Root, Phyllis 1949–
Root, Phyllis 1949–
Born February 14, 1949, in Fort Wayne, IN; daughter of John Howard and Esther Root; married James Elliot Hansa (a mason); children: Amelia Christin, Ellen Rose. Education: Valparaiso University, B.A., 1971. Hobbies and other interests: Canoeing, sailing, gardening, reading.
Home—Minneapolis, MN. E-mail—[email protected]du.
Writer. Has worked as architectural drafter, costume seamstress, bicycle repair person, and administrative assistant. Vermont College, instructor in M.F.A. in Writing for Children Program, 2002—.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Children's Books of the Year citation, Child Study Association of America, and Bologna International Children's Book Fair selection, both 1985, both for Moon Tiger; Minnesota Picture Book Award, 1997, for Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble; Best Books of the Year, School Library Journal, 1998, for What Baby Wants; Top-Ten Easy Readers selection, Booklist, 2002, for Mouse Has Fun, and 2003, for Mouse Goes Out; Boston Globe/Horn Book Picture Book Award, 2003, for Big Momma Makes the World.
Hidden Places, illustrated by Daniel San Souci, Carnival Press (Milwaukee, WI), 1983.
(With Carol A. Marron) Gretchen's Grandma, illustrated by Deborah K. Ray, Carnival Press (Milwaukee, WI), 1983.
(With Carol A. Marron) Just One of the Family, illustrated by George Karn, Carnival Press (Milwaukee, WI), 1984.
(With Carol A. Marron) No Place for a Pig, illustrated by Nathan Y. Jarvis, Carnival Press (Milwaukee, WI), 1984.
My Cousin Charlie, illustrated by Pia Marella, Carnival Press (Milwaukee, WI), 1984.
Moon Tiger, illustrated by Ed Young, Holt (New York, NY), 1985.
Soup for Supper, illustrated by Sue Truesdell, Harper (New York, NY), 1986.
Great Basin, Carnival/Crestwood (Mankato, MN), 1988.
Glacier, Carnival/Crestwood (Mankato, MN), 1989.
Galapagos, Carnival/Crestwood (Mankato, MN), 1989.
The Old Red Rocking Chair, illustrated by John Sanford, Arcade (New York, NY), 1992.
The Listening Silence, illustrated by Dennis McDermott, Harper (New York, NY), 1992.
Coyote and the Magic Words, illustrated by Sandra Speidel, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1993.
Sam Who Was Swallowed by a Shark, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1994.
Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble, illustrated by David Parkins, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.
Mrs. Potter's Pig, illustrated by Russell Ayto, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.
Contrary Bear, illustrated by Laura Cornell, HarperCollins/Laura Geringer Books (New York, NY), 1996.
One Windy Wednesday, illustrated by Helen Craig, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.
Rosie's Fiddle, illustrated by Kevin O'Malley, Lothrop (New York, NY), 1997.
The Hungry Monster, illustrated by Sue Heap, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1997.
Turnover Tuesday, illustrated by Helen Craig, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.
What Baby Wants, illustrated by Jill Barton, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.
One Duck Stuck: A Mucky Ducky Counting Book, illustrated by Jane Chapman, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.
Aunt Nancy and Cousin Lazybones, illustrated by David Parkins, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.
Grandmother Winter, illustrated by Beth Krommes, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1999.
Hey, Tabby Cat!, illustrated by Katherine McEwen, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
All for the Newborn Baby, illustrated by Nicola Bayley, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
Kiss the Cow!, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
Here Comes Tabby Cat, illustrated by Katherine McEwen, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
Meow Monday, illustrated by Helen Craig, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
Foggy Friday, illustrated by Helen Craig, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
Soggy Saturday, illustrated by Helen Craig, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.
Rattletrap Car, illustrated by Jill Barton, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.
(With Michelle Edwards) What's That Noise?, illustrated by Paul Meisel, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
Mouse Goes Out, illustrated by James Croft, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
Mouse Has Fun, illustrated by James Croft, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
Big Momma Makes the World, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
Oliver Finds His Way, illustrated by Christopher Denise, Walker (New York, NY), 2002.
The Name Quilt, illustrated by Margot Apple, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (New York, NY), 2003.
