Skip to main content
Select Source:

Schotter, Roni 1946–

Schotter, Roni 1946–

Personal

Born 1946, in New York, NY; married Richard D. Schotter (an English professor, playwright, and lyricist); children: Jesse. Education: Attended Carnegie Mellon University; New York University, B.A. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, cross-country skiing, drawing.

Addresses

Home and office—Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. E-mail—ronisch@aol.com.

Career

Former editor with publishing houses; has taught writing at Queens College, City University of New York, and at Manhattanville College. Speaker, Vassar College's Summer Institute in Children's Publishing, and at annual conferences of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Awards, Honors

Parents' Choice Award, 1989, for Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane; National Jewish Book Award for best children's picture book, Jewish Book Council, 1991, for Hanukkah!; Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies designation, National Council for the Social Studies/Children's Book Council, 1995, for Passover Magic and 1996, for Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street; Hungry Mind Review Award, 1996, for A Fruit and Vegetable Man; Washington Irving Children's Choice Award, Westchester Library Association, 1996, for Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, and 2002, for F Is for Freedom; Washington Irving Honor Book designation, 1996, for both Dreamland and A Fruit and Vegetable Man; Irma Simonton Black Honor Book designation, Bank Street College of Education, 1996, for Dreamland; Maryland Black-eyed Susan Award nomination, 2003, for F Is for Freedom; Parents' Choice Gold Award, 2006, for The Boy Who Loved Words; Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Best Book Award, 2006, for Mama, I'll Give You the World.

Writings

FOR YOUNG ADULTS

A Matter of Time, Collins (New York, NY), 1979.

Northern Fried Chicken, Philomel (New York, NY), 1983.

Rhoda, Straight and True, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (New York, NY), 1986.

F Is for Freedom, illustrated by C.B. Mordan, DK Ink (New York, NY), 2000.

FOR CHILDREN

Efan the Great, illustrated by Rodney Pate, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (New York, NY), 1986.

Bunny's Night Out, illustrated by Margot Apple, Joy Street Books (Boston, MA), 1989.

Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane, illustrated by Marcia Sewall, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Hanukkah!, illustrated by Marilyn Hafner, Joy Street Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Warm at Home, illustrated by Dara Goldman, Maxwell (New York, NY), 1993.

When Crocodiles Clean Up, illustrated by Thor Wickstrom, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1993.

That Extraordinary Pig of Paris, illustrated by Dominic Catalano, Philomel (New York, NY), 1994.

(Coauthor, with husband, Richard Schotter) There's a Dragon About: A Winter's Revel, illustrated by R.W. Alley, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1994.

Passover Magic, illustrated by Marilyn Hafner, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.

Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1996.

A Fruit and Vegetable Man, illustrated by Jeannette Winter, Joy Street Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Dreamland, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Purim Play, illustrated by Marilyn Hafner, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.

Captain Bob Sets Sail, illustrated by Joe Cepeda, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2000.

Missing Rabbit, illustrated by Cyd Moore, Clarion (New York, NY), 2002.

In the Piney Woods, illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2003.

Captain Bob Takes Flight, illustrated by Joe Cepeda, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

Room for Rabbit, illustrated by Cyd Moore, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.

The World, illustrated by Susan Gallagher, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

Passover!, illustrated by Erin Eitter Kono, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2006.

Mama, I'll Give You the World, illustrated by S. Saelig Gallagher, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.

The Boy Who Loved Words, illustrated by Giselle Potter, Schwartz & Wade Books (New York, NY), 2006.

When the Wizzy Foot Goes Walking, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 2007.

The House of Joyful Living, illustrated by Terry Widener, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2008.

Doo-Wop, Pop, illustrated by Bryan Collier, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2008.

Author's books have been translated into several languages, including French and Japanese.

Adaptations

A Matter of Time was made into a thirty-minute ABC Afterschool Special, written by Paul W. Cooper, directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman, and produced by Martin Tahse, Learning Corp. of America (New York, NY), 1981.

Sidelights

An award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction, Roni Schotter has written novels for teenagers as well as picture books for younger children. Noted for her focus on creativity and imaginative play, Schotter explained on her home page: "I feel very strongly that it is vital for children to hold onto their imagination and think for themselves. With so many screens to watch these days—television, computer, movies, cell phones—… we run the risk of losing our own ideas and weakening our imagination. Imagination needs to be nourished and nurtured. I hope that, in some small way, my books encourage children to use and enjoy their imaginations."

Schotter began her writing career in the late 1970s, and her first published books was the young-adult novel A Matter of Time. A "moving" story, according to a Booklist commentator, A Matter of Time focuses on high-school senior Lisl Gilbert, whose vivacious, artistic mother is dying of cancer. Lisl has always felt inferior to her mother; now she realizes that not only is her mom vulnerable, but the woman has also felt unloved and inferior at times. The teen sorts out her tangled feelings with the help of sympathetic friends, relatives, and a social worker. The Booklist reviewer described Lisl as "believable and appealing" and noted that the way the teen is depicted as maturing rapidly under tragic circumstances is "convincing." A Horn Book reviewer lauded Schotter's "honest" and "straightforward" handling of the broad and difficult themes of life and death in A Matter of Time, and School Library Journal critic Cyrisse Jaffee deemed the book "reassuring and positive." A Matter of Time was ultimately adapted for television as part of the ABC Afterschool Special series.

