Capucilli, Alyssa Satin 1957–

views updated

Capucilli, Alyssa Satin 1957–

PERSONAL: Born November 2, 1957, in Brooklyn, NY; married Bill Capucilli; children: Peter, Laura. Education: Sarah Lawrence College, B.A.

ADDRESSES: Home—Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. Agent—Liza Voges, Kirchoff/Wohlberg, 866 U.N. Plaza, New York, NY 10017. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Modern dancer; teacher (including children's classes in creative movement) and performer, 1989–.

MEMBER: Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

AWARDS, HONORS: American Booksellers Association "pick of the lists" designations, 1994, for Good Morning, Pond, 1996, for Biscuit, and 1997, for Bathtime for Biscuit; Washington Irving Award and best book award, Bank Street College, both for Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats.

WRITINGS:

CHILDREN'S BOOKS

Peekaboo Bunny, illustrated by Mary Melcher, Scholastic, Inc. (New York, NY), 1994.

Peekaboo Bunny Friends in the Snow, Scholastic, Inc. (New York, NY), 1995.

Inside a Barn in the Country: A Rebus Read-along Story, illustrated by Tedd Arnold, Scholastic, Inc. (New York, NY), 1995.

Wee Mouse Christmas, illustrated by Linda Birkinshaw, Random House (New York, NY), 1995.

Inside a House that Is Haunted: A Rebus Read-along Story, illustrated by Tedd Arnold, Scholastic, Inc. (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Iris Hiskey Arno) Wake up, Night, Kidsbooks (New York, NY), 1998.

Inside a Zoo in the City: A Rebus Read-along Story, illustrated by Tedd Arnold, Scholastic, Inc. (New York, NY), 2000.

The Potty Book for Boys, illustrated by Dorothy Stott, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 2000.

The Potty Book for Girls, illustrated by Dorothy Stott, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 2000.

Mrs. McTats and Her Houseful of Cats, illustrated by Joan Rankin, Margaret K. McElderry (New York, NY), 2000.

Bear Hugs, illustrated by Jim Ishi, Golden Books (New York, NY), 2000.

What Kind of Kiss?, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2002.

The Brightest Star, illustrated by Clare Beaton, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2003.

Only My Dad and Me, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2003.

Only My Mom and Me, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2003.

Little Spotted Cat, illustrated by Dan Andreason, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2004.

Pedro's Burro, illustrated by Pav Estrada, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2007.

"BISCUIT" SERIES OF CHILDREN'S BOOKS;

Biscuit, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.

Biscuit Finds a Friend, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1997.

Bathtime for Biscuit, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1998.

Hello, Biscuit!, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1998.

Biscuit's Picnic, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1998.

Happy Birthday, Biscuit!, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1998.

Happy Halloween, Biscuit!, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 1999.

Happy Thanksgiving, Biscuit!, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 1999.

Biscuit's New Trick, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

Happy Easter, Biscuit!, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

Happy Valentine's Day, Biscuit!, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

Biscuit's Christmas: A Scratch-and-Sniff Book, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2000.

Biscuit's Valentine's Day, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2001.

Biscuit Wants to Play, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.

Biscuit's Day at the Beach, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.

Merry Christmas, from Biscuit, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2001.

Time to Paint, Biscuit!, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.

Biscuit Visits the Farm, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2002.

Biscuit Goes to School, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

Biscuit Goes to the Park, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2002.

Biscuit Loves You, illustrated by Pat Schories, Harper-Festival (New York, NY), 2002.

Biscuit Meets the Neighbors, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

Happy Hanukkah, Biscuit!, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2002.

Biscuit Is Thankful, illustrated by Pat Schories, Harper-Festival (New York, NY), 2003.

Biscuit and the Bunny, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2003.

Biscuit Loves School, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2003.

Biscuit's Big Friend, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.

What Is Love, Biscuit?, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2003.

Biscuit Loves Father's Day, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2004.

Biscuit Loves Mother's Day, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2004.

Biscuit Gives a Gift, illustrated by Pat Schories, Harper-Festival (New York, NY), 2004.

Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2004.

Biscuit Wins a Prize, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2004.

Biscuit and the Baby, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2005.

Biscuit's Birthday, illustrated by Pat Schories, Harper-Festival (New York, NY), 2005.

Biscuit's Fourth of July, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2005.

Biscuit's Graduation Day, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2005.

Biscuit's Hanukkah, illustrated by Pat Schories, Harper-Festival (New York, NY), 2005.

Meet Biscuit!, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2005.

Biscuit Visits the Big City, illustrated by Pat Schories, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.

Capucilli's books have been translated into French, Hebrew, Afrikaans, Bulgarian, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, and Greek.

