Born in New York, NY.
Home—Tunbridge Wells, England. Agent—Philippa Milnes-Smith, Lucas Alexander Whitley Ltd., 14 Vernon St., London W14 ORJ, England. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer. Walker Books, London, England, editor.
Writer's bursary, South East Arts UK, 1995-96; Parent's Choice Award, 2005, and Stockport Children's Book Award, 2006, both for Snip Snap!; prizes in several poetry competitions.
Bears, Bears Everywhere!, illustrated by Helen Craig, Orchard Books (London, England), 1997, Barron's Educational Series (Hauppauge, NY), 1999.
Musical Beds, illustrated by Marjolein Pottie, Margaret McElderry Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Snip Snap! What's That?, illustrated by Nick Maland, Greenwillow Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Glitter Kitty, illustrated by Lydia Monks, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 2005.
Nick Mack's Good Luck, illustrated by Jill Barton, Walker Books (London, England), 2005.
Sylvie's Seahorse, illustrated by Tor Freeman, Walker Books (London, England), 2006.
Oliver Who Would Not Sleep!, illustrated by Nick Maland, Arthur A. Levine Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Oliver Who Was Small but Mighty, illustrated by Nick Maland, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 2008.
Happy, illustrated by Simona Sanfillipo, Evans Bros. (London, England), 2008.
Oliver Who Traveled Far and Wide, illustrated by Nick Maland, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 2009.
Yum Yum! What Fun!, illustrated by Nick Maland, Greenwillow Books (New York, NY), 2009.
Lively Elizabeth, illustrated by Cassia Thomas, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 2010.
Also contributor of poetry to magazines and anthologies.
In addition to working as an editor for prestigious Walker Books in London, England, Mara Bergman is the author of several children's picture books, including Snip Snap! What's That? and Oliver Who Would Not Sleep!, both of which feature artwork by Nick Maland. Bergman is also an award-winning poet whose work has appeared in numerous anthologies and periodicals.
A number of Bergman's titles are geared to help preschoolers overcome childhood fears. In Musical Beds, which School Library Journal reviewer Catherine Threadgill called a "quaint vignette of family life," Bergman depicts the all-too-common habit among small children of looking for comfort at bedtime by crawling into someone else's bed. According to Lauren Peterson, writing in Booklist, "most kids will relate to the fears of the children in the story as well as their shuffling around in beds." In Kirkus Reviews a contributor predicted that Bergman's "whimsical" descriptions of sleeping children are "bound to elicit giggles" and called Musical Beds "perfect to share just before toddling off to the right bed."
The onomatopoeic picture book Snip Snap! follows the route of a toothy alligator from a sewer, along a city street, and into the apartment of a group of children. Finally, the frightened children oust the alligator by scaring it away. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Jake Coburn remarked that "Bergman's rhythmic, vocal text propels the story forward," and a Publishers Weekly reviewer called Snip Snap! "aurally delicious" as well as "a great read-aloud and a good giggle." A Kirkus Reviews contributor recommended Bergman's entertaining tale as "a good alternative to Ed Emberley's classic Go Away, Big Green Monster."
Bergman and Maland have also collaborated on Yum Yum! What Fun!, another humorous tale. In the work, two children who are busy baking goodies are interrupted by a host of animals from the zoo that are hungry for a snack. "Enticing rhymes and onomatopoeia make each animal intruder's entrance the read-aloud equivalent of a star turn," a Publishers Weekly reviewer commented of the picture book.
An imaginative youngster has trouble settling down at night in Oliver Who Would Not Sleep!, also illustrated by Maland. Just as soon as his parents bid him goodnight, Oliver Donnington Rimington-Sneep bounds from his bed, in order to read, paint, perform magic tricks, and "travel" into space, until his adventures tire him out and he seeks the comfort of his favorite cuddly toys. A critic in Kirkus Reviews described the work as a "warm and fuzzy homage" to Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, while Kara Schaff Dean stated in School Library Journal that "there is a driven intensity about this book with its bold text and full-bleed, fanciful spreads."
Bergman once commented: "As a child I was desperate to read long before I was able to—for me it was a form of magic. The day it finally all clicked was the day I was home sick and missed the school book fair. My mother went in my place and bought me a copy of Ten Apples up on Top, which I read and read and read until I could read it perfectly. As a writer, I aim to write books children will want to read, or hear, again and again. When my own children were little, I would only read to them those books that I enjoyed reading—something I also try to keep in mind when I write.
"I have always been interested in writing. As a child I used to write short plays and stories. I started keeping a diary when I was eleven and started writing poetry when I was twelve. I continue to write poetry and have had much of my work published in literary magazines.
"The book I am most excited about right now is Yum, Yum! What Fun!—but then, one's favourite work is often the latest one."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, October 15, 2002, Lauren Peterson, review of Musical Beds, p. 409; March 1, 2005, review of Snip Snap! What's That?, p. 1201.
Guardian (London, England), April 9, 2005, Julia Eccleshare, "Hairy or Scary?," review of Snip Snap!
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2002, review of Musical Beds, p. 1303; April 1, 2005, review of Snip Snap!, p. 413; August 1, 2007, review of Oliver Who Would Not Sleep!
New York Times Book Review, August 14, 2005, Jake Coburn, review of Snip Snap!, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, October 7, 2002, review of Musical Beds, p. 71; May 9, 2005, review of Snip Snap!, p. 68; November 10, 2008, review of Yum Yum! What Fun!, p. 49.
School Library Journal, December, 2002, Catherine Threadgill, review of Musical Beds, p. 85; June, 2005, Linda Ludke, review of Snip Snap!, p. 104; September, 2007, Kara Schaff Dean, review of Oliver Who Would Not Sleep!, p. 157.