In Northern Fried Chicken, Schotter's heroine is Betsy Bergman, a shy Jewish girl living in Providence, Rhode Island. Set in 1962, the story traces Betsy's involvement in civil-rights protests and details the personal growth that results from her participation in the movement. A Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books reviewer, while describing the pace of the novel slow and uneven, applauded Schotter for presenting readers with "a touching picture of the way in which devotion to a cause can bring a reclusive individual to active participation." The characters and their relationships are skillfully portrayed, according to a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books critic, and a Booklist critic praised Northern Fried Chicken as an "effective and true" portrayal of the epoch in which it is set. In Horn Book, a critic echoed that praise, declaring that Schotter's teen novel "evokes the era's feeling of hope and of change."

Set in a Brooklyn neighborhood during the summer of 1953, Rhoda, Straight and True follows a twelve year old girl as she learns that appearances—such as those of a family of scruffy-looking neighbors—are not a reliable guide to a person's character. A commentator for Publishers Weekly observed that the story's moral is slightly "heavyhanded," but added that "the sense of locale is nicely drawn, with original characters and humor rounding out a pleasant story." A Booklist critic praised Schotter's "strong, sure characterizations," "careful plotting," and ability to create vivid setting in Rhoda, Straight and True.

Also geared for older elementary-grade readers, F Is for Freedom takes readers back to the years before the U.S. Civil War, as ten-year-old Amanda awakens one night and witnesses a group of black people being hurriedly ushered into her family's home. The girl soon learns that her parents' Hudson River home is one stop on the Underground Railroad that guides escaped slaves north to freedom. One of the slaves is Hannah, a girl of Amanda's age, and when the girls leave the safety of the house to play, they put everyone at risk when they are spotted by slave hunters.

While Schotter's earliest published books are geared for older readers, she is best known for award-winning picture books such as Dreamland, A Fruit and Vegetable Man, Mama, I'll Give You the World, and The Boy Who Loved Words. Her first children's book, Efan the Great, was called "a touching and unusually substantial Christmas story" by a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books reviewer. In the story, ten-year-old Efan, who lives in a poor neighborhood, wants to buy a Christmas tree with his life savings of six dollars and sixty-three cents. Finding the price of trees too high, he agrees to work for a tree-seller in exchange for his pick of the trees at the end of the day. When the tree Efan picks is too large to fit into his family's apartment, the boy leaves it outside and decorates it for all to see. A Publishers Weekly contributor called Efan the Great "heartwarming" and "jubilantly told," while a Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books reviewer asserted that "Efan's emotions are varied, genuine, and set into a context of vividly projected secondary characters."

Capturing the vibrancy of a multi-ethnic neighborhood, A Fruit and Vegetable Man focuses on longtime grocer Ruby Rubinstein and his fifty-year-old neighborhood store. When Rubenstein falls ill, he is aided by young Asian immigrant Sun Ho and his family. Reviewing A Fruit and Vegetable Man for Publishers Weekly, a contributor responded favorably, praising the "sweet sense of continuity" in Schotter's portrayal of generational and cultural transition in immigrant businesses. In School Library Journal Cynthia K. Richey applauded A Fruit and Vegetable Man as a "satisfying story about taking pride in one's work and helping others," while Hazel Rochman wrote in Booklist that Schotter's story is strengthened by "unaffected" writing.

Dreamland revolves around a family of tailors, some of whom possess an abundance of common sense and some who do not. A member of the latter group, young Theo sketches plans for fantastic machines in his free time. Theo's uncle Gurney eventually moves out West to seek his fortune. As the family's tailor business starts to fail, Gurney writes to Theo and asks for exact instructions on how to build his machines, intending to adapt them as amusement park attractions. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called Dreamland "both fantastic and credible" and praised Schotter's "eloquent, image-studded prose." Carolyn Phelan, while noting a lack of credibility in her Booklist review, characterized the story as appealing to "dreamers who long for a brighter reality." In the New York Times Book Review Constance Decker Thompson applauded Dreamland as a "splendid" book, asserting that "Schotter deftly builds suspense to a wondrous climactic scene in which Theo's family sees Uncle Gurney's project." Pointing out that Schotter is the granddaughter of a tailor, Thompson observed that the author's "engaging phrases … spring from a tailor's world."

Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street also focuses on the importance of imagination. Facing a report for school, Eva, the main character, sits outside her house in the city and watches the people. She receives advice from several folks and witnesses some interesting events, including a bicycle accident. J. Patrick Lewis, writing in the New York Times Book Review, enjoyed the "clever sprinkles" of characters, creating a "spicy ethnic stewpot." A critic for Publishers Weekly observed that Schotter has "a knack for creating dramatic situations filled with romantic characters."

