Copper, Melinda 1952–

views updated

Copper, Melinda 1952–

(Melinda McConnaughey Copper)


Born 1952; married; children: one son. Education: Florida State University, B.S. (biology); attended art school.


Home and office—Tallahassee, FL. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Dutton, Penguin Putnam, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.


Fine-art painter, illustrator, and author.



Snow White, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Simon & Willie (e-book),, 2006.


Tallahassee-based painter and writer Melinda Copper graduated from Florida State University with a degree in biology before realizing that her desire for creative independence made the arts a better career fit. Studying the technique of underpainting used by the European Old masters to give their oil paintings depth and dimen-sion, she has gained acclaim for her technique as well as for her subject matter: humorous portraits featuring cats, rabbits, and other animals in place of the human subjects central to famous paintings such as Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. In addition to her fine art, Copper is the author of the self-illustrated children's books Snow White, a retelling of the classic tale, and Simon & Willie, an e-book about a long-haired hamster named Simon who, lost in the wide world, is helped by a roaming rat.

In Copper's version of Snow White, the characters in the Grimm brothers' story—about a young girl who escapes from an unloving stepmother, is given safe haven by seven dwarves, and ultimately finds her true love—are anthromorphosized animals: the gentle Snow White, her father, and her Prince Charming are rabbits, the seven dwarves are depicted as mice, the huntsman is a dog, and the malevolent queen is well-cast as a regally dressed cat. Closely following the original version of the familiar story, Copper accents her retelling with "artwork that is as handsome as it is unsettling," according to Booklist contributor Ilene Cooper. Marilyn Taniguchi, writing in School Library Journal, praised Copper's art, stating that her "lush paintings," with their "deep, rich colors … set against velvety dark backgrounds," achieve a "dramatic tone" due to the author/illustrator's use of "fancy" historic costume and period details rather than the cuteness common to many children's books.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, August, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Snow White, p. 2033.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2005, review of Snow White, p. 787.

School Library Journal, November, 2005, Marilyn Tanigu-chi, review of Snow White, p. 113.

ONLINE, (June 6, 2006), "Melinda Copper."