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Cascone, Gina 1955–

CASCONE, Gina 1955– (A. G. Cascone)

PERSONAL: Born December 14, 1955, in Trenton, NJ; daughter of Peter P., Jr. (an attorney) and Shirley (Shelmet) Cascone.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Marcie Posner, William Morris Agency, 1325 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, 10019.

CAREER: Children's book writer.

WRITINGS:

Pagan Babies and Other Catholic Memories, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1982.

Mother's Little Helper, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1986.

(With sister, Annette Cascone) Mirror, Mirror (screenplay), Orphan Eyes Academy Entertainment, 1991.

Life al Dente: Laughter and Love in an Italian American Family (memoir), Atria Books (New York, NY), 2003.

FOR CHILDREN; WITH SISTER, ANNETTE CASCONE, UNDER JOINT PSEUDONYM A. G. CASCONE

The Attack of the Aqua Apes, Minstrel (New York, NY), 1995.

Eye of the Fortuneteller, Minstrel (New York, NY), 1996.

Terror in Tiny Town, Troll (New York, NY), 1996.

Invasion of the Appleheads, Troll (New York, NY), 1996.

Along Came a Spider, Troll (New York, NY), 1996.

Ghost Knight, Troll (New York, NY), 1996.

Revenge of the Goblins, Troll (New York, NY), 1996.

Little Magic Shop of Horrors, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

It Came from the Deep, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

Grave Secrets, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

Mirror, Mirror, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

Grandpa's Monster Movies, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

Nightmare on Planet X, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

Welcome to the Terror-Go-Round, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

The Beast of Baskerville, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

Trapped in Tiny Town, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

Cyber Scare, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

Night of the Pet Zombies, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

Faerie Tale, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

FOR YOUNG ADULTS; WITH SISTER, ANNETTE CASCONE, UNDER JOINT PSEUDONYM A. G. CASCONE

Jump Off the Cliff Notes: A Parody, Bart Books (New York, NY), 1988.

In a Crooked Little House, Troll (New York, NY), 1994.

If He Hollers, Avon (New York, NY), 1995.

There's No Place Like Home, Troll (New York, NY), 1997.

OTHER

Cascone's work has been translated into Danish, French, and Italian.

SIDELIGHTS: Gina Cascone began her publishing career with a memoir titled Pagan Babies and Other Catholic Memories, in which she took a jaundiced, humorous look back at the nine years she attended St. Lucy's, a Catholic school in New Jersey. Never enthusiastic about attending St. Lucy's—she claims that she hid under beds and in closets to try to escape going—Cascone amused herself while there by imagining what the nuns' legs looked like under their habits and questioning such basic practices of the faith as infant baptism. She remembers disliking the practices of saying the rosary and making the stations of the cross, as well as having to donate money to the missions so that the "pagan babies" in foreign countries could be converted to Catholicism. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted that while Cascone's "irreverent and often funny recollections" would not please the nuns who taught at the school, they would surely "delight many readers who underwent Catholic education as reluctantly as she did and considered graduation an escape from earthly purgatory."

Some twenty years after publishing Pagan Babies, Cascone penned another memoir, Life al Dente: Laughter and Love in an Italian American Family. Covering her childhood and early adult years, the author chronicles her changing feelings about her Italian heritage and ends by describing a trip to Italy made with her children and husband. After starting life in a friendly, close-knit urban neighborhood, Cascone moved with her family to a roomy new home in the suburbs. She found, however, that her ethnicity was quite an issue in her new, WASP-oriented neighborhood. She was ignored by classmates until a rumor started that she came from a Mafia family; Cascone responded by acting as much as possible like a mob princess. Her recollections are "comical and even sweet," stated a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Life al Dente was also recommended by a Kirkus Reviews contributor, who called it "a rare and refreshing tribute to a happy and wonderfully exuberant family."

Cascone has also cowritten numerous children's books with her sister, Annette. Their cooperative efforts, published under the pseudonym A. G. Cascone, provide horrifying thrills for young readers. The sisters found publishers initially resistant to the idea of horror stories for juvenile readers, but the huge success of R. L. Stine's "Goosebumps" series changed all that. Terror in Tiny Town, Welcome to the Terror-Go-Round, and Revenge of the Goblins are among the titles they have produced for young readers.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Children's Bookwatch, December, 1996, p. 65; February, 1997, p. 4; March, 1997, p. 3; July, 1997, p. 5.

Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literature, November, 1997, p. 211.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2003, review of Life al Dente: Laughter and Love in an Italian American Family, p. 652.

Kliatt, September, 1995, p. 9; May, 1996, p. 6.

Library Journal, June 15, 1982, "Protests Force N.J. Library to Cancel Author Talk," p. 1164; August, 1982, "New Jersey LA Deplores Board Cave-in under Pressure," p. 1366.

Publishers Weekly, March 26, 1982, review of Pagan Babies and Other Catholic Memories, p. 67; September 12, 1986, review of Mother's Little Helper, p. 83; November 14, 1994, p. 70; April 14, 2003, review of Pagan Babies and Other Catholic Memories, p. 66; June 9, 2003, review of Life al Dente, p. 47.

School Library Journal, April, 1995, p. 150.

Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), September 13, 1996, Michele Howe, "'Twisted Sisters' Spin Scary Tales," p. 65; September 18, 2003, Patricia Turner, "A Warm, Humorous Look at an Ethnic Experience," p. 2.

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