Amico, Tom 1960(?)-
Amico, Tom 1960(?)-
Born c. 1960. Education: Graduated from college.
Writer. Copywriter for advertising firms, including W.B. Doner, Baltimore, MD, 1987, Smith, Burke & Azzam, Baltimore, 1988, and Kaplan Thaler Group, New York, NY; Amico/Proimos (advertising agency), Baltimore, MD, co-founder, 1989.
The Day the Dog Dressed like Dad, illustrated by James Proimos, Bloomsbury Children's Books (New York, NY), 2004.
(With James Proimos) Raisin and Grape, illustrated by Andy Snair, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.
Also author of short fiction and comic strips. Coauthor, with James Proimos, of unproduced screenplay Brudders.
Building on his long-time working relationship with James Proimos in the advertising field, Tom Amico has turned his writing talents to a younger crowd by creating texts for the humorous picture books The Day the Dog Dressed like Dad and Raisin and Grape. In his primary field, Amico is well known as the co-writer behind the humorous AFLAC duck television commercials, which featured a quacking duck that inserts itself into the private discussions of individuals concerned about personal insurance matters. Introduced in 1999, the AFLAC Duck has gone on to become an "advertising icon," according to New Yorker writer Ken Auletta; in 2004 the feathered corporate mascot was honored with a plaque on Madison Avenue's Walk of Fame.
In The Day the Dog Dressed like Dad a family pet takes on patriarchal duties when Dad is away from home on business. As recounted by the young narrator with enthusiastic glee, the scruffy blue pooch turns a typical day totally upside down. In humorously over-the-top fashion, the wayward pet dons atrocious shirt-and-tie combinations retrieved from Dad's closet, turns up its nose at its morning bowl of dog chow in favor of Mom's home-cooked breakfast, takes charge of a family outing to the park, and monopolizes the family's evening television viewing, all just like Dad. In School Library Journal Sally R. Dow dubbed the book a "fun" story-time read, while in Publishers Weekly a critic cited the coauthors' use of "concise, deadpan observation" in poking gentle fun at the "traditional head of the household."
Amico and Proimos share writing duties on Raisin and Grape, leaving the illustrations to fellow advertising colleague Andy Snair. In this picture book, the authors tell an intergenerational tale about a sun-browned and wrinkled grandfather—Raisin—who enjoys spending time with—and dispensing kernels of wisdom to—his adoring grandson—a plump green grape. A Kirkus Reviews contributor cited the book as an "engaging" story featuring a young narrator whose descriptions of his grandfather's wise sayings are "nearly bursting with youthful vim." "Loving without being mushy, this book will be fun for sharing across generations," maintained Hazel Rochman in a Booklist review of Raisin and Grape.
Discussing where he gets ideas from for both his advertising work and his stories for children, Amico noted on the Bloomsbury Web site that "I … see a lot of movies, read a lot of newspapers and magazines, and immerse myself in pop culture." As part of an advertising
team, he explained, "a lot of ideas come from just talking and blurting out thoughts and ideas. It helps to conceptualize that way and reject the bad stuff quicker, especially when someone across the table doesn't connect or improve upon an idea." Citing his favorite writers as Proimos and James Marshall, Amico also revealed his philosophy regarding creating picture books for children: "Writing and pictures are indivisible," he noted. "When kids' books start to take themselves too seriously, I run for the exit. There's enough ‘serious’ adults in the world without turning kids into little serious adults."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Back Stage, June 16, 1989, "Jim Proimos and Tom Amico," p. B24.
Booklist, May 1, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Raisin and Grape, p. 87.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 2006, Elizabeth Bush, review of Raisin and Grape, p. 300.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2004, review of The Day the Dog Dressed like Dad, p. 801; January 15, 2006, review of Raisin and Grape, p. 81.
New Yorker, March 28, 2005, Ken Auletta, "The New Pitch: Do Ads Still Work?"
Publishers Weekly, October 11, 2004, review of The Day the Dog Dressed like Dad, p. 79.
School Library Journal, October, 2004, Sally R. Dow, review of The Day the Dog Dressed like Dad, p. 108; March, 2006, Maryann H. Owen, review of Raisin and Grape, p. 174.
Bloomsbury Web site,http://www.bloomsbury.com/Childrens/ (January 15, 2006), "Tom Amico."