Ten Sleepy Sheep, illustrated by Susan Gaber, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
Baby Ducklings, illustrated by Petra Mathers, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
Baby Bunnies, illustrated by Petra Mathers, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
If You Want to See a Caribou, illustrated by Jim Meyer, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2004.
Hop!, illustrated by Holly Meade, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.
The House That Jill Built (pop-up book), illustrated by Delphine Durand, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.
Quack!, illustrated by Holly Meade, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.
Who Said Boo?, illustrated by Ana Martín Larraífaga, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2005.
Looking for a Moose, illustrated by Randy Cecil, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.
Lucia and the Light, illustrated by Mary GrandPré, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.
Aunt Nancy and the Bothersome Visitors, illustrated by David Parkins, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.
Gladys on the Go, photographs by Kelly Povo, Conari Press (York Beach, ME), 2004.
Hot Flash Gal, photographs by Kelly Povo, Conari Press (York Beach, ME), 2004.
Ask Gladys: Household Hits for Gals on the Go, photographs by Kelly Povo, Conari Press (Boston, MA), 2005.
Dear Hot Flash Gal: Every Answer to a Gal's Every Question, photographs by Kelly Povo, Conari Press (Boston, MA), 2005.
Popular with young readers, Phyllis Root is perhaps best known for creating picture books that range from retellings of Native-American stories and tall tales to celebrations of intergenerational relationships and the small, intimate moments of childhood. As Kelly Milner Halls noted in Booklist, Root "has carved a niche for herself by using homespun observations and the playful use of rural undertones." Working with illustrators such as Helen Craig, Paul Meisel, Jill Barton, Will Hillenbrand, Susan Gaber, Mary GrandPré, and Helen Oxenbury, the award-winning author has produced such popular titles as One Windy Wednesday, Ten Sleepy Sheep, What Baby Wants, Kiss the Cow!, Big Momma Makes the World, and Looking for a Moose.
Although Root began writing professionally in the late 1970s, she has been writing for fun as long as she can remember. "I made up stories, poems, and songs," she once commented. "In first grade, I wrote a poem about love and a dove, and in second grade, I won a class essay contest for my four-sentence story about the Sahara desert. In fifth grade, I had a remarkable and wonderful teacher, Mrs. Keller, who encouraged me to write. It was in her class that I decided I would be an ‘authoress’ when I grew up."
Root went on to attend college at Valparaiso University, earning a bachelor's degree in 1971; she did not begin writing professionally for another eight years, after taking course work in the tools of the writing trade, learning important book-writing skills, such as creating plots, settings, tension, and characters.
One of Root's earliest published works, Gretchen's Grandma, was co-written with colleague Carol A. Marron. The 1983 picture book tells the story of Gretchen and her "Oma," or grandmother, who is visiting from Germany. At the beginning of the visit, the language barrier is troublesome, but eventually grandmother and grandchild overcome their verbal problems through pantomime and affection. Ilene Cooper, writing in Booklist, described Gretchen's Grandma as "a gentle story that could be used as [a] starting point for some preschool discussion."
Another early picture book, Moon Tiger, was described by a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books writer as "the stuff of which dreams are made," and Nanncy Schmidtmann dubbed it a "heavenly treat" in her School Library Journal review. Moon Tiger follows a young girl's imaginative journey as she dreams of being rescued from the task of babysitting her pesky younger brother by a magical tiger. When the tiger offers to eat the boy, however, the sister declines, admitting that she might actually miss her brother after all.
Root's whimsical humor shines through in picture books such as The Old Red Rocking Chair, The Hungry Monster, Sam Who Was Swallowed by a Shark, Contrary Bear, and Looking for a Moose. In The Old Red Rocking Chair a discarded rocking chair is rescued time and time again from the garbage by various eagle-eyed dump-pickers. Each new owner takes from the chair different pieces and discards the remains, until what was once a chair evolves into a blue footstool which is sold to its original—and oblivious—owner at a garage sale. In The Hungry Monster a hungry little alien finds that his hunger cannot be satisfied until a little Earthling offers him a banana, peel and all. "While the premise is hardly new … Root's cheerfulness and lucid logic" animate the text of The Old Red Rocking Chair, in the opinion of a Publishers Weekly critic, and in Kirkus Reviews a writer praised The Hungry Monster as a "silly story that includes a dash of suspense" as well as "a just-right read-aloud for board-book graduates."
