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Casey, Tina 1959-

CASEY, Tina 1959-


PERSONAL: Born March 7, 1959, in Philadelphia, PA; daughter of Henry Harrison (a medical educator and researcher) and Paula (an art educator; maiden name, Rosenblatt) Finck; married Edward Charles Casey (in sales), 1985; children: Thomas Henry, Paulina May. Education: Columbia University School of General Studies, B.A., 1985. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Music, art.

ADDRESSES: Home and offıce—93 Ashwood Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901.


CAREER: Author. New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, New York, NY, researcher, 1985-87, Department of Environmental Protection, deputy director of public affairs, 1987-90. Freelance writer, 1990—, including public-affairs materials for Overlook Hospital, Summit, NJ. Member, board of directors, Summit, NJ, Junior Baseball League, 2001—.


AWARDS, HONORS: Creating Extraordinary Beads from Ordinary Materials included on New York City Public Library's 1999 list of 1,000 Best Books for Teenagers.


WRITINGS:


Creating Extraordinary Beads from Ordinary Materials, North Light Books (Cincinnati, OH), 1997.

Fabulous Fashion Doll Clothing You Can Make, North Light Books (Cincinnati, OH), 1999.

The Runaway Valentine (picture book), illustrated by Theresa Smythe, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2001.


WORK IN PROGRESS: The Underground Gators, a picture book about alligators living in the New York City sewers, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, for Dutton.


SIDELIGHTS: Tina Casey told CA: "I started writing fiction in my mid-twenties, thinking I was a serious writer who wrote serious stories. But they were no fun to write and nobody wanted to publish them. Fortunately, it wasn't long before I had children and they quickly convinced me that my true destiny was to be a serious goof, and write funny tales for children. This is a great excuse to do all the stuff I loved when I was a kid: explore the woods behind school, dig for worms, play music and do art projects, watch movies that star talking animals, and go bike riding and horseback riding. It's all research!"

Casey's first published picture book for children is The Runaway Valentine. In this story, illustrated with cut-paper illustrations by Theresa Smythe, a very fancy valentine who thinks too highly of himself brings about his own downfall, literally. This valentine, designed to play twenty love songs with the push of a button, is so certain that everyone will want to buy him that he elbows his way to the front of the card rack and in so doing falls out of the rack and onto the floor. It's not long before he's out in the street, being used to scoop a marble out of a puddle, having a phone number scribbled on his back, and even being tucked into a shoe. When there's nothing much left but the glittery cardboard that was the foundation for all his glamour, a little girl picks him up and incorporates him into a handmade valentine she gives to her grandmother. Finally, his true value is recognized. For a contributor to Publishers Weekly, this valentine's ultimate vindication is one that all those who humbly make their own Valentine's Day cards may share.

Casey's first two books are also a celebration of the handmade. Her first, Creating Extraordinary Beads from Ordinary Materials, details how to make beads from such items as paper, yarn, cloth, and glue. "Casey's beads are often humorous items . . . and finished off with clear nail polish," remarked a contributor to Library Journal. Glue plays a vital role in Casey's second book, Fabulous Fashion Doll Clothing You Can Make, which Booklist reviewer Barbara Jacobs dubbed "a one-trick pony with infinite adaptations." Here, Casey instructs readers how to make doll clothing of every kind—the book contains sixty-five full-color examples—using cloth scraps or castoff clothing and glue instead of a sewing machine.

Casey offered the following advice for young writers: "An aspiring writer is really just a writer aspiring to get published. The only hard part is to keep on being a writer long enough for somebody to publish something. For me, that meant constantly writing new stories (not reworking one story) and sending them out, and only allowing myself five minutes on an egg timer to feel bad about a rejection slip. It's all worth it once you open that book and see yourself looking back from the inside flap."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


periodicals


Arts and Activities, October, 2000, Ivan E. Johnson, review of Creating Extraordinary Beads from Ordinary Materials, p. 12.

Booklist, April 1, 1999, Barbara Jacobs, review of Fabulous Fashion Doll Clothing You Can Make, p. 1377.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2001, review of TheRunaway Valentine, p. 1287.

Library Journal, October 15, 1997, Constance Ashmore Fairchild, review of Creating Extraordinary Beads from Ordinary Materials, p. 60.

Publishers Weekly, October 1, 2001, review of TheRunaway Valentine, p. 61.

School Library Journal, November, 2001, Debbie Stewart, review of The Runaway Valentine, p. 112.

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