With Captain Bob Sets Sail and Captain Bob Takes Flight, Schotter recounts the adventures of a young boy with a vivid imagination. In Captain Bob Sets Sail, the boy imagines himself as a pirate captain, and his adventures take place within the confines of his bubble-filled bathtub. Captain Bob Takes Flight finds the boy taking on the role of a pilot whose mission is to clean up his room. Described by Booklist critic Tim Arnold as "a series of vignettes energetically describing Bob's bath play from start to finish," Captain Bob Sets Sail was praised by a Publishers Weekly contributor as an "irresistible bathtime book." Reviewing the companion volume for Booklist, Diane Foote commented that Schotter makes "cleaning one's room seem less of a chore in this colorfully illustrated story." A critic for Kirkus Reviews deemed Captain Bob Takes Flight "even more delightful than the first" book, as well as "refreshingly clever."

An enthusiastic child is also at the center of The Boy Who Loved Words, which features artwork by Giselle Potter. Called a "quirkily inspirational picture book" by a Publishers Weekly critic, the work introduces a young lad named Selig, whose pockets are filled with scraps of paper containing words he has decided are well worth collecting. The story, which also includes a glossary of the boy's favorite words, gains a magical element when Selig is visited in a dream by a genie that encourages the lad's obsession. While Schotter's story "whimsically conveys Selig's zeal for vocabulary building," Potter's warm-toned art imbues The Boy Who Loved Words with "a pleasingly old-fashioned flair." In Kirkus Reviews a critic described the book as "a gift to precocious children," and Fleishhacker deemed it an "inspiring choice for young wordsmiths and anyone who cherishes the variety and vitality of language."

Schotter features animal characters in several of her stories for young readers, among them Bunny's Night Out and When Crocodiles Clean Up. In Bunny's Night Out Bunny is afraid of bedtime and leaves his room to explore the world. Although he finds the world is full of interesting creatures, the young creature learns that he prefers his warm, safe home. Bunny returns in Warm at Home, and this time he is stuck at home with a cold. By using his imagination, the bored bunny eventually creates a long list of things to do—mostly involving vegetables. A critic for School Library Journal termed Bunny's Night Out a "cheerful morality tale," while Ellen Mandel applauded it in Booklist as "perfect for settling restless youngsters into sweet dreams." In Publishers Weekly a critic called Warm at Home "a total charmer." "An especially endearing tone … permeates all of Schotter's tale," the critic added, noting that "a particularly active imagination and a quietly accepting mother." Karen James, reviewing Warm at Home for School Library Journal, called Bunny "the embodiment of any young child looking for amusement."

When Crocodiles Clean Up features a crocodile mother who gives her four little crocodile children thirty minutes to tidy their room. The youngsters play instead, but when they hear their mother return they frantically and successfully begin cleaning, gobbling down their very last toy before Mother appears. Writing in School Library Journal, Virginia E. Jeschelnig called When Crocodiles Clean Up "full of laughs" and predicted that "children will recognize their own behavior as they enjoy the antics of the crocodile kids."

Monsieur Cochon, the main character of That Extraordinary Pig of Paris, is a vegetarian pig with a more-than-healthy appetite, especially for pastries. Because of his love of eating, the piggy pig becomes so fat that he is slated for slaughter by the evil butchers. Fortunately, M. Couchon is saved by a variety of animal friends. A critic for Publishers Weekly called That Extraordinary Pig "a pleasing romp." The book contains a glossary of French words, which, in Booklist reviewer Rochman's view, helped create a sense of "world."

Schotter takes on a serious topic in Missing Rabbit. Now that her parents have divorced, Kara is shuttled between two households under a joint custody arrangement. When she decides to leave her toy rabbit at her father's house to ease the pain of goodbye, she begins to miss the rabbit once she is at her mother's home. Leaving the rabbit at her mother's house, she misses it once she is back at her father's. As a Kirkus

Reviews critic observed, Schotter raises the disturbing question of "just where one does belong in a divorced family of two households." Writing in School Library Journal, Susan Weitz concluded that, "for young children dealing with divorce," Missing Rabbit "is a winner."

Sharing her Jewish culture, Schotter has created several books that focus on special holidays. Hanukkah! includes "free and occasionally rhyming verse" describing one family's celebration of the winter festival that commemorates the victory of the Maccabees against their Greek rulers, according to a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books critic. The book received the National Jewish Book Award for best children's picture book on a Jewish theme. In Passover Magic she portrays one family's seder dinner. The emphasis of the story is on colorful characters, such as amateur magician Uncle Harry, as well as on holiday lore. The result, in the view of a Publishers Weekly reviewer, is a warm, original story filled with "intricate, often amusing details" and engagingly recounted by the story's young narrator. Stephanie Zvirin, reviewing the story for Booklist, called Passover Magic "charming."

