Frankel, Alona 1937-

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FRANKEL, Alona 1937-

PERSONAL: Born June 27, 1937, in Cracow, Poland; immigrated to Israel, 1949; daughter of Solomon and Gusta (Gruber) Goldman; married Zygmunt Frankel (an engineer, painter, and writer), 1958; children: Ari Shlomo, Michael. Education: Attended Avni Art Academy, Tel-Aviv, 1953-55.

ADDRESSES: Home—4 Nathan St., Ramat-Gan 52450, Israel. Offıce—c/o Child Matters, 155 Beech St., Boston, MA 02131-2714. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Graphic designer and illustrator, 1955—; author and illustrator of children's books, 1975—. Exhibitions in Israel and abroad. Military service: Israeli Air Force Intelligence, sergeant, 1955-57.

AWARDS, HONORS: Children's book illustration award, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1979; Israel Export Institute children's book awards, 1975, 1977, and 1979; International Board on Books for Young People Honor List, 1982; If Mother Were an Elephant and The Child's Prayer exhibited at Bologna International Children's Book Fair, 1985; Please Touch Book Award honorable mention, Please Touch Museum for Children, 1986, for Hello, Clouds!


self-illustrated children's books; original publication in hebrew

Once upon a Potty, Massada (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1975, translation published in two volumes as Once upon a Potty: His, Barron's Educational (Woodbury, NY), 1980, and Once upon a Potty: Hers, Barron's Educational, 1984, published as Once upon a Potty—Boy and Once upon a Potty—Girl, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2002.

The Family of Tiny White Elephants, Massada (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1978, translation, Barron's Educational (Woodbury, NY), 1980.

The Goodnight Book, Massada (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1979, translation published as Prudence's Goodnight Book, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2000.

Let's Go from Head to Toe, Massada (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1979.

Angela, the Little Devil, Zmora Bitan (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1979.

One, Two, Three, What Can a Mushroom Be?, Zmora Bitan (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1980.

A Book to Eat By, Massada (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1980.

A True Story, Massada (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1981.

The Clothes We Wear, Massada (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1983, translation published as Joshua's Book of Clothes, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2000.

The Moon Book, Zmora Bitan (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1983, translation published as The Moon and the Stars, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2000.

The Book of Numbers, Zmora Bitan (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1983, published as Joshua's Counting Book, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2000.

The Book of Letters, Zmora Bitan (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1983.

The Princess of Dreams, Massada (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1984.

A Fairy Tale, Zmora Bitan (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1985.

There Is No One Like Mother, Am Oved (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1985.

The Ship and the Island, Keter (Jerusalem, Israel), 1985.

The Princess and the Caterpillar, Keter (Jerusalem, Israel), 1987.

A Lullaby, Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel), 1987.

One Day . . . (counting book), Massada (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1990.

From Armadillo to Octopus (Hebrew alphabet), Massada (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1990.

The Book of Manners, Keter (Jerusalem, Israel), 1990, translation published as Joshua's Book of Manners, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2000.

I Want My Mother, Keter (Jerusalem, Israel), 1990, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2000.

"A Book to Babysit By," Steimatzky (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1991, translation published as Prudence's Baby-Sitter Book, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2000.

On Grandparents' Farm, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 1996.

(With son, Ari Frankel) The Ocean of Love, Baby Matters (New York, NY), 1996.

Prudence's Book of Food, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2000.

Prudence's Get Well Book, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2000.

Many of Frankel's books have been translated into other languages, including Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, German, Japanese, Yiddish, and Arabic.


Greer Fay Cashman, Jewish Days and Holidays, Massada (Tel-Aviv, Israel), 1976, SBS, 1979.

Dalia Hardof Renberg, Hello, Clouds!, Harper (New York, NY), 1985.

Maggie Rennert, I Love You, Adama Books (New York, NY), 1987.

Also illustrator of If Mother Were an Elephant and of The Child's Prayer, edited by Dvora Hacohen, Am Oved.

ADAPTATIONS: Once upon a Potty was adapted for video and as an audiobook.

SIDELIGHTS: By writing a small children's book that she illustrated herself, Israeli author Alona Frankel filled a niche that was open virtually all over the world. The book was Once upon a Potty, and Frankel's sensitive illustrations and gentle text created a toilet-training classic. Frequently reprinted, with an estimated 400,000 copies sold in the United States alone, Once upon a Potty depicts the uncertainty young children feel as they approach the milestone of toilet-training, and the success they celebrate when they accomplish their goal.

The popularity of Once upon a Potty has led to the English translation and U.S. publication of a number of Frankel's books, many of which feature the characters Joshua and Prudence. Among these titles are Joshua's Book of Clothes, Prudence's Baby-Sitter Book, and On Grandparents' Farm. Reviewing Joshua's Book of Clothes in School Library Journal, Wendy S. Carroll noted that Frankel's "soft, colorful illustrations" will prove attractive to young readers and "correspond well to the ideas presented" in the book's storyline.

Frankel once commented: "I spent the war years as a child in Cracow, Poland, first in the Lvov ghetto with my parents, then alone in hiding in a small village, and finally with my parents in Lvov again. I have lived in Israel since 1949. After school, compulsory army service, and art studies, I married Zygmunt Frankel, an artist and writer. We have two sons, Ari, a composer, and Michael, a naval cadet.

"I have been drawing and painting ever since I can remember. My other great passion, ever since I learned to read (very early), has been literature and, in due time, this combination led to book illustration. Writing my own texts came later, when Michael was still a baby, and I made up and illustrated a story for him, Once upon a Potty. It was published by Massada in 1975, became an instant and lasting bestseller in Israel, and has since been translated into nine other languages. . . . This encouraged further books, some of them based on ideas which I had for a long time.

"I always start a new book by writing the story, which may take from a few days to a few years, concentrating on the text only. When the text is finished, I let it rest for a while (sometimes quite long) and only then begin to work on the illustrations, presenting the book to the publisher in a completely finished form.

"During all the stages of my work I try very hard to keep open the channels to my own childhood. I do not seek outside opinion, advice, or approval of educators, psychologists, publishers, parents, or even children. Although children differ from grown-ups in their size, experience, and dependence, I give them full credit as final judges of my books. I believe that my books reflect my liberal attitudes, the right to a freedom of choice, dislike of indoctrination, and a certain amount of anarchistic humor which, in my opinion, is the best—and sometimes the only—defense against the troubles that befall grown-ups and children alike.

"When illustrating a text, I try to make the style fit the subject and the mood of the book, which occasionally calls for a change of medium or technique (colored pencils, watercolor, gouache, acrylics on canvas, pastel, collage, and various mixed techniques). In spite of some occasional periods of hesitation and doubt, some short and some long, I am happy at my work and am always proud and a little surprised when it is appreciated."



Publishers Weekly, October 10, 1980, Jean F. Mercier, review of The Family of Tiny White Elephants, p. 73.

School Library Journal, March, 1987, p. 153; January, 2001, Wendy S. Carroll, reviews of Joshua's Book of Clothes and Prudence's Baby-Sitter Book, p. 99; June, 2001, Lisa Falk, review of On Grandparents' Farm, p. 113.


Alona Frankel Web site, (November 5, 2003).*