Skip to main content
Select Source:

Brooks, Erik 1972-

Brooks, Erik 1972-

Personal

Born 1972, in Madison, WI; married; wife's name Sarah. Education: Carleton College, B.A. (studio art), and teacher's license, 1994.

Addresses

Home—P.O. Box 731, Winthrop, WA 98862. E-mail—brooks@methownet.com.

Career

Author and illustrator of children's books. Carleton College, Northfield, MN, cross-country and track coach. Participant at writing conferences; visiting author/illustrator at numerous schools.

Member

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Children's Literature Network, Methow Arts, Methow Print Arts.

Awards, Honors

New York City Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books designation, both 2005, both for Monkey Business by Shirley Climo; International Reading Association Children's Choices designation, 2001, for The Practically Perfect Pajamas; Society of Midland Authors Award for Children's Fiction, 2004, for Octavius Bloom and the House of Doom; New Jersey Blue Hen Book Award nomination, 2006, for Slow Days, Fast Friends.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

The Practically Perfect Pajamas, Winslow Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Octavius Bloom and the House of Doom, Albert Whitman (New York, NY), 2003.

Slow Days, Fast Friends, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2005.

ILLUSTRATOR

Shirley Climo, Monkey Business: Stories from around the World, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2005.

Aimee Garn, The Scritchy Little Twitchell Sisters, Pretty Please Press, 2005.

Betsy Byars, Boo's Dinosaur, Holt (New York, NY), 2006.

Deb Vanesse, Totem Tale: A Tall Story from Alaska, Sasquatch Books (Seattle, WA), 2006.

Emme Aronson, What Are You Hungry For?, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2007.

Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers, Dog Diaries: Secret Writings of the WOOF Society, Holt (New York, NY), 2007.

Sidelights

Children's book author and illustrator Erik Brooks has always been passionate about art, so much so, in fact, that he decided to write his first children's book in order to have something to illustrate. When the result, The Practically Perfect Pajamas, was picked up by a publisher, Brooks began to consider a career as a writer as well as an illustrator, and the success of his second effort, Octavius Bloom and the House of Doom, confirmed that this notion was a good one. In addition to his work as an author/illustrator, which has also produced the picture book Slow Days, Fast Friends, Brooks also illustrates texts by other writers, including Monkey Business: Stories from around the World by Shirley Climo and Boo's Dinosaur by Betsy Byars. When asked why he likes being an author and illustrator, Brooks explained to an interviewer for the Winslow Press Web site: "Because I like to think that I am making a difference to the kids reading my stories."

Children are taught a valuable lesson in The Practically Perfect Pajamas: Always be true to yourself. In the story, a polar bear named Percy Orlando Leonard Alexander Reginald Bear loves to wear colorful pajamas. There is only one problem: Percy gets teased by all the other polar bears for his unusual garb. Desperate to fit in, Percy decides to sacrifice his favorite pajamas in hopes of being accepted. Although his plan works and the teasing stops, Percy soon finds himself missing his brightly colored jammies and reconsidering his decision. While longing for his forbidden PJs, the polar bear meets Aurora the fox, and she inspires Percy to follow his own fashion muse and take pride in his individuality. While a reviewer for Publishers Weekly found Brooks's illustrations to be overly "cartoonish," in Booklist Connie Fletcher described the conclusion of The Practically Perfect Pajamas as a "satisfying resolution to a story that every child can identify with."

In a rhyming text, Octavius Bloom and the House of Doom tells the story of young and adventurous Octavius Bloom as he tries to solve the mystery surround-

ing a suspicious-looking shed in his neighborhood. The shed belongs to Priscilla O'Moore, a mysterious, witchlike woman who lives at the very end of a dead-end street. After his classmates warn him about the scary noises they have heard coming from the shed, and describe things they have seen—like a zombie's hand—brave Octavius sets out to find out exactly what is going on. Suspense builds for readers as he bravely enters the shed to uncover the truth, and the surprise that awaits the boy as well as young readers, is ultimately revealed in Brooks's colored-pencil and watercolor cartoon illustrations. Linda Ludke commented in School Library Journal that Brooks's artwork is "imaginatively detailed, and the mysterious shadows visible through the shed's windows build suspense."

