Palatini, Margie

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PALATINI, Margie

PERSONAL:

Born in Edison, NJ; married; children: Jamie (son). Education: Moore College of Art and Design, B.F.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Plainfield, NJ. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Children's writer and illustrator. Co-owner of interior design business.

AWARDS, HONORS:

American Library Association (ALA) Notable Book designation, National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Notable Trade Book in Language Arts designation, Pennsylvania Keystone State Reading Award, Kentucky Bluegrass Children's Book Award, Vermont Red Clover Award, Kansas Reading Association's Bill Martin, Jr., Picture-Book Award, Colorado Children's Choice Book Award, Florida Reading Association Award Honor designation, Nebraska Golden Sower Award honor designation, California Young Readers' Medal nomination, Washington Children's Choice nomination, Ohio Buckeye Award nomination, and Georgia Children's Book Award nomination, all c. 1995, all for Piggie Pie!; Indiana Young Hoosier Award nomination, 1995, for Piggie Pie!, 2002, for Bedhead, 2003, for The Web Files, and 2003, for Earthquack!; International Reading Association Children's Choice designation, 1997, for Moosetache, 1998, for Zak's Lunch, 2000, for Good as Goldie, and 2004, for Stinky Smelly Feet and The Perfect Pet; Bank Street College Irma S. and James H. Black Award, 1998, for Zak's Lunch; Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award nominee, and Wyoming Buckaroo Award nominee, both 1998, both for Zoom Broom; Pennsylvania Keystone State Reading Award, 2002, Golden Sower Award, 2003, and North Dakota Flicker Tale Award nominee, and M. Jerry Weiss Book Award nominee, both 2004, all for Bedhead; ALA Notable Book designation, 2002, Keystone State Reading Award, Maryland Black-eyed Susan Award, Colorado Children's Book Award nominee, North Carolina Children's Book Award nominee, Pennsylvania Young Readers Award nominee, Golden Sower Award nominee, and South Dakota Prairie Bud Award nominee, all 2003, and Michigan Great Lakes Great Books Award honor designation, 2004, all for The Web Files; New Hampshire Ladybug Picture Book Award nominee, 2004, for Tub-Boo-Boo; Georgia Picture Storybook Award nominee, Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award nominee, and Pennsylvania Young Readers Award nominee, all 2004, and Oregon Patricia Gallaher Picture Book Award nominee, 2005, all for Earthquack!; Children's Literature Choice, Missouri Show Me Book Award, Black-eyed Susan Award nominee, Kentucky Bluegrass Award nomination, all 2004, North Carolina Children's Book Award, 2005, and Pennsylvania Young Readers Award nominee, and Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award, both 2006, all for Bad Boys; Wyoming Buckaroo Award nominee, Flicker Tale Award nominee, and New Hampshire Ladybug Picture Book Award nominee, all 2005, all for Moo Who?; Chicago Public Library Best of the Best designation, 2005, and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, CCBC Choice designation, both 2006, all for Three French Hens; Florida Reading Association Award nominee, and North Carolina Children's Book Award nominee, both 2006, and Bill Martin, Jr., Picture Book Award nominee, 2007, all for The Three Silly Billies.

WRITINGS:

Piggy Pie!, illustrated by Howard Fine, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1995.

The Wonder Worm Wars, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1997.

Moosetache, illustrated by Henry Cole, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1997.

Zak's Lunch, illustrated by Howard Fine, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1998.

Elf Help, illustrated by Mike Reed, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1998.

Zoom Broom, illustrated by Howard Fine, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1998.

Ding Dong Ding Dong, illustrated by Howard Fine, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1999.

Lab Coat Girl in Cool Fuel, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1999.

Lab Coat Girl and the Amazing Benjamin Bone, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1999.

Mooseltoe, illustrated by Henry Cole, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2000.

Lab Coat Girl in My Triple-Decker Hero, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2000.

Bedhead, illustrated by Jack E. Davis, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2000.

(And illustrator) Good as Goldie, Hyperion Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2000.

The Web Files, illustrated by Richard Egielski, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2001.

Tub-Boo-Boo, illustrated by Glin Dibley, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2001.

(And illustrator) Goldie Is Mad, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2001.

Earthquack!, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2002.

The Perfect Pet, illustrated by Bruce Whatley, Harper-Collins Publishers (New York, NY), 2003.

Broom Mates, illustrated by Howard Fine, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2003.

