Briant, Ed

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Briant, Ed

Personal

Born in Brighton, England; married; children: two daughters. Education: Bowdoin College, B.A.; Southern Illinois University, M.A.; University of New Hampshire, Ph.D.

Addresses

Home and office—Maplewood, NJ. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Artist and children's book writer. Maine College of Art, Portland, associate professor of liberal arts and editor of Writing across the Curriculum Awards annual publication.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Seven Stories, Roaring Brook Press (New Milford, CT), 2005.

A Day at the Beach, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2006.

ILLUSTRATOR

Sarah Weeks, Paper Parade, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2004.

Barry Varela, Gizmo, Roaring Brook Press (New Milford, CT), 2007.

Contributor of illustrations to Gentleman's Quarterly, Newsweek, New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated. Contributor to French Connections: Hemingway and Fitzgerald Abroad, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998. Creator of Web comic "Tales of the Slush Pile," beginning 2005.

Sidelights

Before Ed Briant wrote and illustrated children's books, he was an illustrator and caricature artist for such periodicals as Newsweek, the New York Times, and Sports Illustrated. Paper Parade, his first picture-book project, was a collaboration with author Sarah Weeks.

Paper Parade is the story of a young artist who, when she cannot see the parade down the street from her house, creates her own parade of paper-crafted performers. "Constructed out of paper, the artwork consists of colorful figures and backgrounds that parallel the girl's activities," explained Roxanne Burg in her School Library Journal review. "The pictures—striking paper constructions on clean flat backgrounds—tell most of the story," wrote Horn Book reviewer Lolly Robinson. A Kirkus Reviews contributor considered Briant's first picture book a "high-stepping debut," while a Publishers Weekly critic wrote that Paper Parade "spotlights the imaginative puppet-like constructions."

Briant's next picture-book project features an original story. Titled Seven Stories, the work "began as a picture book, expanded to a five-thousand-word chapter book, a wordless graphic novel, and finally became once again a picture book," as the author/illustrator explained on his home page. Although he finished the artwork quickly, the writing took Briant three years to complete. The story focuses on a young girl living in a downtown apartment building in which the other tenants are all characters playing out various fairy tales. Jack, of Beanstalk fame, lives in Apartment Five, while Hansel and Gretel's witch makes her home in Apartment Three. The young narrator has to unravel her own tale in order to finally fall asleep. "Most of the spreads bubble with a loopy, almost animated spontaneity," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor, and a Kirkus Reviews writer praised Briant's "simply drawn setting and … multi-ethnic (not to mention multi-species) cast." Joanna Rudge Long, writing in Horn Book, noted Briant's combination of "freely limned art, offbeat characterizations, retro urban setting, and perky snatches of dialogue."

Briant moves from an urban landscape to the seaside in his self-illustrated A Day at the Beach. A panda family plans to spend the day at the seashore, but just as the group arrives at its destination, family members realize they have forgotten something. Back to the house the pandas go, again and again remembering something else they would like to have upon arriving back at the beach. A Day at the Beach "is a warm family story that youngsters will enjoy," wrote Wanda Meyers-Hines in School Library Journal. As a Kirkus Reviews critic explained, the illustrator's use of "computer compos[ed] … digital photos of wire and clay figures and cardboard sets," gives his art a three-dimensional feel. "Briant keeps the writing low-key … and lets his clay-and-wire figures take center stage," wrote a contributor to Publishers Weekly in a review of A Day at the Beach.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2006, Karin Snelson, review of Seven Stories, p. 108.

Horn Book, July-August, 2004, Lolly Robinson, review of Paper Parade, p. 443; November-December, 2005, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Seven Stories, p. 702.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2004, review of Paper Parade, p. 402; October 1, 2005, review of Seven Stories, p. 1077; May 15, 2006, review of A Day at the Beach, p. 514.

Publishers Weekly, May 3, 2004, review of Paper Parade, p. 190; August 8, 2005, review of Seven Stories, p. 232; April 24, 2006, review of A Day at the Beach, p. 59.

School Library Journal, June, 2004, Roxanne Burg, review of Paper Parade, p. 121; January, 2006, Holly T. Sneeringer, review of Seven Stories, p. 92; June, 2006, Wanda Meyers-Hines, review of A Day at the Beach, p. 107.

ONLINE

Adams Literary Agency Web site,http://www.adamsliterary.com/ (August 28, 2007).

Ed Briant Home Page,http://www.edwardbriant.com (April 28, 2007).

Maine College of Art Web site,http://www.meca.edu/ (April 28, 2007), "Ed Briant."