A cheetah named Howard meets Quince the sloth in Slow Days, Fast Friends. In a story drawn from Brooks's interest in running—in addition to his work in children's books, he coaches both track and cross country—the cheetah becomes frustrated when an injury to his leg forces him to take life slow. However, when he falls into step with the slow-moving Quince, Howard learns to see the world in a new way, and gains a new friend in the process. Praising Brooks for his ability to include "expressive animal faces" in his cartoon art, JoAnn Jonas added in her School Library Journal review that Slow Days, Fast Friends is a "simple story [that] conveys several complex messages about friendship, healing, and perspective."

Brooks's work as an illustrator has earned him critical praise from several reviewers. Appraising his artwork for Monkey Business, Horn Book contributor Margaret A. Bush wrote that the "congenial humor" to be found in Brooks's "richly colored scenes" pairs well with the fourteen stories in Climo's collection, making the book an "attractive sampling of folk literature." A Kirkus Reviews writer described the book's pencil-and-watercolor art as "full of action," and in School Library Journal Suzanne Myers Harold wrote that Brooks's images "capture the myriad cultures and creatures represented" in Climo's "entertaining" anthology of monkey tales. According to another Kirkus Reviews contributor, the illustrator's contribution of "warm" drawings to Boo's Dinosaur "extend the text" of Byars' beginning chapter book "and provide ample visual cues" to the author's humorous brother-and-sister tale.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2000, Connie Fletcher, review of The Practically Perfect Pajamas, p. 1747; May 15, 2005, John Peters, review of Monkey Business: Stories from around the World, p. 1654.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November, 2006, Deborah Stevenson, review of Boo's Dinosaur, p. 117.

Horn Book, July-August, 2005, Margaret A. Bush, review of Monkey Business, p. 481.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2005, review of Monkey Business, p. 585; September 15, 2006, review of Boo's Dinosaur, p. 948.

Publishers Weekly, May 8, 2000, review of The Practically Perfect Pajamas, p. 221.

School Library Journal, May, 2000, Barbara Buckley, review of The Practically Perfect Pajamas, p. 132; June, 2003, Lina Ludke, review of Octavius Bloom and the House of Doom, p. 96; June, 2005, Suzanne Myers Harold, review of Monkey Business, p. 585; January, 2006, JoAnn Jonas, review of Slow Days, Fast Friends, p. 93; September, 2006, Adrienne Furness, review of Boo's Dinosaur, p. 160; June, 2007, Terrie Dorio, review of Dog Diaries: Secret Writing of the WOOF Society, p. 92.

ONLINE

Children's Literature Network,http://www.childrensliteraturenetwork.org/ (February 5, 2004), "Erik Brooks."

Erik Brooks Home Page,http://www.erikbrooks.com (August 17, 2007).

Winslow Press Web site,http://www.winslowpress.com/ (February 5, 2004), "Erik Brooks."

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Brooks, Erik 1972-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Brooks, Erik 1972-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 12, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/brooks-erik-1972-0

"Brooks, Erik 1972-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved December 12, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/brooks-erik-1972-0

Brooks, Erik 1972-

BROOKS, Erik 1972-

Personal

Born 1972, in Madison, WI; married; wife's name Sarah. Education: Carleton College, B.A., 1994.

Addresses

Home 315 Cherry St., Northfield, MN 55057. E-mail brooks@rconnect.com.

Career

Author and illustrator of children's books. Carleton College, Northfield, MN, cross-country and track coach.

Member

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Children's Literature Network, Loft Literary Center.