Bad Boys, illustrated by Henry Cole, Harpercollins Children's Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Mary Had a Little Ham, illustrated by Guy Francis, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2003.

Moosekitos: A Moose Family Reunion, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2004.

Stinky Smelly Feet: A Love Story, illustrated by Ethan Long, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Moo Who?, illustrated by Keith Graves, Katherine Tegen Books (New York, NY), 2004.

The Sweet Tooth, illustrated by Jack E. Davis, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2004.

The Three Silly Billies, illustrated by Barry Moser, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.

Three French Hens, illustrated by Richard Egielski, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2005.

Oink?, illustrated by Henry Cole, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.

Shelly, illustrated by Guy Francis, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Bad Boys Get Cookie!, illustrated by Henry Cole, Katherine Tegen Books (New York, NY), 2006.

The Cheese, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, Katherine Tegen Books (New York, NY), 2007.

No Biting, Louise!, illustrated by Matthew Reinhart, Katherine Tegen Books (New York, NY), 2007.

SIDELIGHTS:

Margie Palatini is a highly regarded author of picture books for young readers whose humorous titles include Bad Boys, The Three Silly Billies, Zak's Lunch, Bedhead, and Oink? In praise of her work, critics especially note Palatini's use of offbeat humor, rhyme, and allusion; her "lively wordplay—in the form of puns, allusions, and wink-wink-nudge-nudge humor—ensure that, whatever the story, the reader or listener can be assured of a giggle-inducing ride," remarked Loretta M. Gaffney in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. "Palatini also propels sentence-level (and often, phrase-level) frolicking into satisfying arcs," Gaffney added, "giving old stories fresh twists and familiar characters new life, splicing genres together to create a whole that is more than the sum of its punny parts."

The Web Files features the characteristic trademarks of a popular book by Palatini. In this story, which is a parody of the 1960s television show Dragnet, two "ducktectives" try to "quack" cases that involve robberies on a farm. Fairytale characters abound; Little Boy Blue has an alibi that eliminates him as a potential suspect in a crime where the pilfered objects include, among other things, a peck of pickled peppers. Beloved by readers, The Web Files was named a notable book by the American Library Association and earned several state book awards.

Earthquack! is a takeoff on the Henny Penny warning that "the sky is falling," except that in this case, it is the ground that is rumbling. "Palatini's text is funny, with contemporary dialogue, puns, and a fast-paced narrative rich in rhythm and alliteration (but not overwhelmingly so)," noted School Library Journal contributor Carol L. MacKay. In Bad Boys—a spin-off of 'Little Red Riding Hood' and 'The Three Little Pigs'—Willy and Wally Wolf have escaped from the very angry pigs and Red and now disguise themselves as sheep by wearing "sheep's clothing." In this case, the sheep in question are wearing dresses, and so the wily wolves rename themselves Willimina and Wallanda and infiltrate the flock dressed in drag. All goes well until the shearer relieves them of their coats, leaving them knitting to cover their nakedness. According to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, the author's "flair for puns and arch repartee shines through every exchange." Palatini provides a fresh take on 'The Three Billy Goats Gruff' in The Three Silly Billies. In the work, a surly troll demands a fee from anyone who wishes to cross the wooden bridge he guards. Billy Bob, Billy Bo, and Just Plain Billy do not have the necessary funds, so they convince other travelers, including the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack the beanstalk climber, to pool their resources. "The sounds of the words and the puns … are as much fun as the quarrels," remarked Booklist critic Hazel Rochman.

The pig in Palatini's slightly askew fairy tale Mary Had a Little Ham is named Stanley. A talented porker, he begins a career on Broadway with the encouragement from his friend, Mary. This is another Palatini tale that may induce chuckles from adults in particular; in sly references, Stanley appears in classic productions such as Pork Chop on a Hot Tin Roof, the cast of which includes a voluptuous Liz Taylor-look-alike sow. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that Palatini "keeps the puns and jokes coming thick and fast, even as she keeps narrative tongue firmly in cheek."