A "cheery tale of compromise," according to a Publishers Weekly writer, Mrs. Potter's Pig focuses on a neat freak who learns to appreciate the joy of mud when she has to rescue her dirt-loving daughter from a pigpen. Contrary Bear finds a toy blamed for its owner's obstinate behavior. Contrary Bear takes the rap for making loud train whistles during naptime and wanting a bigger piece of cake, but the last straw for Dad is when the stuffed toy supposedly splashes water all over the bathroom. Finally relegated to the clothesline to dry out, Contrary Bear watches his penitent owner promise to help the toy "try harder to be good tomorrow."
In Sam Who Was Swallowed by a Shark readers meet a rat who is determined to build a boat and sail the sea, despite the nay-saying of his rat neighbors. When he finally accomplishes his goal and leaves, the neighbors assume the worst when they do not hear from him, although Sam is actually having the time of his life. A Publishers Weekly critic hailed Root's "understated prose" and "chipper dialogue," and noted that "the even pacing underlines [Sam's] quiet persistence and progress."
Brought to life in humorous illustrations by Randy Cecil, Looking for a Moose takes story-hour participants on "an engaging romp," according to Booklist contributor Connie Fletcher. In the story, listeners follow four children on a hunt through the forest. When they reach their goal and stumble upon the moose that have been following THEM all along, Root's "infectious" onomatopoeic rhyming text comes full circle, according to a Publishers Weekly critic, and a Kirkus Reviews writer concluded that the author's "buoyant, rhymed text makes for a stellar read-aloud." Similar in theme, If You Want to See a Caribou also features a poetic text, this time drawing readers into a balsam forest in search of a caribou mother and calf. Gentler in tone, the book pairs Root's "subtle" poetry with illustrator Jim Meyer's "serene, expansive" block-printed illustrations, according to Booklist reviewer Gillian Engberg.
The author collaborates with artist Jill Barton on What Baby Wants, a "farmyard tale of an implacable baby," according to a contributor to Publishers Weekly. In Root's tale, an entire family tries to help when Mother has difficulty getting her crying infant to sleep. Each family member thinks that the fussy baby needs something different, but ultimately it is the younger brother who knows the trick: all baby wants is a big cuddle. In Booklist Stephanie Zvirin deemed What Baby Wants a "sweet, simple charmer." Author and illustrator team up again for Rattletrap Car, a cumulative story about the humorous mini-disasters that befall a family during a summertime outing to the lake. As a Publishers Weekly reviewer commented, "Root and Barton prove that they know how to convey mounting comic mayhem" in the humorous picture book, and Ilene Cooper concluded in Booklist that Rattletrap Car "passes the fun test with flying fizz."
Root addresses some universal childhood fears in What's That Noise? and Oliver Finds His Way. In the first title, a "story of how imagination can run amok," according to School Library Journal critic Susan Marie Pitard, two little brothers hear noises in the night. While at first frightened, they learn to calm their fears by making up a silly song that classifies each of the scary sounds. Similarly, Oliver Finds His Way explores the fear of getting lost and the consequent relief in finding one's way home again. Baby bear Oliver loses his way one warm day while his parents are busy. He follows a leaf as eddies of air carry it farther and farther away from his home, finally leading him into the shadowy woods. Eventually, the resilient bear is able to find his way back again by calling out to his parents and then following the sound of their returning calls. A critic for Publishers Weekly praised both Root and illustrator Christopher Denise for bringing "a fresh poignancy to the familiar theme," and Kathleen Simonetta wrote in School Library Journal that the "happy ending" in Oliver Finds His Way "will leave readers smiling."
Like many authors, Root has mined her own family experiences for many picture-book ideas. Soup for Supper was the result of a thunderstorm. "I had gotten up to comfort my daughter Amelia," she once recalled, "and remembered how, when I was a child, my sister and I had sat on the bed with our parents, watching the lightning and rain. ‘Don't let the thunder scare you,’ they reassured us. ‘It's just the noise potatoes make spilling out of the giant's cart.’ Listening to the thunder with my own daughter, I suddenly saw the giant with his cart of vegetables and a wee small woman chasing after him. The next morning I wrote down the first draft of Soup for Supper." The result is "an original story with a folkloric ring," as described by a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books writer, which is "dandy [for] reading aloud because of the simple rhymes, namecalling, and sound effects." The wee small woman of Root's tale vigorously defends her garden against the Giant Rumbleton's attempts to plunder it. After an energetic confrontation, the two enemies discover a common culinary goal and become friends as together they make vegetable soup. Root even includes music for the giant's song at the end of the book.