Writings

The Practically Perfect Pajamas, Winslow Press (New York, NY), 2000.

Octavius Bloom and the House of Doom, Albert Whitman (New York, NY), 2003.

illustrator

Shirley Climo, Monkey Business, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2004.

Emme Aronson, What Are You Hungry For?, HarperCollins (New York, NY), in press.

Work in Progress

Illustrating The Scritchy Little Twitchell Sisters, by Aimee Garn; Slow Days for Howard, for Henry Holt and Company.

Sidelights

Children's book author and illustrator Erik Brooks has always been passionate about art, so much so, in fact, that he decided to write his own children's book in order to have something to illustrate. When the result, The Practically Perfect Pajamas, was picked up by a publisher, Brooks began to consider a career as a writer as well as an illustrator, and the success of his second effort, Octavius Bloom and the House of Doom, seems to prove that the notion was a good one. In addition to writing his own books, Brooks also illustrates texts by other writers, including Monkey Business by Shirley Climo and What Are You Hungry For? by Emme Aronson. When asked why he likes being an author and illustrator by an interviewer for the Winslow Press Web site, Brooks responded, "because I like to think that I am making a difference to the kids reading my stories." When he is not writing, Brooks can often be found putting his teaching degree to work, guest speaking in numerous schools throughout the northwestern part of the United States, or pursuing his freelance illustration work.

Children are taught a valuable lesson in The Practically Perfect Pajamas: that you should always be true to yourself. Polar bear Percy Orlando Leonard Alexander Reginald Bear loves to wear his colorful pajamas. There is only one problem; he gets teased by all the other polar bears for wearing them. Desperately trying to fit in, Percy decided to sacrifice his favorite pajamas in hopes of being accepted. His plan works and the teasing stops, but Percy now has other problems to grapple with. Longing for his forbidden PJs, Percy meets Aurora the fox, who inspires the bear to be himself and take pride in his individuality. While a reviewer for Publishers Weekly dubbed Brook's compositions as overly "cartoonish," Booklist contributor Connie Fletcher found the ending of The Practically Perfect Pajamas a "satisfying resolution to a story that every child can identify with."

Octavius Bloom and the House of Doom tells the story in a rhyming verse pattern of young and adventurous Octavius Bloom as he tries to solve the mystery surrounding a suspicious-looking shed in his neighborhood. The shed belongs to Priscilla O'Moore, a mysterious, witchlike woman who lives at the "dark Dead End" of Crabapple Street. After his classmates warn him about the scary noises they have heard coming from the shed, and describe things they have seenlike a Zombie's handOctavius sets out on a mission to find out exactly what is going on. Suspense builds for readers as he bravely enters the shed to uncover the truth, and a surprise awaits as they discover what is actually inside, all brought to life with Brooks's colored-pencil and watercolor cartoon illustrations. Linda Ludke commented in School Library Journal that Brooks's illustrations are "imaginatively detailed, and the mysterious shadows visible through the shed's windows build suspense."

Biographical and Critical Sources

periodicals

Booklist, May 15, 2000, Connie Fletcher, review of The Practically Perfect Pajamas, p. 1747.

Publishers Weekly, May 8, 2000, review of The Practically Perfect Pajamas, p. 221.

School Library Journal, May, 2000, Barbara Buckley, review of The Practically Perfect Pajamas, p. 132; June, 2003, Lina Ludke, review of Octavius Bloom and the House of Doom, p. 96.

online

Children's Literature Network, http://www.childrensliteraturenetwork.org/ (February 5, 2004), "Erik Brooks."

Erik Brooks Home Page, http://www.erikbrooks.com/ (April 7, 2004).

Winslow Press Web site, http://www.winslowpress.com/ (February 5, 2004), "Erik Brooks."*

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Brooks, Erik 1972-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Brooks, Erik 1972-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 12, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/brooks-erik-1972

"Brooks, Erik 1972-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved December 12, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/brooks-erik-1972