A young girl tries every trick imaginable to convince her parents to buy her a furry friend in The Perfect Pet. Despite Elizabeth's best efforts, her parents resist the girl's suggestions to trade in her prickly cactus for something more cuddly, such as a dog, a horse, or even a rat. Then the youngster comes up with the ideal solution: adopting a bug that fits perfectly with the family on their living room couch. "Palatini is once again exercising her masterful grip on picture-book humor," noted a critic for Kirkus Reviews. In Broom Mates Gritch the witch—who also appears in Palatini's debut book Piggie Pie!, as well as in Zoom Broom—is busy throwing a "howliday" party. When her sister, Mag the Hag, shows up early, sibling rivalry ensues, sparking a witches' competition for the affection of their "mummy." Booklist writer Jennifer Mattson noted that Grinch and Mag favor fashion accessories that look like they may have come from country singer Dolly Parton's wardrobe and concluded that, "throughout, [the author's inclusion of] puns and witchy bons mots will carry children along on a comic tidal."

Palatini's Stinky Smelly Feet: A Love Story finds duck sweethearts Dolores and Douglas in love. Unfortunately, poor Dolores—as well as everyone else who comes in contact with her true love—keels over in the vicinity of Douglas and his feet. Their love survives, however, in spite of the smell. A Kirkus Reviews critic noted that Palatini "delivers her story with her usual sly, understated humor." The author's "characteristic exaggeration and outrageousness are in full swing in this goofy tale," wrote School Library Journal reviewer Marge Loch-Wouters, adding that the story will be especially enjoyed by kids "who delight in subversive humor."

In Moosekitos: A Moose Family Reunion the moose with the enormous moosetache—a character Palatini also features in Moosetache and Mooseltoe—summons his relatives from Moosechusetts and Moossissippi for a family reunion. Poor Moose cannot get them all to stay in one place long enough to take a family picture, however, because busy family members set out in all different directions from the lodge to hike, swim, and bike. "The puns are fun for confident readers, and work well when read aloud," noted Jane Barrer in School Library Journal. Featuring an anthropomorphosized bovine, Moo Who? finds Hilda Mae Heifer hit by a flying cow pie and knocked unconscious, only to wake up unable to recall what sound she is supposed to make. The other animals help her by giving Hilda hints, and it is the cat who finally returns the befuddled cow to normal, leaving the other animals running for earplugs. "Palatini maintains a simultaneously arch and familiar tone throughout, narrating like a daffy relative," wrote a contributor for Publishers Weekly. In The Sweet Tooth, Stewart has a molar with a life of its own. The tooth craves sweets at inappropriate times, and so Stewart punishes it by eating only vegetables until it gives up and falls out. Booklist contributor Todd Morning wrote that kids "are sure to enjoy this funny … look at the dangers of a sweet tooth enjoying unchecked power," while a Publishers Weekly critic deemed the book "a deliciously fly story that will likely satisfy a craving for lively fun."

Wily animals are the focus of many of Palatini's farmyard tales. A pair of slovenly pigs turn the tables on their barnyard neighbors in Oink? as, try as they might, they are unable to competently master the fine arts of house painting, harvesting, or shoveling, and end up being waited on by the other animals. Shelly concerns a young duckling who refuses to come out of his shell, despite the protestations of his three older sisters. Each sister attempts to coax Shelly outside by exhibiting her unique talent, but it is not until the siblings leave that the little fellow emerges, ready to engage in the quiet activities he loves. According to School Library Journal reviewer Robin L. Gibson, "this is a story for all children who march to a different drummer." Birds of another feather are the subject of Three French Hens, a "clever and original tale," in the words of a Kirkus Reviews writer. When Poulette, Colette, and Fifi get lost in the mail during the holidays, they wind up at the home of the bushy-tailed down-on-his-luck Phil Fox from the Bronx, who perks up with the thought that he has scored a free meal. As Horn Book reviewer Claire E. Gross stated: "This feel-good farce will leave readers speaking in French accents."

As her list of publications continues to grow, Palatini's works remain consistently popular with readers and critics alike. The reason is simple; as Gaffney explained: The popular author's "snort-worthy way with words puts puns, rhymes, and refrains to work in the service of narrative, using familiar hooks to snare readers in a refreshingly original whole."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

periodicals

Booklist, April 15, 1997, Lauren Peterson, review of Moosetache, p. 1436; October 1, 1998, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Zoom Broom, p. 336; September 1, 2000, Ilene Cooper, review of Mooseltoe, p. 134; May 1, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of The Web Files, p. 1690; September 1, 2001, Kathy Broderick, review of Tub-Boo-Boo, p. 117; July, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Earthquack!, p. 1860; July, 2003, Helen Rosenberg, review of The Perfect Pet, p. 1898; November 1, 2003, Jennifer Mattson, review of Broom Mates, p. 505; November 15, 2003, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Bad Boys, p. 602; December 15, 2003, Jennifer Mattson, review of Mary Had a Little Ham, p. 754; August 1, 2004, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Moosekitos: A Moose Family Reunion, p. 1944; September 1, 2004, Terry Glover, review of Moo Who?, p. 135; October 1, 2004, Todd Morning, review of The Sweet Tooth, p. 335; March 1, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of The Three Silly Billies, p. 1205; November 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Three French Hens, p. 41; February 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Shelly, p. 56; March 15, 2006, Kathleen Odean, review of Oink?, p. 53.