Root called on her then-ten-year-old daughter for help with One Windy Wednesday, part of a series of books illustrated by Helen Craig that detail various days of the week. In the humorous tale, a day came when the wind was so strong that it blew the sound right out of some farm animals and into others. When the wind subsides, the lamb are left quacking, the ducks start mooing, and the cow starts oinking, leaving Bonnie Bumble to hitch the right critter to the right call. Hazel Rochman, writing in Booklist, described One Windy Wednesday as a "simple, funny story." Other books in the series include Turnover Tuesday, which finds Bonnie Bumble literally turning over after making plum turnovers; and Meow Monday, in which Bonnie's pussy willow sprout some real pussycats who are hungry for milk from the milkweed plant. Foggy Friday catches Bonnie napping when her faithful rooster forgets to, and in Soggy Saturday a heavy rain has washed the blue from the sky onto the animals on Bonnie's farm. Lynda Ritterman, writing in School Library Journal, cited the "winning combination of spare, well-chosen words and lively, crisp pacing" in Meow Monday, and a Kirkus Reviews critic praised the "beguiling simplicity" of Soggy Saturday.
More rural settings are served up in the concept books One Duck Stuck: A Mucky Ducky Counting Book and Ten Sleepy Sheep. In the first book, when a poor fowl becomes caught in the mud, it is helped in turn by varying numbers of fish, crickets, and frogs. Shirley Lewis, writing in Teacher Librarian, called it a "delightful picture book," and in Booklist Helen Rosenberg predicted that One Duck Stuck is "great fun and sure to become an instant favorite among the toddler crowd." Another counting book, Ten Sleepy Sheep, shows readers that counting sheep in order to fall asleep can sometimes be challenging, especially when the sheep are not sleepy themselves. Fortunately, one by one, the frisky lambs nod off to sleep amid the cozy setting created by illustrator Susan Gaber.
In Kiss the Cow!, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand, Root returns again to a farm setting, this time to find little Annalisa watching her mother milk the family's cow. Without a kiss on the nose, Luella the cow refuses to give milk, but when Annalisa attempts to perform the milking herself, she needs some convincing before she can bring herself to touch Luella with her lips. In Booklist Carolyn Phelan commented on the "satisfying folksy sound" of Root's narrative and commended Hillenbrand's artwork for its "style and panache." Anne Knickerbocker wrote in School Library Journal that the book's "flowing language makes it a fun read-aloud," while a reviewer for Horn Book called Kiss the Cow! "an original story of magic and mischief."
In The Listening Silence Root draws on Native-American traditions with a "strong, believable" heroine, according to Ruth S. Vose in School Library Journal. Kiri is a young, orphaned girl who is raised in a tribe where a healer recognizes Kiri's ability to send her spirit inside of other people and animals. Reluctant to use her power, Kiri goes on a vision quest to discover her true calling and eventually uses her gift to heal a young man she encounters. While Vose praised the "smooth, lyrical, language" in The Listening Silence, a Kirkus Reviews writer hailed Root's "spare, carefully honed narration." Much like J.R.R. Tolkien did in his classic Lord of the Rings, Root invents names for the woodland plants and animals, creating what Kathryn Pierson Jennings described in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books as "a fantasy culture … [which] is orderly and compelling and may inspire young creative writing students who need a more modest fantasy world than Tolkien."
In Coyote and the Magic Words Root employs elements of Native-American folklore, including the use of a coyote as a trickster, and described the book as "a story about storytelling, about how to create worlds with nothing more than our words." In the story, the Maker-of-all-things uses words to speak her creation into existence and grants her creatures the power to meet their own needs simply by speaking into existence what they want. But the Coyote grows bored with this easy way of life and begins to incite mischief using the magic words. To punish him, the Maker-of-all-things takes away the magic of the words, except the ones Coyote uses in storytelling. Karen Hutt, writing for Booklist, characterized the tale as "simple but satisfying," and a Kirkus Reviews critic observed that "Root's Coyote is appropriately childlike; her lively narration is well-honed and agreeably informal, just right for oral sharing."