Like Hanukkah! and Passover Magic, Purim Play is illustrated by Marilyn Hafner, whose pictures for Schotter's stories have garnered considerable praise. Dubbed a "clever introduction to Purim" by a Publishers Weekly critic, Purim Play finds a family play-acting the story of how Queen Esther saved the Jewish people from Haman. The Schotter-Hafner collaboration is successful at "presenting the Purim story in a fresh format," according to Booklist contributor Ilene Cooper. Revisiting the Passover holiday in the simply titled Passover!, Schotter teams up with artist Erin Eitter Kono to produce a book that pairs a "simple text" with "cheerful cartoon illustrations" that bring to life the family holiday for the very young, according to School Library Journal Rachel Kamin.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 1979, review of A Matter of Time, p. 495; November 1, 1983, review of Northern Fried Chicken, p. 404; October 1, 1986, review of Rhoda, Straight and True, p. 275; April 15, 1989, Ellen Mandel, review of Bunny's Night Out, p. 1471; September 1, 1993, Hazel Rochman, review of A Fruit and Vegetable Man, p. 71; January 15, 1994, Hazel Rochman, review of That Extraordinary Pig of Paris, pp. 938-939; October 15, 1994, Linda Callaghan, review of There's a Dragon About: A Winter's Revel, p. 439; March 1, 1995, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Passover Magic, pp. 1249-1250; April 1, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of Dreamland, p. 1374; March 1, 1997, Ilene Cooper, review of Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, p. 1173; February 1, 1998, Ilene Cooper, review of Purim Play, p. 923; July, 2000, Tim Arnold, review of Captain Bob Sets Sail, p. 2043; March 1, 2003, Gillian Engberg, review of Room for Rabbit, p. 1204; March 15, 2003, Diane Foote, review of Captain Bob Takes Flight, p. 1334; July, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of In the Piney Woods, p. 1898; February 1, 2006, Michael Cart, review of The Boy Who Loved Words, p. 57; February 15, 2006, Ilene Cooper, review of Passover!, p. 104; August 1, 2006, John Peters, review of Mama, I'll Give You the World, p. 93.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February, 1984, Zena Sutherland, review of Northern Fried Chicken, p. 117; December, 1986, review of Efan the Great, p. 75; November, 1990, review of Hanukkah!, pp. 69-70; September, 2000, review of Captain Bob Sets Sail, p. 36; January, 2001, review of F Is for Freedom, p. 196; March, 2003, review of In the Piney Woods, p. 287; July, 2003, review of Captain Bob Takes Flight, p. 462.

Horn Book, February, 1980, Ann A. Flowers, review of A Matter of Time, pp. 65-66; February, 1984, Kate M. Flanagan, review of Northern Fried Chicken, p. 65; January, 1991, Hanna B. Zeiger, review of Hanuk-kah!, p. 95; January, 1994, Hanna B. Zeiger, review of A Fruit and Vegetable Man, p. 66.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2002, review of Missing Rabbit, p. 265; February 1, 2003, review of In the Piney Woods, p. 238; March 15, 2003, review of Captain Bob Takes Flight, p. 478; February 15, 2006, review of Passover!, p. 190; March 1, 2006, review of The Boy Who Loved Words, p. 238; July 15, 2006, review of Mama, I'll Give You the World, p. 730; July 15, 2007, review of When the Wizzy Foot Goes Walking….

Language Arts, February, 1987, Janet Hickman, review of Rhoda, Straight and True, p. 246.

New York Times Book Review, December 9, 1990, James Howe, review of Hanukkah!, p. 31; December 4, 1994, review of There's a Dragon About, p. 76; April 13, 1997, Constance Decker Thompson, review of Dreamland, p. 27; August 3, 1997, J. Patrick Lewis, review of Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, p. 14.

Publishers Weekly, August 22, 1986, review of Rhoda, Straight and True, p. 99; September 26, 1986, review of Efan the Great, pp. 75-76; March 24, 1989, review of Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane, p. 69; July 27, 1990, review of Hanukkah!, pp. 232-233; March 8, 1993, review of Warm at Home, p. 77; September 20, 1993, review of A Fruit and Vegetable Man, p. 71; April 11, 1994, review of That Extraordinary Pig of Paris, p. 64; September 12, 1994, review of There's a Dragon About, p. 90; March 20, 1995, review of Passover Magic, pp. 60-61; March 11, 1996, review of Dreamland, p. 64; February 3, 1997, review of Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, p. 106; February 23, 1998, review of Purim Play, p. 67; May 8, 2000, review of Captain Bob Sets Sail, p. 220; January 21, 2002, review of Missing Rabbit, p. 88; November 25, 2002, review of In the Piney Woods, p. 67; February 24, 2003, review of Captain Bob Takes Flight, p. 74; September 22, 2003, review of Hanukkah!, p. 68; February 20, 2006, review of The Boy Who Loved Words, p. 156.

