Crimi, Carolyn 1959-
Crimi, Carolyn 1959-
PERSONAL: Born December 28, 1959, in Long Island, NY; married Alfonso Segreti. Education: Lake Forest College, B.A., 1982; Vermont College, M.F.A., 2000. Hobbies and other interests: Eating chocolate, watching I Love Lucy reruns, being outdoors, reading, drawing, napping with her dog Emerson.
ADDRESSES: Home and office— Evanston, IL. E-mail— [email protected]
CAREER: Writer. Teaches courses on children’s writing.
MEMBER: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (Illinois chapter).
AWARDS, HONORS: Best of the Best selection, Chicago Public Library, 1999, Kentucky Bluegrass Award for Best Picture Book, 2001, and Midland Author’s Best Children’s Fiction award runner-up, all for Don’t Need Friends; Read-Aloud Books Too Good to Miss selection, Association for Indiana Media Educators, 2005, for Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies.
Outside, Inside, illustrated by Linnea Asplind Riley, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1995.
Don’t Need Friends, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1999.
Tessa’s Tip-Tapping Toes, illustrated by Marsha Gray Carrington, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.
Get Busy, Beaver!, illustrated by Janie Bynum, Orchard (New York, NY), 2004.
Boris and Bella, illustrated by Gris Grimly, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.
Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, illustrated by John Manders, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 2005.
The Louds Move In, illustrated by Regan Dunnick, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2006.
Kidding around Chicago: What to Do, Where to Go, and How to Have Fun in Chicago, J. Muir (Santa Fe, NM), 1998.
Ribbee Dibbee Doo, illustrated by Barry Gott, Women’s Board of Ravinia Festival (Highland Park, IL), 2003.
Contributor of short fiction to Highlights for Children. Author, under house pseudonym R.L. Stine, of two novels in “Ghosts of Fear Street” series. Also author, with Andrea Beaty and Julia Durango, of Three Silly Chicks blog at www.threesillychicks.com.
SIDELIGHTS: Carolyn Crimi always knew she wanted to write children’s books, and as a child she got a head start on this dream by giving original, self-illustrated stories to family members as gifts. As an author, Crimi is best known for creating silly picture books that feature characters ranging from a grouchy rat and dancing mouse to a gang of buccaneer bunnies. “I love writing humorous stories the most, I suppose because I find them easier to write,” Crimi told Cynthia Leitich Smith in an interview on Smith’s Cynsations Web site.
Crimi’s first published children’s book, Outside, Inside, finds a young girl comparing the cozy world inside her home to the rainy day outside her window. “Rainy days were my sanctuary,” Crimi recalled to Smith. “I could stay inside without being pushed out the door. I still love rainy days for this reason.” According to a critic for Publishers Weekly, “Crimi’s inventive use of language adds lyricism and sparkle” to Outside, Inside, and in Horn Book, Lolly Robinson wrote that the “poetic text vividly evokes sounds and atmosphere.”
In Don’t Need Friends, Rat feels alone after his best friend moves away from the garbage dump. Although the grouchy rodent decides that, to avoid a similar hurt, he does not need anyone, when grumpy Dog moves in, the pair find they are two of a kind, and when Dog gets sick Rat comes to the rescue. Jennifer M. Brabander, writing in Horn Book, noted that Crimi successfully captures the meaning of friendship in a text that “neatly avoids sentimentality,” while a Publishers Weekly critic dubbed Don’t Need Friends a “slyly funny and deeply touching story.”
Tessa’s Tip-Tapping Toes introduces Tessa, a mouse who cannot keep from dancing, despite her mother’s warnings. Fortunately, another resident of the house, a cat named Oscar, is more singer than hunter, and although he tries to muffle his yowls, his greatest wish is to sing. When cat and mouse meet, their artistic impulses enliven the entire household. Shelle Rosen-feld, reviewing Tessa’s Tip-Tapping Toes for Booklist, wrote that Crimi’s “bouncy, alliterative prose celebrates the joys of creative self-expression.” In Kirkus Reviews a contributor noted the “expressive, rollicking language” used by the author, and in Publishers Weekly a critic praised the book’s “snappy prose.”