The "Aunt Nancy" of Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble, published in 1996, does not refer to the Aunt Nancy of the "Anansi" storytelling tradition; however Root's story, like many others she written, has a folklore flair to it. Using a down-home dialect, Root describes Aunt Nancy and the way she outsmarts Old Man Trouble when he dries up her well. When he shows up at her door and causes more mischief, Aunt Nancy just tells him it does not bother her because "I just knowed it was my lucky day when I saw the spring dried up this morning. No more mud tracking up my floor. No more dampness aching in my bones." Old Man Trouble falls for it and restores the well before he leaves in one more attempt to squash Aunt Nancy's good spirits, not realizing he has been had. Deborah Stevenson, writing in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, commented that this story of the "victory of the underestimated" is a "kid-pleasing version with some bite to it."
Aunt Nancy returns in Aunt Nancy and Cousin Lazybones, and this time she is not looking forward to a visit from her Cousin Lazybones, whose laziness is legendary. Instead of going to get water from the well, he simply sets a bucket outside the door and then hopes for rain. Fed up with this slacker, Aunt Nancy decides to fight fire with fire; she becomes as lazy as her cousin. When more and more housework falls to him, Cousin Lazybones decides to cut his visit short. In Publishers Weekly a reviewer noted of Aunt Nancy and Cousin Lazybones that "Root brings generous dollops of humor and homespun flavor to her folktale." Similar praise came from Booklist contributor John Peters, who predicted that "youngsters will delight in this battle of wits and look forward to Aunt Nancy's next visitor." In Horn Book Lolly Robinson also enjoyed the book, commenting that Root and illustrator David Parkins "have created another original tall tale that sounds as though it's been told for years." Robinson also praised Root's "rhythmic" text, noting that it "begs to be read aloud."
Root's adaptation of an American folk tale in Rosie's Fiddle "bursts with vitality and spunk," according to a Kirkus Reviews critic. Her story features the devil himself, as he enters a fiddling contest with Rosie after he hears of her stellar fiddling reputation. After three rounds, Rosie fiddles the devil into a puff of smoke, wins his golden instrument, and saves her own soul from the devil's hands. A Publishers Weekly critic commented that "the folksy prose and stormy spreads convey the tale's intensity—the only thing missing is a bluegrass soundtrack." Janice M. DelNegro, writing in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, also offered a favorable estimation of Rosie's Fiddle, asserting that "Root's adaptation of this traditional motif has a fine readaloud rhythm and a thoroughly satisfying progression as the devil gets his musical due."
Inspired by a traditional Norwegian legend about Saint Lucia Day, Lucia and the Light explains what must happen in order for the days to begin to lengthen in the dead of winter. In her adaptation, Root brings readers to a cabin in the mountains, where Lucia lives with her mother, younger brother, cow, and white cat. All is well until one winter, when the sun appears less and less frequently until it disappears altogether, leaving no way for Lucia to mark night from day. Determined to restore the sun, the brave girl and her cat ski off up the mountain, where she ultimately frees the sun from a band of evil trolls. Noting the story's underlying message about loyalty and cooperation, Booklist contributor of Gillian Engberg added that "Root's rich language and well-paced story are sure to capture a young crowd of eager listeners." In Publishers Weekly a contributor noted how award-winning illustrator Mary GrandPré's "incandescent pastel art" evokes the story's Nordic setting, and in School Library Journal Tamara E. Root wrote that, "with its terrifying trolls and triumphant travails," Lucia and the Light will spark the imagination of young listeners.
Again taking inspiration from traditional sources, Root adapts a German fairy-tale character in Grandmother Winter and provides a new take on the creation story in Big Momma Makes the World, two picture books featuring strong female protagonists. The eponymous heroine of Grandmother Winter proves to be the harbinger of the cold season. All summer long she gathers the fallen feathers from her white geese; when autumn comes, she uses them to stuff a feather comforter. Fluffing up the comforter, feathers fall, transforming into snowflakes as they fall from the sky. A reviewer for Horn Book commended Root's "cadenced" and "lyrical" text in this folktale remake. Kay Weisman, writing in Booklist, also felt that the book would be "a wonderful choice for primary units on seasons or winter," and a Publishers Weekly critic called Grandmother Winter "a cozy moodsetter."