School Library Journal, December, 1979, Cyrisse Jaffee, review of A Matter of Time, p. 92; December, 1983, review of Northern Fried Chicken, p. 77; October, 1986, Judith Gloyer, review of Efan the Great, p. 113; December, 1986, Marjorie Lewis, review of Rhoda, Straight and True, p. 108; May, 1989, Ruth K. MacDonald, review of Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane, p. 92; July, 1989, Virginia Opocensky, review of Bunny's Night Out, p. 76; October, 1990, Susan Hepler, review of Hanukkah!, p. 39; June, 1993, Karen James, review of Warm at Home, pp. 88-89; October, 1993, Cynthia K. Richey, review of A Fruit and Vegetable Man, p. 112; December, 1993, Virginia E. Jeschelnig, review of When Crocodiles Clean Up, p. 93; July, 1994, Ann W. Moore, review of That Extraordinary Pig of Paris, pp. 88-89; September, 1994, Kathleen Whalin, review of There's a Dragon About, p. 211; April, 1995, Susan Scheps, review of Passover Magic, pp. 116-117; April, 1996, Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, review of Dreamland, p. 118; January, 1997, review of Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane, p. 37; March, 1997, John Peters, review of Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, p. 166; April, 1998, Libby K. White, review of Purim Play, p. 110; December, 2000, William McLoughlin, review of F Is for Freedom, p. 125; April, 2002, Susan Weitz, review of Missing Rabbit, p. 122; April, 2003, Jane Marino, review of In the Piney Woods, p. 137, and Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, review of Room for Rabbit, p. 138; May, 2003, Nancy A. Gifford, review of Captain Bob Takes Flight, p. 129; April, 2006, Joy Fleishhacker, review of The Boy Who Loved Words, and Rachel Kamin, review of Passover!, both p. 117; September, 2006, Wendy Lukehart, review of Mama, I'll Give You the World, p. 184; August, 2007, Amy Lilien-Harper, review of When the Wizzy Foot Goes Walking, p. 90.

ONLINE

Roni Schotter Home Page,http://members.aol.com/ronisch (June 5, 2008).

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

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Schotter, Roni 1946–." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Schotter, Roni 1946–." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/schotter-roni-1946

"Schotter, Roni 1946–." Something About the Author. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/schotter-roni-1946

Schotter, Roni

SCHOTTER, Roni

Personal

Born in New York, NY; married Richard D. Schotter (an English professor, playwright, and lyricist); children: Jesse. Education: Attended Carnegie Mellon University; New York University, B.A.

Addresses

Home Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. Agent c/o Author Mail, Houghton Mifflin Children's Books, 8th Fl., 222 Berkeley St., Boston, MA 02116-3764. E-mail ronisch@aol.com.

Career

Former editor with publishing houses; has taught writing at Queens College, City University of New York, and at Manhattanville College. Speaker, Vassar College's Summer Institute in Children's Publishing, and at annual conferences of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Awards, Honors

National Jewish Book Award for best children's picture book, Jewish Book Council, 1991, for Hanukkah!; Parents Choice Award, for Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane; Hungry Mind Review Award, for A Fruit and Vegetable Man; Washington Irving Children's Choice Award, Westchester Library Association (WLA), for F Is for Freedom and Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street; Washington Irving Honor Book Awards, WLA, for Dreamland and A Fruit and Vegetable Man; Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, Children's Book Council/National Council for the Social Studies, for Passover Magic and Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street; Irma Simonton Black Honor Book, Bank Street College of Education, for Dreamland.

Writings

FOR YOUNG ADULTS

A Matter of Time, Collins (New York, NY), 1979.

Northern Fried Chicken, Philomel (New York, NY), 1983.

Rhoda, Straight and True, Lothrop, Lee, and Shepard (New York, NY), 1986.

(Coauthor, with husband, Richard Schotter) There's a Dragon About: A Winter's Revel, illustrated by R. W. Alley, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1994.

F Is for Freedom, illustrated by C. B. Mordan, DK Ink (New York, NY), 2000.

F Is for Freedom was published in Japanese.

FOR CHILDREN

Efan the Great, illustrated by Rodney Pate, Lothrop, Lee, and Shepard (New York, NY), 1986.

Bunny's Night Out, illustrated by Margot Apple, Joy Street Books (Boston, MA), 1989.

Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane, illustrated by Marcia Sewall, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Hanukkah!, illustrated by Marilyn Hafner, Joy Street Books (New York, NY), 1990.

A Fruit and Vegetable Man, illustrated by Jeannette Winter, Joy Street Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Warm at Home, illustrated by Dara Goldman, Maxwell (New York, NY), 1993.

When Crocodiles Clean Up, illustrated by Thor Wickstrom, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1993.

That Extraordinary Pig of Paris, illustrated by Dominic Catalano, Philomel (New York, NY), 1994.

Passover Magic, illustrated by Marilyn Hafner, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.

Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Dreamland, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Purim Play, illustrated by Marilyn Hafner, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.

Captain Bob Sets Sail, illustrated by Joe Cepeda, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2000.

Missing Rabbit, illustrated by Cyd Moore, Clarion (New York, NY), 2002.

In the Piney Woods, illustrated by Kimberly Bulcken Root, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (New York, NY), 2003.

Captain Bob Takes Flight, illustrated by Joe Cepeda, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

Room for Rabbit, illustrated by Cyd Moore, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.

The World, illustrated by Susan Gallagher, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

Bunny's Night Out was published in French.

Adaptations

A Matter of Time was made into a thirty-minute ABC Afterschool Special, written by Paul W. Cooper, directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman, and produced by Martin Tahse, Learning Corp. of America (New York, NY), 1981.

Work in Progress

When the Wizzy Foot Goes Walking, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, for Dutton (New York, NY); Passover, illustrated by Erin Eitter Kono, for Little, Brown (Boston, MA); Doo-Wop Pop, illustrated by Brian Collier, for HarperCollins (New York, NY).

