Knudsen, Michelle

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Knudsen, Michelle


Education: Attended Cornell University. Hobbies and other interests: Movies, science fiction and fantasy books, acting in community theater.


Home—Brooklyn, NY.


Random House (publisher), New York, NY, former editorial assistant; managing editor for an educational resources company.


School Library Journal's Best Books of 2006, and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 2007 Platinum Award, both for Library Lion.



Angel Babies, illustrated by Jane Maday, Random House (New York, NY), 1998.

Old MacDonald's Farm, illustrated by Kathy Rusynyk, Random House (New York, NY), 1998.

(Adapter) Raymond Briggs' The Snowman, illustrated by Maggie Downer, Random House (New York, NY), 1999.

(Reteller) Noah's Ark, illustrated by Christopher Santoro, Random House (New York, NY), 1999.

Love, illustrated by Amanda Haley, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2001.

Merry Christmas, illustrated by Kathy Couri, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2001.

Happy Halloween, illustrated by Rusty Fletcher, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2001.

Colorful Chameleons, illustrated by Bryn Barnard, Random House (New York, NY), 2001.

Cat Hat, illustrated by Amanda Haley, Golden Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Valentine's Day, illustrated by Sue Heap, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2001.

Autumn Is for Apples, illustrated by Denise and Fernando, Random House (New York, NY), 2001.

Dinosaur Days, illustrated by Dave Garbot, Golden Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Hit or Myth, illustrated by Michelle Knudsen, Golden Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Easter Basket, illustrated by Dawn Apperley, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2002.

Easter Egg, illustrated by Dawn Apperley, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2002.

Princess Party, illustrated by Bethann Thornburgh, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2003.

Winter Is for Snowflakes, illustrated by Denise Fraifeld, Random House (New York, NY), 2003.

Happy Easter, illustrated by Salina Yoon, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2003.

Fairy Friends, illustrated by Bethann Thornburgh, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2003.

The Case of Vampire Vivian, illustrated by Amy Wummer, Kane Press (New York, NY), 2003.

A Slimy Story, illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye, Kane Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Mother's Day Ribbons, illustrated by John Wallace, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2005.

Fish and Frog, illustrated by Valeria Petrone, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

Carl the Complainer, illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler, Kane Press (New York, NY), 2005.

Hearts & Kisses, illustrated by Janee Trasler, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.

A Moldy Mystery, illustrated by Barry Gott, Kane Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Library Lion, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Also author of the Michelle Knudsen Web log. Contributor to periodicals. Editor of the "Junie B. Jones" series by Barbara Park.


Michelle Knudsen, the author of numerous children's books, explained in an interview on the Cynsation Web log how she became interested in writing for young readers. Knudsen noted that she first became exposed to children's books while working as an editorial assistant in the children's division at Random House: ‘I thought working in children's books would be a fun job, and it was—but it also turned out to be a really good fit for me as a young writer. I started writing board books and beginning readers while I worked there, and eventually realized that I liked writing children's books even more than I liked editing them."

Knudsen has gone on to write coloring and activity books, board books, beginning readers, and picture books. Cat Hat, illustrated by Amanda Haley, features Ralph the cat, who lives in the city park and is looking for a good place to nap in the winter cold. As he searches for a place to sleep, Ralph encounters dogs and a doting mother who chase him from his chosen spots until he finds a place on top of a bald man's head, serving as a ‘cat hat.’ Booklist critic Gillian Engberg called the story ‘basic but winning."

Many of Knudsen's books contain a strong educational component as children learn about everything from animals to molds. In The Case of Vampire Vivian, Knudsen tells the story of a girl nicknamed ‘Vampire Vivian’ by her classmates because of her love of bats. When many bats start appearing in the neighborhood, Vivian's classmates learn that Vivian has put a bat house in her backyard. As illustrated by Amy Wummer, Vivian wears appropriate bat apparel, including a bat-winged hairdo. Young readers learn about bats through the story and through boxed facts about bats. Erlene Bishop Killeen predicted in the School Library Journal that The Case of Vampire Vivian ‘will appeal to beginning readers."

A Slimy Story is illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye and introduces young readers to the life of worms. The story features young Dan, who wants to get his mother something for her birthday but has no money. After his brother finds a worm and takes it to school, the children begin to learn about worms, and Dan decides they would be a good gift for his gardening mother. Gina Powell, writing in the School Library Journal, called A Slimy Story ‘a smooth blend of science and story."

According to School Library Journal contributor Melinda Piehler, Fish and Frog ‘pairs simple sentences with distinct visual clues’ as children read the story and learn about fish and frogs. Illustrated by Valeria Petrone, the book is for beginning readers and offers tips on reading, both for children and for parents to help their children learn to read better. A Moldy Mystery, illustrated by Barry Gott, finds Jeff cleaning up the bedroom he shares with his messy older brother, Wayne, who has gone off to camp. After throwing out containers filled with mold that Jeff finds under Wayne's bed, Jeff discovers that the containers are part of his older brother's science project. Jeff and a friend try to reproduce the mold before Wayne comes home and must learn all about molds and what foods grow mold to complete the task. Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman noted that ‘the end of the story is a real surprise."

Knudsen's award-winning Library Lion was also a New York Times and Publishers Weekly best seller. It was called a ‘winsome pairing of text and illustration [that] is a natural for storytime’ by School Library Journal contributor Kathy Krasniewicz. Gillian Engberg remarked in Booklist that the book has ‘an appealing premise.’ The story, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, revolves around a lion who decides to live in the local library. He is soon helping out in various ways, such as letting children stand on his back to reach books and dusting the shelves with his tail. While one of the librarians, Miss Merriweather, does not think having a lion in the library breaks any rules, the other librarian, Mr. McBee, does not think the lion belongs. When the lion lets out a roar one day to call for help after Miss Merriweather has an accident, he leaves because he broke the rule of silence. Soon, however, everyone begins to miss the lion, including Mr. McBee. BookPage contributor Lynn Beckwith called Library Lion a ‘delightful picture book about rule breaking and friendship that is sure to please readers and librarians everywhere,’ adding that ‘the story is amusing and captivating.’ A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author's ‘gentle tale of a revered yet welcoming community destination will ring true for many readers."



Booklist, July, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Cat Hat, p. 2023; April 15, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of A Moldy Mystery, p. 52; August 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Library Lion, p. 88.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2006, review of Library Lion, p. 789.

Library Media Connection, November 1, 2005, Laurie Slagenwhite, review of Fish and Frog, p. 63; January 2007, Anne Hanson, review of Library Lion, p. 68.

New York Times Book Review, January 14, 2007, Julie Just, ‘Bookshelf,’ includes review of Library Lion, p. 17.

Publishers Weekly, September 4, 2006, review of Library Lion, p. 66.

School Library Journal, January, 2004, Erlene Bishop Killeen, review of The Case of Vampire Vivian, p. 100; January, 2005, Gina Powell, review of A Slimy Story, p. 95; August, 2005, Melinda Piehler, review of Fish and Frog, p. 98; August, 2006, Kathy Krasniewicz, review of Library Lion, p. 91.


BookPage, (October 28, 2007), Lynn Beckwith, review of Library Lion.

Cynsation Web log, (October 16, 2006), ‘Author Interview: Michelle Knudsen on Library Lion."

Live Oak Public Library Web site, (October 28, 2007), brief profile of Michelle Knudsen.

Michelle Knudsen Home Page. (October 28, 2007).

Michelle Knudsen Web log, (October 28, 2007).