Big Momma Makes the World, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, is a "sassy creation myth that tweaks the first chapter of Genesis," according to a contributor for Publishers Weekly. In Root's rendition, Big Momma creates the world and surveys her creation with satisfied, folksy expressions. "Root infuses her tale with a joyful spirit, and her lyrical vernacular trips off the tongue," a Publishers Weekly critic further commented. In Booklist, Cooper dubbed the tale "a raucous, joyous version of the creation story," while a Kirkus Reviews critic called it a "paean to the Earth and to motherhood."
A grandmother full of memories and traditional stories of her own is at the center of The Name Quilt, in which a little girl elicits family tales from her grandmother each night by picking a name embroidered on the patchwork quilt on her bed. When the quilt is swept away by a fierce wind, the young girl is disconsolate. Finally her grandmother suggests they make a new quilt together, and this time the young girl's name is in the center of it. Mary Elam, writing in School Library Journal, noted that Root "stitches together generations, memories, and traditions in this tale of a much-loved family treasure."
Like her character in The Name Quilt, Root's goal as a writer has also been to "stitch" tales together, crafting books that entertain and teach gentle lessons. As the author once commented: "My hope is to keep writing and to keep having stories to tell." In an online interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith on Cynsations, Root also addressed aspiring writers. "Read lots and lots and lots and lots of picture books, read them aloud, type out the ones you like best to get a manual feel for how the words look on a page," she advised, "dummy up your stories to get a feel for the shape of a picture book … and write and write and write and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite." "Tell the stories you have to tell the best way you know how," she added, "always remembering for whom you are telling them: children. And write from your heart."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 1984, Ilene Cooper, review of Gretchen's Grandma, p. 684; July, 1986, p. 1616; November 15, 1993, Karen Hutt, review of Coyote and the Magic Words, p. 633; October 15, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of One Windy Wednesday, p. 437; April, 1998, Helen Rosenberg, review of One Duck Stuck: A Mucky Ducky Counting Book, p. 1333; September 15, 1998, Stephanie Zvirin, review of What Baby Wants, p. 240; October 15, 1998, Ilene Cooper, review of Turnover Tuesday, p. 429; November 15, 1998, John Peters, review of Aunt Nancy and Cousin Lazybones, p. 597; November 15, 1999, Kay Weisman, review of Grandmother Winter, p. 637; September 1, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of All for the Newborn Baby, p. 134; November 15, 2000, Kelly Milner Halls, review of Meow Monday and Foggy Friday, p. 650, and Carolyn Phelan, review of Kiss the Cow!, p. 650; December 1, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of Soggy Saturday, pp. 650-651; January 1, 2002, review of Rattletrap Car, p. 768; January 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Big Momma Makes the World, p. 88; March 15, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Name Quilt, p. 1333; April 15, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of If You Want to See a Caribou, p. 1449; September 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Lucia and the Light, p. 45; October 1, 2006, Connie Fletcher, review of Looking for a Moose, p. 60.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 1986, review of Moon Tiger, p. 95; July-August, 1986, review of Soup for Supper, p. 216; March, 1992, Kathryn Pierson Jennings, review of The Listening Silence, p. 191; March, 1996, Deborah Stevenson, review of Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble, p. 240; April, 1997, Janice M. DelNegro, review of Rosie's Fiddle, p. 293; December, 1998, Betsy Hearne, review of Aunt Nancy and Cousin Lazybones, p. 144; October, 1999, Fern Kory, review of Grandmother Winter, p. 66; February, 2001, Kate McDowell, reviews of Foggy Friday and Meow Monday, pp. 235-236.