Sidelights

An award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction, Roni Schotter has written novels for teenagers and picture books for small children. Schotter's first young adult novel, A Matter of Time, was published in 1979. The novel is a "moving" story, according to a Booklist commentator, that has as its protagonist a high school senior, Lisl Gilbert, whose vivacious, artistic mother is dying of cancer. To complicate the emotional background, Lisl has always felt inferior to her mother; now she realizes that not only is her mother vulnerable, but that her mother has felt unloved and inferior at times. Lisl sorts out her tangled feelings with the help of sympathetic friends, relatives, and a social worker. The Booklist reviewer described Lisl as "believable and appealing" and commented that the way in which she is depicted as maturing rapidly under tragic circumstances is "convincing." A Horn Book reviewer lauded Schotter's "honest" and "straightforward" handling of the broad and difficult themes of life and death in A Matter of Time. While School Library Journal critic Cyrisse Jaffee thought that the resolution of conflicts were too pat and, for adult readers at least, obviously tied to current psychological theories, she nevertheless called the book "reassuring and positive." The book was ultimately adapted for television, being made into an ABC Afterschool Special.

Schotter's next venture into the young adult market was Northern Fried Chicken, whose heroine, Betsy Bergman, is a shy Jewish girl living in Providence, Rhode Island. Set in 1962, Northern Fried Chicken traces Betsy's involvement in civil rights protests, detailing the personal growth that results from her participation in the movement. A Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books reviewer, although calling the pace of the novel slow and uneven, applauded it for providing "a touching picture of the way in which devotion to a cause can bring a reclusive individual to active participation." The characters and their relationships, the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books critic wrote, were skillfully portrayed. A Booklist critic was not enthusiastic about Schotter's characterizations, but praised Northern Fried Chicken as an "effective and true" portrayal of the time and place in which it was set; similarly, a reviewer for Horn Book declared that the novel "evokes the era's feeling of hope and of change."

Three years later, in 1986, Schotter followed with another young adult novel, Rhoda, Straight and True, in which the title character, a twelve-year-old girl in Brooklyn in the summer of 1953, realizes that appearancessuch as those of a huge family of scruffylooking neighborsare not reliable when assessing a person's character. A commentator for Publishers Weekly felt the moral was a bit "heavyhanded," but added, "the sense of locale is nicely drawn, with original characters and humor rounding out a pleasant story." A critic for Booklist praised the "strong, sure characterizations," "careful plotting," and vivid setting in Rhoda, Straight and True.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the children's book market proved highly successful for Schotter. Her first children's book, Efan the Great, was called "a touching and unusually substantial Christmas story," in the words of a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books reviewer. Ten-year-old Efan, who lives in a poor neighborhood, wants to buy a Christmas tree with his life savings of six dollars and sixty-three cents. Finding the prices of trees too high, he agrees to work for a tree-seller, and to be paid with his pick of the trees at the end of the day. When the tree he picks is too big to fit into his apartment, Efan leaves it outside and decorates it for all to see. A Publishers Weekly contributor called the tale "heartwarming" and "jubilantly told," while a Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books reviewer asserted that "Efan's emotions are varied, genuine, and set into a context of vividly projected secondary characters."

Schotter's 1989 book Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane tells the simple story of a group of children who are initially afraid of an old man, but when they discover that he is ill, they bring him food and blankets. A New York Times Book Review critic responded favorably to Captain Snap, and a Kirkus Reviews contributor also offered praise for the book's "engaging detail and the enthusiasm of a compelling storyteller."

That same year, Schotter turned to animals as characters in her work Bunny's Night Out, in which Bunny, who is afraid of bedtime, leaves his room to explore the world. Although Bunny finds the world is full of interesting creatures, he learns that he prefers his warm, safe home. A critic for School Library Journal termed Bunny's Night Out a "cheerful morality tale," while Ellen Mandel of Booklist applauded it as "perfect for settling restless youngsters into sweet dreams."

In Schotter's 1993 book Warm at Home, Bunny has a cold and complains that there is nothing to do. By using his imagination, Bunny eventually creates a long list of things to do (mostly involving vegetables). A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called Warm at Home "a total charmer," elaborating, "An especially endearing tone . . . permeates all of Schotter's tale, which along the way celebrates a particularly active imagination and a quietly accepting mother." Karen James of School Library Journal called Bunny "the embodiment of any young child looking for amusement."

Schotter returns to human characters in A Fruit and Vegetable Man, in which longtime grocer Ruby Rubinstein, who has been tending his stand for fifty years, falls ill and is aided by young Asian immigrant Sun Ho and his family. Reviewing A Fruit and Vegetable Man for Publishers Weekly, a contributor responded favorably, praising the "sweet sense of continuity" in the story's portrayal of generational and cultural transition in immigrant businesses. The book was, the critic asserted, "as irresistible as a ripe peach." School Library Journal reviewer Cynthia K. Richey also applauded this "satisfying story about taking pride in one's work and helping others," while Hazel Rochman of Booklist praised the "unaffected" writing.

The end of 1993 saw the publication of When Crocodiles Clean Up. The story features a crocodile mother who gives her four little crocodile children thirty minutes to clean up their room. They begin playing instead, and when they hear their mother returning, they frantically and successfully begin cleaning, which includes gobbling down their very last toy before their mother appears. Writing in School Library Journal, Virginia E. Jeschelnig called When Crocodiles Clean Up "full of laughs" and theorized that "children will recognize their own behavior as they enjoy the antics of the crocodile kids."

