Baker, Keith 1953-

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Baker, Keith 1953-

Personal

Born 1953, in OR. Education: Eastern Oregon State University, degree; attended Art College Center of Design.

Addresses

Home—Seattle, WA. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Author and illustrator. Taught elementary school for seven years.

Awards, Honors

Parents' Choice Awards for illustration, for The Dove's Letter and Who Is the Beast?; Golden Kite Award, for Big Fat Hen; UNICEF/Ezra Jack Keats International Bronze Award, for excellence in children's book illustration.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

The Dove's Letter, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1988.

The Magic Fan, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1989.

Who Is the Beast?, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1990, board-book edition, Red Wagon Books (San Diego, CA), 2003.

Hide and Snake, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1991, board-book edition, Red Wagon Books (San Diego, CA), 1999.

Big Fat Hen, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1994.

Cat Tricks, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1997.

Sometimes, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1999.

Quack and Count, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1999, board-book edition, Red Wagon Books (San Diego, CA), 2003.

Little Green, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2001.

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Green, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2002, board-book edition, Red Wagon Books (San Diego, CA), 2005.

More Mr. and Mrs. Green, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2004.

Lucky Days with Mr. and Mrs. Green, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2005.

On the Go with Mr. and Mrs. Green, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.

Hickory Dickory Dock, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.

Author's work has been translated into Spanish.

ILLUSTRATOR

Kathi Appelt, Elephants Aloft, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1993.

Alex Moran, Six Silly Foxes, Green Light Readers/Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Sidelights

Keith Baker is the author and illustrator of several highly regarded children's books. A former elementary school teacher, Baker published his debut title, The Dove's Letter, in 1988. The work, which concerns a dove's efforts to find the rightful owner of a mysterious letter it discovers in the forest, earned Baker a Parents' Choice award for illustration. He earned another Parents' Choice honor for Who Is the Beast?, a tale about the wonders of nature. In this work, the animals of the

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jungle flee from a powerful tiger until the friendly creature points out the many characteristics that the creatures all share, including whiskers, paws, and tails. "Graced with a compelling beauty," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor, "this gifted author/illustrator's imaginative story presents a timeless message to young readers."

In Hide and Snake a brightly striped reptile slithers its way through balls of yarn, a stack of presents, and a collection of hats as readers attempt to trace its movements. Baker's "acrylic designs, variety of lush hues and sly wit provide a feast for the eyes," noted a critic in Publishers Weekly. Based on the nursery rhyme "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe," Big Fat Hen is a counting book featuring a stately hen and her newly hatched chicks. "Children who want to skip the counting altogether can just enjoy the singsong text," observed Ilene Cooper in Booklist, while a Publishers Weekly reviewer praised Baker's acrylic illustrations, especially his depiction of the hen and her barnyard mates as a grouping with "the sparkle of a cluster of gems."

A feline's amazing abilities are the subject of Cat Tricks. The tall, narrow book employs an unusual format: alternating pages are half-width, and turning the book completely transforms the image. "The ingenious visual tricks match the cat's activities," noted Susan Dove Lempke in a review of Cat Tricks for Booklist. In Quack and Count a set of playful ducklings helps youngsters learn about addition. According to a critic in Publishers Weekly, Baker's book introduces young readers to math concepts "in such an unobtrusive, organic and merry way that they may not even notice how much they're learning." A hummingbird captures the attention of an aspiring artist in Little Green. Here Baker's "rhyming text captures the bird's exciting energy," according to Booklist critic Helen Rosenberg. The author/illustrator's cut-paper collages "glow with a lovely translucence that captures the feel of a sunlit garden and the evanescence of the hummingbird's mesmerizing movements," a Publishers Weekly reviewer maintained.

Baker introduces a pair of lively, fun-loving alligators in Meet Mr. and Mrs. Green. In the work, which has also sparked several sequels, Mrs. Green helps alleviate her husband's worries over a camping trip and encourages his efforts to eat one hundred pancakes at one sitting. "There is a nice undertone of acceptance and love between the two characters," observed School Library Journal reviewer Martha Topol, and a critic in Kirkus Reviews remarked that children will enjoy "the bright and snappy, simply drawn cartoon scenes." The entertaining duo returns in More Mr. and Mrs. Green. According to School Library Journal contributor Gloria Koster, in this volume "Baker's palette features many bright colors, but the vibrant, green alligators take center stage on every page." In Lucky Days with Mr. and Mrs. Green the pair locate some missing pearls, win a swimming pool full of jellybeans, and take first place at a talent show, while the three episodes in On the Go

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with Mr. and Mrs. Green focus on magic tricks, cookies, and wacky inventions. "The effervescent personalities of the all-alligator cast come through clearly," remarked a Kirkus Reviews contributor of Lucky Days with Mr. and Mrs. Green, and Horn Book reviewer Betty Carter called On the Go with Mr. and Mrs. Green "an enjoyable mix of humor and sophisticated tone that recognizes the complexity of children's thinking."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 15, 1993, Elizabeth Bush, review of Elephants Aloft, p. 762; April 1, 1994, review of Big Fat Hen, p. 1453; December 15, 1997, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Cat Tricks, p. 701; October 15, 1999, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of Quack and Count, p. 448; October 1, 1999, Kathy Broderick and Gilbert Taylor, review of Sometimes, p. 364; April 15, 2001, Helen Rosenburg, review of Little Green, p. 1563; May 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of On the Go with Mr. and Mrs. Green, p. 88.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 2001, review of Little Green, p. 297; March, 2004, Timnah Card, review of More Mr. and Mrs. Green, p. 258; April, 2005, Timnah Card, review of Lucky Days with Mr. and Mrs. Green, p. 326.

Emergency Librarian, November, 1991, review of Hide and Snake, p. 49; May, 1994, review of Big Fat Hen, p. 44.

Horn Book, Betty Carter, review of On the Go with Mr. and Mrs. Green, p. 434.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2002, review of Meet Mr. and Mrs. Green, p. 1302; January 15, 2004, review of More Mr. and Mrs. Green, p. 79; February 1, 2005, review of Lucky Days with Mr. and Mrs. Green, p. 173.

New York Times Book Review, November 10, 1991, Joanne Oppenheim, review of Hide and Snake, p. 32; July 17, 1994, review of Big Fat Hen, p. 18.

Publishers Weekly, October 12, 1990, review of Who Is the Beast?, p. 62; September 6, 1991, review of Hide and Snake, p. 103; February 8, 1993, review of The Dove's Letter, p. 88; February 24, 1997, review of The Magic Fan, p. 93; February 28, 1994, review of Big Fat Hen, p. 85; July 28, 1997, review of Cat Tricks, p. 74; August 2, 1999, review of Quack and Count, p. 82; March 15, 1999, review of Sometimes, p. 61; February 12, 2001, review of Little Green, p. 210; review of Meet Mr. and Mrs. Green, p. 71.

Reading Teacher, October, 1991, review of Who Is the Beast?, p. 131; November, 1994, review of Elephants Aloft, p. 240.

School Library Journal, May, 1999, Sharon R. Pearce, review of Sometimes, p. 85; April, 2001, Judith Constantinides, review of Little Green, p. 98; November, 2002, Martha Topol, review of Meet Mr. and Mrs. Green, p. 111; March, 2004, Gloria Koster, review of More Mr. and Mrs. Green, p. 152; June, 2006, Maura Bresnahan, review of On the Go with Mr. and Mrs. Green, p. 106.

ONLINE

Keith Baker Home Page,http://www.keithbakerbooks.com (May 10, 2007).