Horn Book, September-October, 1996, pp. 585-587; January-February, 1999, Lolly Robinson, review of Aunt Nancy and Cousin Lazybones, p. 55; September-October, 1999, review of Grandmother Winter, p. 599; January-February, 2001, review of Kiss the Cow!, p. 85; May-June, 2004, Lauren Adams, review of Ten Sleepy Sheep, p. 319.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 1992, review of The Listening Silence, p. 616; September 1, 1993, review of Coyote and the Magic Words, p. 1151; May 15, 1996, p. 749; January 1, 1997, review of The Hungry Monster, p. 63; February 1, 1997, review of Rosie's Fiddle, p. 227; September 15, 2001, review of Soggy Saturday, p. 1366; July 1, 2002, review of What's That Noise?, p. 953; August 1, 2002, review of Oliver Finds His Way, p. 1141; January 15, 2003, review of Big Momma Makes the World, p. 146; March 1, 2003, review of The Name Quilt, p. 397; August 1, 2005, review of The House That Jill Built, p. 857; July 15, 2006, review of Looking for a Moose, p. 729; October 15, 2006, review of Lucia and the Light, p. 1079.
Language Arts, March, 2003, review of Rattletrap Car, p. 317.
Publishers Weekly, May 18, 1992, review of The Old Red Rocking Chair, p. 68; May 30, 1994, review of Sam Who Was Swallowed by a Shark, pp. 55-56; May 13, 1996, review of Contrary Bear, p. 75; June 10, 1996, review of Mrs. Potter's Pig, p. 99; November 4, 1996, p. 74; January 13, 1997, review of Rosie's Fiddle, pp. 75-76; May 4, 1998, review of One Duck Stuck, p. 211; September 14, 1998, review of What Baby Wants, p. 67; October 26, 1998, review of Aunt Nancy and Cousin Lazybones, p. 66; August 30, 1999, review of Grandmother Winter, p. 82; April 30, 2001, review of Rattletrap Car, p. 77; June 17, 2002, review of What's That Noise?, p. 64; August 19, 2002, review of Oliver Finds His Way, p. 87; November 25, 2002, review of Big Momma Makes the World, p. 66; January 13, 2003, review of The Name Quilt, p. 59; September 18, 2006, review of Looking for a Moose, p. 53; November 27, 2006, review of Lucia and the Light, p. 50.
School Library Journal, December, 1985, Nancy Schmidtmann, review of Moon Tiger, p. 81; May, 1986, p. 84; June, 1992, Ruth S. Vose, review of The Listening Silence, p. 125; January, 1994, p. 97; June, 1998, Heide Piehler, review of One Duck Stuck, pp. 118-119; September, 1998, Kathy M. Newby, review of What Baby Wants, p. 180; November 1, 1998, Gale W. Sherman, review of Turnover Tuesday, p. 94, and Barbara Elleman, review of Aunt Nancy and Cousin Lazybones, p. 94; September, 1999, Maryann H. Owens, review of Grandmother Winter, p. 201; August, 2000, Anne Knickerbocker, review of Here Comes Tabby Cat, p. 164; October, 2000, review of All for the Newborn Baby, p. 62; November, 2000, Lynda Ritterman, review of Meow Monday, p. 130; December, 2000, Anne Knickerbocker, review of Kiss the Cow!, p. 124; June, 2001, Adele Greenlee, review of Rattletrap Car, p. 128; December, 2001, Ann Cook, review of Soggy Saturday, p. 110; October, 2002, Kathleen Simonetta, review of Oliver Finds His Way, p. 126; December, 2002, Susan Marie Pitard, review of What's That Noise?, p. 94; March, 2003, Laurie von Mehren, review of Big Momma Makes the World, p. 206; May, 2003, Mary Elam, review of The Name Quilt, p. 129; October, 2006, Kara Schaff Dean, review of Looking for a Moose, p. 124; December, 2006, Tamara E. Richman, review of Lucia and the Light, p. 114.
Teacher Librarian, September, 1998, Shirley Lewis, review of One Duck Stuck, p. 47.
Times Educational Supplement, March 26, 1999, Ted Dewan, review of What Baby Wants, p. 23; February 23, 2001, Ted Dewan, review of Kiss the Cow!, pp. 19-20.
Book Jackets Web site,http://www.bookjackets.com/ (September 8, 2003), "Phyllis Root."
Cynsations,http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/ (March 23, 2006), Cynthia Leitich Smith, interview with Root.
Minnesota Authors and Illustrators Web site,http://www.metrolibraries.net/ (July 18, 2006), "Phyllis Root."