That Extraordinary Pig of Paris features the main character Monsieur Cochon, a vegetarian pig with a morethan-healthy appetite, especially for pastries. He loves to eat, and becomes so fat that he is slated for slaughter by the evil butchers. Fortunately, he is saved by a variety of animal friends. A critic for Publishers Weekly called That Extraordinary Pig "a pleasing romp." The book contains a glossary of French words, which, in Booklist reviewer Rochman's view, helped create a sense of "world."

Beginning with the 1990 Hanukkah!, Schotter wrote several books about Jewish holidays. Hanukkah! contains "free and occasionally rhyming verse," according to a reviewer in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, and further describes one family's celebration of the winter festival that commemorates the victory of the Maccabees against their Greek rulers. James Howe of New York Times Book Review faulted the inconsistency of the verse form, assessing the text as "cheerful," but imperfectly crafted. The book received the National Jewish Book Award for best children's picture book on a Jewish theme.

Schotter returned to the topic of Jewish holidays in 1995 with Passover Magic, a portrayal of one family's seder dinner. The emphasis of the story is on colorful characters, such as amateur magician Uncle Harry, as well as on holiday lore. The result, in the view of a Publishers Weekly reviewer, was a warm, original story filled with "intricate, often amusing details," and engagingly recounted by its narrator, daughter Molly. Stephanie Zvirin of Booklist offered a similar view, calling the book "very charming." Schotter's third book on Jewish holidays was the 1997 Purim Play. Like Hanukkah! and Passover Magic, it was illustrated by Marilyn Hafner, whose pictures for Schotter's stories have garnered considerable praise.

Schotter's Dreamland was also well received. The tale revolves around a family of tailors, some of whom possess an abundance of common sense and some who do not. Among the latter group are young Theo, who sketches plans for fantastic machines, and his uncle Gurney, who moves out West to seek his fortune. At a time when the family business is failing, Gurney writes back to Theo, asking him for exact instructions on how to build his machines. Gurney turns the machines into an amusement park. A Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that the story was "both fantastic and credible," praising its "eloquent, image-studded prose." Carolyn Phelan of Booklist noted a lack of credibility in the narrative, but characterized the story as appealing to "dreamers who long for a brighter reality." More praise came from Constance Decker Thompson in the New York Times Book Review. She applauded Dreamland as a "splendid" book, asserting that "Schotter deftly builds suspense to a wondrous climactic scene in which Theo's family sees Uncle Gurney's project." Pointing out, as well, that Schotter is the granddaughter of a tailor, Thompson observed that "her engaging phrases . . . spring from a tailor's world."

Another children's story, Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, focuses again on the importance of imagination. Facing a report for school, Eva, the main character, sits outside her house in the city and watches the people. She receives advice from several folks and witnesses some interesting events, including a bicycle accident. J. Patrick Lewis, writing in the New York Times Book Review, enjoyed the "clever sprinkles" of characters, creating a "spicy ethnic stewpot." A critic for Publishers Weekly observed that Schotter has "a knack for creating dramatic situations filled with romantic characters."

With Captain Bob Sets Sail and Captain Bob Takes Flight, Schotter recounts the adventures of a young boy with a vivid imagination. In Captain Bob Sets Sail, he pictures himself as a pirate captain within the confines of his bubble-filled bathtub, while in Captain Bob Takes Flight, he is a pilot whose mission is to clean up his room. Bob's pirate adventures are "a series of vignettes energetically describing Bob's bath play from start to finish," explained Tim Arnold in Booklist. These adventures make for an "irresistible bathtime book" as a Publishers Weekly critic noted.

In Captain Bob Takes Flight, Bob imagines himself as a pilot soaring around his room, cleaning up the mess along the way. Diane Foote of Booklist commented that Schotter makes "cleaning one's room seem less of a chore in this colorfully illustrated story." A critic for Kirkus Reviews found Captain Bob Takes Flight to be "even more delightful than the first" book, as well as being "refreshingly clever."

