Tom Pohrt (1953-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1953, in Flint, MI. Education: Attended University of Michigan, Flint.
Agent—Candlewick Press, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140.
Illustrator and author of children's books. Formerly worked in automobile factories and in small-press publishing.
(Reteller) Coyote Goes Walking, (retelling), Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1995.
Having a Wonderful Time, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1999.
Howard Norman, Who Met the Ice Lynx?, Grey Wolf Press, 1978.
Jim Henen, The Man Who Kept Cigars in His Cap, Grey Wolf Press, 1978.
Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel, North Point Press, 1992.
Bruce Donehower, Miko, Little Hunter of the North, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1990.
Elizabeth Hauge and Victoria Glournoy McCarthy, editors, A Child's Anthology of Poetry, Ecco Press (Hopewell, NJ), 1995.
Tony Johnston, An Old Shell: Poems of the Galapagos, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1999.
Howard Norman, Trickster and the Fainting Birds, Harcourt Brace (San Diego, CA), 1999.
John Frank, The Tomb of the Boy King: A True Story in Verse, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2000.
Jim Harrison, The Boy Who Ran to the Woods, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 2000.
Stephen Mitchell, The Wishing Bone and Other Poems, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.
Illustrator and children's author Tom Pohrt grew up in the automobile-manufacturing town of Flint, Michigan. A self-taught artist whose love of animals is evident in
his artwork, Pohrt has been interested in writing and drawing ever since he was a little boy. As he commented on PippinProperties.com, "When I look back, my grade school years could have been the most important time; I began developing my creative skills, though no one encouraged me to do so, and I was too young to know better." Despite his lack of guidance as a youngster, Pohrt went on to become a well-established illustrator, and has also penned the text for two books featuring his own illustrations.
In Coyote Goes Walking Pohrt retells four Native American trickster tales, bringing his animal characters to life in what a Publishers Weekly contributor described as "warm, earth-toned watercolors" that contain a "subtle humor." Described by a Publishers Weekly contributor as "one off-beat destination that's definitely worth a visit," Pohrt's quirky picture book Having a Wonderful Time finds a girl and a talking cat on a vacation where unexpected animal-sightings abound. The reviewer had special praise for Pohrt's "confidently deadpan" text with its "dry, understated humor," but also commended the author's characteristic detailed penand-ink drawings.
Praising Pohrt's contribution to John Frank's The Tomb of the Boy King: A True Story in Verse, School Library Journal contributor Barbara Buckley noted that "Pohrt's informative pen-and-watercolor paintings … will be a real draw" for young readers. Additional praise was accorded Pohrt's illustrations for Howard Norman's Trickster and the Fainting Birds, a Publishers Weekly reviewer praising the artist's renderings of the book's animal characters as "meticulously executed" and "precise, delicate" pen drawings.
The Wishing Bone and Other Poems written by Stephen Mitchell, and published by Candlewick Press in 2003, exemplifies Pohrt' skill as an illustrator. This collection of nine poems delves into the mysteries of life as seen through the eyes of a child. The poems describe fantastical images of owls holding court and what could happen if you make a wish on a wishing bone, among other fanciful themes. Pohrt's illustrations allow readers to truly visualize the imaginings of the children in the poems through his ability to maintain a balance between thorough detail and a playfulness reflective of the poems themselves. Ilene Cooper, in Booklist, expressed her delight by stating "Here's a lovely piece of book-making that combines poems that are both whimsical and thought-provoking with delightful ink-andwatercolor pictures that spill across the pages." A Kirkus Reviews contributor agreed, calling The Wishing Bone and Other Poems "A handsomely packaged, nicely diverse gathering of words and art."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, November 15, 1979; May 15, 1990; December 15, 1995, Karen Hutt, review of Coyote Goes Walking, p. 706; April 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of The Wishing Bone and Other Poems, p. 1407.
Horn Book, March, 2001, review of The Tomb of the Boy King, p. 228; July-August, 2003, Susan P. Bloom, review of The Wishing Bone and Other Poems, p. 474.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 1990; March 1, 2003, review of The Wishing Bone and Other Poems, p. 393.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, November 25, 1990.
New Yorker, November 26, 1990.
New York Times Book Review, November 25, 1990, review of Crow and Weasel, p. 17.
Publishers Weekly, November 20, 1995, review of Coyote Goes Walking, p. 76; September 7, 1998, review of Crow and Weasel, p. 97; April 19, 1999, review of Having a Wonderful Time, p. 72; October 25, 1999, review of Trickster and the Fainting Birds, p. 81; November 8, 1999, review of An Old Shell, p. 67; March 12, 2001, review of The Tomb of the Boy King, p. 90; February 17, 2003, review of The Wishing Bone and Other Poems, p. 76.
School Library Journal, August, 1990, Denise Anton Wright, review of Miko, Little Hunter of the North, p. 146; December, 1995, Patricia Lothrop Green, review of Coyote Goes Walking, p. 89; April, 1999, Marianne Saccardi, review of Having a Wonderful Time, p. 107; May, 2001, Barbara Buckley, review of The Tomb of the Boy King, p. 164; May, 2003, Sally R. Dow, review of The Wishing Bone and Other Poems, p. 140.
Washington Post Book World, December 9, 1990; December 12, 1990.
PippinProperties.com, http://www.pippinproperties.com/ (March 15, 2004), "Tom Pohrt."*
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