Horn Book, March-April, 1996, Ann A. Flowers, review of Piggie Pie, p. 189; May, 2000, review of The Web Files, p. 314; November-December, 2005, Claire E. Gross, review of Three French Hens, p. 695.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2002, review of Earthquack!, p. 664; March 15, 2003, review of The Perfect Pet, p. 475; June 15, 2003, review of Broom Mates, p. 862; August 1, 2003, review of Bad Boys, p. 1021; September 15, 2003, review of Mary Had a Little Ham, p. 1180; May 1, 2004, review of Stinky Smelly Feet: A Love Story, p. 446; May 15, 2004, review of Moo Who?, p. 496; June 1, 2004, review of Moosekitos, p. 539; August 1, 2004, review of The Sweet Tooth, p. 748; June 1, 2005, review of The Three Silly Billies, p. 642; November 1, 2005, review of Three French Hens, p. 1195; December 15, 2005, review of Shelly, p. 1326; August 15, 2006, review of Bad Boys Get Cookie, p. 849.

Publishers Weekly, March 3, 1997, review of Moosetache, p. 74; April 27, 1998, review of Zak's Lunch, p. 66; November 9, 1998, review of Zoom Broom, p. 76; September 13, 1999, review of Ding Dong Ding Dong, p. 83; May 14, 2001, review of The Web Files, p. 81; July 2, 2001, review of Goldie Is Mad, p. 78; August 20, 2001, review of Tub-Boo-Boo, p. 79; March 15, 2002, review of The Perfect Pet, p. 475; May 6, 2002, review of Earthquack!, p. 57; August 4, 2003, review of Broom Mates, p. 77; October 6, 2003, review of Bad Boys, p. 83, review of Mary Had a Little Ham, p. 84; April 26, 2004, review of Stinky Smelly Feet, p. 65; June 14, 2004, review of Moo Who?, p. 62; November 1, 2004, review of Sweet Tooth, p. 60; September 26, 2005, review of Three French Hens, p. 86; February 13, 2006, review of Shelly, p. 89.

School Library Journal, May, 2000, Shawn Brommer, review of Good as Goldie, p. 151; October, 2000, review of Mooseltoe, p. 62; April, 2001, Elaine Lesh Morgan, review of Lab Coat Girl in My Triple-Decker Hero, p. 148; July, 2001, Laura Scott, review of Goldie Is Mad, p. 86; October, 2001, Linda M. Kenton, review of Tub-Boo-Boo, p. 128; November, 2001, John Peters, review of The Web Files, p. 132; June, 2002, Carol L. MacKay, review of Earthquack!, p. 106; May, 2003, Marlene Gawron, review of The Perfect Pet, p. 128; September, 2003, Maryann H. Owen, review of Broom Mates, p. 186; November, 2003, Helen Foster Jones, review of Bad Boys, p. 112, Ellen A. Greever, review of Mary Had a Little Ham, p. 112; June, 2004, Marge Loch-Wouters, review of Stinky Smelly Feet, p. 116; July, 2004, Steven Engelfried, review of Moo Who?, p. 84, and Jane Barrer, review of Moosekitos, p. 84; November, 2004, James K. Irwin, review of Sweet Tooth, p. 114; June, 2005, Steven Engelfried, review of The Web Files, p. 56; August, 2005, Susan Hepler, review of The Three Silly Billies, p. 103; February, 2006, Robin L. Gibson, review of Shelly, p. 108; March, 2006, Maryann H. Owen, review of Oink?, p. 200.

online

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Online, http://bbcb.lis.uiuc.edu/ (July, 2006), Loretta M. Gaffney, "Rising Star—Margie Palatini."

Margie Palatini Home Page,http://www.margiepalatini.com (November 5, 2006).