Missing Rabbit concerns a young girl whose parents have divorced. Kara is shuttled between the two parents, living with each of them for a time under a joint custody arrangement. When she decides to leave her toy rabbit at her father's house to ease the pain of goodbye, she finds that she begins to miss her rabbit once she is at her mother's house. Leaving the rabbit at her mother's house, she misses him once she is back at her father's. Even the rabbit begins to wonder, "Where do I live?" The book raises the disturbing question, as a critic for Kirkus Reviews put it, of "just where one does belong in a divorced family of two households." Writing in School Library Journal, Susan Weitz found that, "for young children dealing with divorceand their parentsthis book is a winner."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Schotter, Roni, Missing Rabbit, illustrated by Cyd Moore, Clarion (New York, NY), 2002.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 1979, review of A Matter of Time, p. 495; November 1, 1983, review of Northern Fried Chicken, p. 404; October 1, 1986, review of Rhoda, Straight and True, p. 275; October 15, 1986, pp. 356-357; April 15, 1989, Ellen Mandel, review of Bunny's Night Out, p. 1471; September 1, 1993, Hazel Rochman, review of A Fruit and Vegetable Man, p. 71; January 15, 1994, Hazel Rochman, review of That Extraordinary Pig of Paris, pp. 938-939; October 15, 1994, Linda Callaghan, review of There's a Dragon About: A Winter's Revel, p. 439; November 1, 1994, Linda Callaghan, review of There's a Dragon About, p. 509; March 1, 1995, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Passover Magic, pp. 1249-1250; April 1, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of Dreamland, p. 1374; March 1, 1997, Ilene Cooper, review of Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, p. 1173; February 1, 1998, Ilene Cooper, review of Purim Play, p. 923; July, 2000, Tim Arnold, review of Captain Bob Sets Sail, p. 2043; March 1, 2003, Gillian Engberg, review of Room for Rabbit, p. 1204; March 15, 2003, Diane Foote, review of Captain Bob Takes Flight, p. 1334; July, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of In the Piney Woods, p. 1898.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February, 1984, Zena Sutherland, review of Northern Fried Chicken, p. 117; December, 1986, review of Efan the Great, p. 75; November, 1990, review of Hanukkah!, pp. 69-70.

Horn Book, February, 1980, Ann A. Flowers, review of A Matter of Time, pp. 65-66; February, 1984, Kate M. Flanagan, review of Northern Fried Chicken, p. 65; January, 1991, Hanna B. Zeiger, review of Hanukkah!, p. 95; January, 1994, Hanna B. Zeiger, review of A Fruit and Vegetable Man, p. 66.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1989, p. 554; February 15, 2002, review of Missing Rabbit, p. 265; February 1, 2003, review of In the Piney Woods, p. 238; March 15, 2003, review of Captain Bob Takes Flight, p. 478.

Language Arts, February, 1987, Janet Hickman, review of Rhoda, Straight and True, p. 246.

New York Times Book Review, September 17, 1989, p. 39; December 9, 1990, James Howe, review of Hanukkah!, p. 31; December 4, 1994, review of There's a Dragon About, p. 76; April 13, 1997, Constance Decker Thompson, review of Dreamland, p. 27; August 3, 1997, J. Patrick Lewis, review of Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, p. 14.

Publishers Weekly, August 22, 1986, Diane Roback, review of Rhoda, Straight and True, p. 99; September 26, 1986, review of Efan the Great, pp. 75-76; March 24, 1989, Kimberly Olson Fakih and Diane Roback, review of Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane, p. 69; July 27, 1990, Diane Roback and Richard Donahue, review of Hanukkah!, pp. 232-233; March 8, 1993, review of Warm at Home, p. 77; September 20, 1993, review of A Fruit and Vegetable Man, p. 71; April 11, 1994, review of That Extraordinary Pig of Paris, p. 64; September 12, 1994, review of There's a Dragon About, p. 90; March 20, 1995, review of Passover Magic, pp. 60-61; March 11, 1996, review of Dreamland, p. 64; February 3, 1997, review of Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, p. 106; February 23, 1998, review of Purim Play, p. 67; May 8, 2000, review of Captain Bob Sets Sail, p. 220; January 21, 2002, review of Missing Rabbit, p. 88; November 25, 2002, review of In the Piney Woods, p. 67; February 24, 2003, review of Captain Bob Takes Flight, p. 74.

School Library Journal, December, 1979, Cyrisse Jaffee, review of A Matter of Time, p. 92; December, 1983, review of Northern Fried Chicken, p. 77; October, 1986, Judith Gloyer, review of Efan the Great, p. 113; December, 1986, Marjorie Lewis, review of Rhoda, Straight and True, p. 108; May, 1989, Ruth K. MacDonald, review of Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane, p. 92; July, 1989, Virginia Opocensky, review of Bunny's Night Out, p. 76; October, 1990, Susan Hepler, review of Hanukkah!, p. 39; June, 1993, Karen James, review of Warm at Home, pp. 88-89; October, 1993, Cynthia K. Richey, review of A Fruit and Vegetable Man, p. 112; December, 1993, Virginia E. Jeschelnig, review of When Crocodiles Clean Up, p. 93; July, 1994, Ann W. Moore, review of That Extraordinary Pig of Paris, pp. 88-89; September, 1994, Kathleen Whalin, review of There's a Dragon About, p. 211; April, 1995, Susan Scheps, review of Passover Magic, pp. 116-117; April, 1996, Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, review of Dreamland, p. 118; January, 1997, review of Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane, p. 37; March, 1997, John Peters, review of Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street, p. 166; April, 1998, Libby K. White, review of Purim Play, p. 110; December, 2000, William McLoughlin, review of FIs for Freedom, p. 125; April, 2002, Susan Weitz, review of Missing Rabbit, p. 122; April, 2003, Jane Marino, review of In the Piney Woods, p. 137, and Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, review of Room for Rabbit, p. 138; May, 2003, Nancy A. Gifford, review of Captain Bob Takes Flight, p. 129.

ONLINE

Roni Schotter Home Page, http://members.aol.com/ronisch/ (April 14, 2003).*

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

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Schotter, Roni." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Schotter, Roni." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 19, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/schotter-roni

"Schotter, Roni." Something About the Author. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/schotter-roni