Cuyler, Margery S(tuyvesant) 1948-

views updated

CUYLER, Margery S(tuyvesant) 1948-

(Daisy Wallace)

PERSONAL: Born December 31, 1948, in Princeton, NJ; daughter of Lewis Baker (a banker) and Margery Papperrell (Merrill) Cuyler; married John Newman Hewson Perkins (a psychoanalyst), August 23, 1979; children: Thomas, Timothy. Education: Sarah Lawrence College, B.A., 1970. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Jungian psychology, mythology.

ADDRESSES: Home—261 Fillow St., West Norwalk, CT 06850. Office—Holiday House, 18 East 53rd St., New York, NY 10022. Agent—McIntosh & Otis, Inc., 475 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10017. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER: Editor, publishing executive, and children's book author. Atlantic Monthly Press, Boston, MA, assistant to editor of children's books, 1970-71; Walker and Co., New York, NY, editor of children's books, 1972-74; Holiday House, New York, NY, vice president and editor-in-chief of children's books, 1974-95. Lecturer at Rutgers University, 1974, New School for Social Research, 1975, and Vassar College, 1984. Member of board of trustees, Sarah Lawrence College Library.

MEMBER: Women's National Book Association (member, board of directors of Children's Book Council, 1980-82).



Jewish Holidays, illustrations by Lisa C. Wesson, Holt (New York, NY), 1978.

The All-Around Pumpkin Book, illustrations by Corbett Jones, Holt (New York, NY), 1980.

The All-Around Christmas Book, illustrations by Corbett Jones, Holt (New York, NY), 1982.

The Trouble with Soap, illustrations by Marcia Winborn, Dutton (New York, NY), 1984.

Sir William and the Pumpkin Monster, illustrations by Marcia Winbarn, Holt (New York, NY), 1984.

Rufus and Max: A Valentine Story, Holt (New York, NY), 1985.

Freckles and Willie, Holt (New York, NY), 1986.

Fat Santa, Holt (New York, NY), 1987.

Shadow's Baby, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Weird Wolf, Holt (New York, NY), 1989.

Baby Dot, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Daisy's Crazy Thanksgiving, Holt (New York, NY), 1990.

That's Good! That's Bad!, Holt (New York, NY), 1991.

The Christmas Snowman, Arcade (New York, NY), 1992.

Buddy Bear and the Bad Guys, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Invisible in the Third Grade, Holt (New York, NY), 1995.

The Biggest, Best Snowman, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

The Battlefield Ghost, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

From Here to There, Holt (New York, NY), 1999.

100th Day Worries, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

Road Signs: A Harey Race with a Tortoise, Winslow Press, 2000.

Stop, Drop, and Roll: A Book about Fire Safety and Prevention, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.

Ah-Choo!, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

That's Good! That's Bad! in the Grand Canyon, Holt (New York, NY), 2002.

Skeleton Hiccups, Margaret K. McElderry (New York, NY), 2002.

Big Friends, illustrations by Ezra Tucker, Walker (New York, NY), 2004.

Please Say Please! Penguin's Guide to Manners, illustrations by Will Hilldenbrand, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2004.


Monster Poems, illustrations by Kay Chorao, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1976.

Witch Poems, illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1976.

Giant Poems, illustrations by Margot Tomes, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1978.

Ghost Poems, illustrations by Tomie De Paola, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1979.

Fairy Poems, illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1980.

SIDELIGHTS: Margery S. Cuyler has written many children's books. As she explained in an essay posted at her Web site, "I have always written stories, ever since I learned how to write. My creative and wacky family, most of whom are artists, actors, storytellers, and writers, helped me along. My childhood was never dull. I grew up in the oldest house in Princeton, New Jersey, with three brothers and one sister. There were also four cousins who lived with us after their mother died. Computers weren't invented yet and we didn't buy a television until I was eight years old. Most of my childhood was spent playing Charades, Hide-and-Go-Seek, Monopoly, and Chess with my siblings and cousins. We also wrote and performed plays. My parents read aloud to us every night."

Cuyler's books range from realistic depictions of children's lives to fantasy tales told for amusement. In the realistic story 100th Day Worries, young Jessica and her classmates are asked to bring in a collection of one hundred items to celebrate one hundred days of school. While the other children bring in their collections, Jessica cannot imagine what she should do. Finally, her family gives her one hundred small items to help her out, something that her teacher explains as being one hundred "bits of love." A critic for Publishers Weekly found that Cuyler's "tight text keeps the story moving apace."

The traditional story of the race between the tortoise and the hare is rekindled in Cuyler's Roadsigns: A Harey Race with a Tortoise. In Cuyler's version, the signs along the road are the key to the plot. The confident hare disregards their warnings about road repairs, falling rocks, and other hazards. But the tortoise pays attention, avoids the time-wasting detours, and wins the race. Michael Cart in Booklist explained that most of the story is told "almost entirely in the words of the signs that appear throughout the course of the race." Louise L. Sherman in School Library Journal concluded that "Roadsigns will provide reading practice, sign recognition, and good fun for both one-on-one sharing and independent reading."

Cuyler's Skeleton Hiccups tells of a skeleton with such a bad case of annoying hiccups that he is driven from his grave in search of a cure. Helpful suggestions from a ghost friend are ineffectual; when the skeleton drinks water, for example, it simply splashes out of him. John Peters in Booklist noted that "Cuyler establishes a strong, infectious rhythm by sandwiching a 'hic hic hic' between each three- or four-word line." Piper L. Nyman in School Library Journal believed that "this book will be a treat for children who can laugh at the slightly macabre."

Cuyler once told CA: "I like to write about holiday themes because it's important for children in the United States to explore traditions and to learn about the roots of our polygenetic culture."



Booklist, December 1, 2000, Michael Cart, review of Roadsigns: A Harey Race with a Tortoise, p. 717; September 15, 2001, Annie Ayres, review of Stop, Drop, and Roll, p. 230; September 15, 2002, John Peters, review of Skeleton Hiccups, p. 245.

Horn Book, September-October, 2002, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Skeleton Hiccups, p. 549.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2002, review of That's Good! That's Bad! in the Grand Canyon, p. 408.

Language Arts, November, 2002, review of Stop, Drop, and Roll, pp. 148-149.

Publishers Weekly, December 13, 1999, review of 100th Day Worries, p. 81; July 10, 2000, review of Roadsigns, p. 62.

Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO), February 13, 2000, review of 100th Day Worries, p. 4E.

School Library Journal, December, 1999, Beth Wright, review of The Battlefield Ghost, p. 90; January, 2000, Lisa Gangemi Krapp, review of 100th Day Worries, p. 93; September, 2000, Louise L. Sherman, review of Roadsigns, p. 193; October, 2001, Roxanne Burg, review of Stop, Drop, and Roll, p. 113; June, 2002, Marian Drabkin, review of That's Good! That's Bad! in the Grand Canyon, p. 92; October, 2002, Piper L. Nyman, review of Skeleton Hiccups, p. 100.


Margery Cuyler Web site, (November 7, 2003).*