SIDELIGHTS: Alyssa Satin Capucilli is the author of books for both preschoolers and beginning readers. Her creations include lift-the-flap books for toddlers, featuring gentle, lovable characters and easily identifiable objects, and a series of beginning readers featuring Biscuit, the rambunctious golden-haired puppy.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1957, Capucilli developed an early love of books and looked forward to weekly trips to the library with her mother and sisters. "I could hardly wait to choose a special book from all of the books that lined the shelves," Capucilli recalled. "As a matter of fact, my sisters and I would often play library at home! We would take turns pretending to be the librarian, and we would recommend books to each other, check them out, and tell each other to 'SSSSHHH!'" Among Capucilli's favorite authors were Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, and Beverly Cleary, whose stories about Henry and his dog, Ribsy, she loved. "The funny thing was, although I loved to imagine myself as different characters in books," Capucilli added, "I never imagined that the authors who created them were real people!"

Although as a child she wrote many stories, poems, and puppet shows, Capucilli never took her writing seriously until many years later. In the meantime, she focused on her love of dance, a method, she explained, of "telling stories in another way." She became a professional dancer and soon was teaching as well as performing on stage. While reading to her own two children, her love affair with children's books was rekindled, and she began to split her time between work as a dance instructor and performer and work as a writer.

Capucilli's first published book was Peekaboo Bunny, a lift-the-flap book published in 1994. Illustrated by Mary Melcher, the book helps small children navigate in a garden, and it was popular enough to prompt a sequel, Peekaboo Bunny Friends in the Snow. The connection between objects and sounds has inspired several of Capucilli's books, including Good Morning, Pond, which uses repetition and rhythm to teach the names of pond-dwelling creatures, and books that tell stories using rebuses, pictures of items that, when sounded out in order, make words. One such, Inside a Barn in the Country, illustrated by Tedd Arnold, encourages young listeners to mimic barnyard noises and uses rebuses for the text. Booklist reviewer Stephanie Zvirin praised Capucilli's thoughtfully designed text as "part poetry, part puzzle game, and part tool for learning the sounds animals make." Noting that the text models itself after the familiar "This Is the House that Jack Built," a Publishers Weekly contributor said that "Capucilli and Arnold give their work plenty of extra bounce."

Capucilli introduced a new character to young readers in Biscuit. A small, soft-eared, lovable puppy the color of freshly baked, golden biscuits, Biscuit bounds into the life of a young girl, quickly becoming her best friend as she interprets his "Woof, Woof" to mean many things. From wanting a small snack before bedtime to being tucked in snugly under layers of blankets, the activities of Biscuit and his young owner are depicted in "oodles of contextual clues," easy-to-read sentences, and "repetitive words and phrases," according to School Library Journal reviewer Gale W. Sherman. Equally enthusiastic, Booklist contributor Ilene Cooper deemed Capucilli's story a "sweet entry to reading."

Novice readers have encountered Biscuit's "Woof, Woof" in several other books. Illustrated by Pat Schories, the series has become so popular with readers that a stuffed toy puppy resembling the floppy-eared canine has been made available. In Biscuit Finds a Friend, the puppy noses a small duckling out from under the porch of his family's house, and the two become fast friends. Cooper deemed the story "just right" for beginning readers. In Bathtime for Biscuit the task of getting the pup into hot water is made easier through a variety of antics, and Capucilli tells her story in a way that "makes this a good choice for the youngest readers and listeners alike," in the opinion of School Library Journal contributor Sharon R. Pearce. Biscuit celebrates his first birthday with his many new friends in Happy Birthday, Biscuit!, offering equal appeal to "librarians who find it difficult to sustain a squirmy toddler's interest," according to Lauren Peterson's Booklist appraisal.

"I find that inspiration for stories and characters comes from so many places: our memories, our family, our friends, our pets, our own observations and our own wonderings," Capucilli explained. "I first got the idea to write about … Biscuit after watching my daughter dog-sit a neighbor's huge golden retriever! But deep inside, I think that the Biscuit stories are really about that puppy I always imagined I would someday have, from when I was a young girl, reading and dreaming. And sometimes in stories, as in real life, dreams do come true! I finally got my puppy after all! He is a sweet and lovable chocolate Labrador retriever that my children named … Huckleberry! Huck, as we like to call him, loves to dig in the mud, splash in the pond, play with friends and take bubble baths! But most of all, he likes to curl up next to me on our big pink couch when I am working, and that is just fine with me!"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 15, 1995, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Inside a Barn in the Country, p. 935; August, 1996, Ilene Cooper, review of Biscuit, p. 1910; May 1, 1997, Ilene Cooper, review of Biscuit Finds a Friend, p. 1503; June 1, 1999, Lauren Peterson, review of Happy Birthday, Biscuit!, p. 1838.

Publishers Weekly, March 27, 1995, review of Inside a Barn in the Country, p. 84.

School Library Journal, July, 1996, Gale W. Sherman, review of Biscuit, p. 57; October, 1998, Sharon R. Pearce, review of Bathtime for Biscuit, p. 87; June, 1999, p. 91.

ONLINE

Home Page of Alyssa Capucilli, http://www.alyssacapucilli.com (January 13, 2007).