Like Tessa’s Tip-Tapping Toes, Get Busy, Beaver! celebrates creativity. Thelonious Beaver is not interested in the work other beavers do; instead, he builds things his own way, and teaches his fellow beavers to enjoy the world around them. A Kirkus Reviews contributor found the book to be “a charming salute to the creative dreamers of the world,” while Rachel G. Payne cited Crimi’s story as “an enjoyable read-aloud with a valuable message” in her in School Library Journal review.
In Boris and Bella, a very messy monster named Bella LeGrossi lives next door to a very tidy monster named Boris Kleanitoff. The Fiendish neighbors argue endlessly, until a wild Halloween party brings them together. As a School Library Journal reviewer stated, Crimi’s picture book serves as “a bewitching choice for libraries looking to boost their Halloween offerings.”
Henry comes to the rescue of his father’s rascally pirate crew in Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, a picture book that has been honored with several state award nominations. Unlike the other pirates, Henry enjoys reading, and wants to spend his time curled up and reading a book. Fortunately, when the pirate crew runs into trouble, Henry’s book-learned knowledge saves the day. Todd Morning, reviewing the picture book for Booklist, praised the humorous illustrations by John Manders and noted that, while “a story on the joys and usefulness of reading is nothing new,. . . the funny Buccaneer Bunnies should provide some interest.”
Another humorous title by Crimi focuses on a quiet neighborhood that is disrupted by noisy new neighbors. In The Louds Move In!, a community’s quiet-loving residents are poised to complain, but when the energetic Loud family suddenly leaves, their neighbors are left wondering if quiet is all its cracked up to be. “Warmth and good humor abound in this satisfying tale,” wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor, and Martha V. Parravano concluded in her Horn Book review that Crimi’s “crowd pleaser has it all.”
Smith asked Crimi why she writes for children. “The children’s books themselves inspired me to write for children,” the author answered. “I spent so many hours reading books. I remember desperately wishing that I could crawl inside them. I guess writing children’s books is a way for me to do just that.” As Crimi told Kelsey Kirkpatrick for the Medill News Service, she is more than happy with her career choice. “I’ll be in the grave and still coming up with ideas. I really hope I’m still doing it when I’m ninety.”
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Booklist, June 1, 1995, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Outside, Inside, p. 1784; November 15, 1999, Hazel Rochman, review of Don’t Need Friends, p. 634; March 1, 2002, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Tessa’s Tip-Tapping Toes, p. 1140; January 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Boris and Bella, p. 868; December 1, 2005, Todd Morning, review of Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, p. 52.
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, June, 2006, Maggie Hommel, review of The Louds Move In!, p. 448.
Childhood Education, winter, 2002, Liane Troy, review of Tessa’s Tip-Tapping Toes, p. 109.
Horn Book, September-October, 1995, Lolly Robinson, review of Outside, Inside, p. 587; November, 1999, Jennifer M. Brabander, review of Don’t Need Friends, p. 728; May-June, 2006, Martha V. Parravano, review of The Louds Move In!, p. 293.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2002, review of Tessa’s Tip-Tapping Toes, p. 102; August 15, 2004, review of Boris and Bella, p. 804; October 1, 2004, review of Get Busy, Beaver!, p. 958; September 1, 2005, review of Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, p. 971; February 15, 2006, review of The Louds Move In!, p. 180.
Publishers Weekly, April 17, 1995, review of Outside, Inside, p. 56; November 8, 1999, review of Don’t Need Friends, p. 67; December 3, 2001, review of Tessa’s Tip-Tapping Toes, p. 59; August 9, 2004, review of Boris and Bella, p. 248; March 13, 2006, review of The Louds Move In!, p. 64.
School Library Journal, September, 2004, Donna Cardon, review of Boris and Bella, p. 156; November, 2004, Rachel G. Payne, review of Get Busy, Beaver!, p. 96; November, 2005, Lisa S. Schindler, review of Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, p. 89; May, 2006, JoAnn Jonas, review of The Louds Move In!, p. 85.
Carolyn Crimi Home Page, http://www.carolyncrimi.com (January 10, 2007).
Cynsations, http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/ (September 10, 2005), Cynthia Leitich Smith, interview with Crimi.
Medill News Servicehttp://mesh.medill.northwestern.edu/ (October 8, 2004), Kelsey Kirkpatrick, interview with Crimi.
Random House Web site, http://www.randomhouse.com/ (January 10, 2007), “Carolyn Crimi.”
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: Illinois Web site, http://www.scbwi-illinois/ (January 10, 2007), “Carolyn Crimi.”