Brown, Jo 1964–
Brown, Jo 1964–
PERSONAL: Born 1964. Education: University of Nottingham, B.A.; University of Manchester, M.A.
CAREER: Graphic artist, author, and illustrator. Has worked on projects involving advertising, animation, packaging, toy design, and greeting cards.
FOR CHILDREN; AND ILLUSTRATOR
Where's My Mommy?, Tiger Tales (Wilton, CT), 2002.
If Dogs Wore Clothes, Campbell/Macmillan (New York, NY), 2002.
Little Rabbit Goes out to Play, Tango, 2002.
Pirate Jam, Gingham Dog Press (Columbus, OH), 2003.
Hoppity Skip Little Chick, Tiger Tales (Wilton, CT), 2005.
ADAPTATIONS: Where's My Mommy? was adapted for audio cassette, read by Jane Gabbert, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Graphic artist Jo Brown has written and illustrated several picture books for small children. Her earliest work, Where's My Mommy?, tells the story of newly hatched Little Crocodile, who is searching for his mother. He first comes across a blue monkey, a tiger, an elephant, and a zebra. They ask him to make various sounds and motions that prove how differently they are made. When Little Crocodile finally discovers his mother, he tells her that he has been making friends. The story is illustrated with colorful images of geometrically styled animals.
Two reviewers found a strong similarity between Brown's book and P.D. Eastman's Are You My Mother? According to Piper L. Nyman in School Library Journal, the result is "not highly original." A Publishers Weekly critic, in contrast, remarked that Brown's world is "considerably more benevolent" than that of the earlier story, and the reviewer enjoyed the "freewheeling body language" of the animals.
Pirate Jam is the story of two failed pirates: Fredbeard and Little Jim. The two friends flunk out of pirate school and are left to find occupations of their own making. Their habit of collecting things that wash up on the beach ultimately gives them the materials and inspiration to set themselves up in the jam-making and knitting businesses, which both turn profitable. Reviewer Susan Pine called the writing "coy and uninspired" in her School Library Journal assessment. On the other hand, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor Deborah Stevenson said that Brown is "gifted … at comic detail."
Brown tells a story about the companionship of friends and siblings in her Hoppity Skip Little Chick. The title character in this tale is sent out to play by his mother, who is occupied with warming the eggs in her nest. Little Chick is thrilled to play with the geese, a lamb, a pony, and a piglet in the barnyard. In the course of the morning, he makes a game of jumping, running, bouncing, and rolling with these friends. To his surprise, he returns home to find new brothers and sisters to play with.
The story and its illustrations had plenty of charm for reviewers, who admired the vivid activity captured in both of these aspects of the book. A Children's Bookwatch writer described the picture book as "gently written and colorfully illustrated," and School Library Journal contributor Kathleen Kelly MacMillan recommended the book as a "terrific read-aloud for toddler storytime."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 2003, Deborah Stevenson, review of Pirate Jam, p. 352.
Children's Bookwatch, June, 2005, review of Hoppity Skip Little Chick.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2005, review of Hoppity Skip Little Chick, p. 284.
Publishers Weekly, February 18, 2002, review of Where's My Mommy?, p. 95.
School Library Journal, July, 2002, Piper L. Nyman, review of Where's My Mommy?, p. 84; September, 2003, Susan Pine, review of Pirate Jam, p. 175; May, 2005, Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, review of Hoppity Skip Little Chick, p. 77.
Jo Brown Home Page, http://www.jo-brown.co.uk (September 13, 2005).