 95; February 25, 2002, review of Monkey Mo Goes to Sea, p. 66; September 22, 2003, review of Publishers Weekly, p. 65.
School Library Journal, January, 1988, Jeanne Marie Clancy, review of Rumpty Dudget's Tower, p. 66; February, 1989, p. 69; September, 1992, p. 215; September, 1994, p. 207; September, 1996, p. 178; November, 1997, p. 107; January, 1999, Robin L. Gibson, review of A Child's Garden of Verses, p. 121; September, 2000, Margaret A. Chang, review of Cinderella, p. 216; December, 2001, Bina Williams, review of Tiger Trouble!, p. 102; March, 2002, Rosalyn Pierini, review of Monkey Mo Goes to Sea, p. 187; September, 2003, Andrea Tarr, review of Thanksgiving Is Here!, p. 178; November, 2005, Grace Oliff, review of Mind Your Manners!, p. 92.
Washington Post Book World, February 9, 1992, p. 11.
Scholastic Web site, http://www.books.scholastic.com/teachers/ (May 18, 2006), interview with Goode.
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