Cornell, Laura

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Cornell, Laura

Personal

Born in CA; children: Lilly. Education: College graduate.

Addresses

Home—New York, NY.

Career

Illustrator.

Illustrator

Mary Anne Willison, Feed Me or Else!, Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1983.

Leah, Komaiko, Annie Bananie, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1987.

Leah Komaiko, Earl's Too Cool for Me, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1988.

Alice Low, Zena and the Witch Circus, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1990.

Leah Komaiko, Lenora O'Grady, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.

Jamie Lee Curtis, When I Was Little: A Four Year Old's Memoir of Her Youth, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1993.

Toby Forward, Traveling Backward, Tambourine Books (New York, NY), 1994.

Nancy Cobb, Letter Writer Book, Reader's Digest Kids (pleasantville, NY), 1994.

Dian Curtis Regan, Monster of the Month Club, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1994.

Dian Curtis Regan, Monsters in the Attic, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1995.

Here's How, Pleasant Co. (Middleton, WI), 1996.

Phyllis Root, Contrary Bear, Laura Geringer Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Toby Forward, Pie Magic, Tambourine Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1996.

Jennifer Davis, Before You Were Born, Workman Pub. (New York, NY), 1997.

Sid Fleischman, The Ghost on Saturday Night, Greenwillow Books (New York, NY), 1997.

Nancy Van Laan, Little Baby Bobby, Knopf (New York, NY), 1997.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1998.

Brooks Whitney, Oh, Brother—Oh, Sister!: A Sister's Guide to Getting Along, American Girl (Middleton, WI), 1999.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Where Do Balloons Go?: An Uplifting Mystery, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

Jamie Lee Curtis, I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting off a Little Self-Esteem, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2002.

Jennifer Davis, Before You Were Big, Workman Pub. (New York, NY), 2003.

Sally Cook, Good Night Pillow Fight, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Jamie Lee Curtis, It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Sidelights

A decision in college, to change her major from pre-med to art, helped chart the career of illustrator Laura Cornell. Best known for her work illustrating picture books by actress and celebrity author Jamie Lee Curtis, the artist has also created images for Sally Cook's Good Night Pillow Fight, Leah Komaiko's Leonora O'Grady and Annie Bananie, Sid Fleishman's The Ghost on Saturday Night, and Nancy Van Laan's Little Baby Bobby.

In her work for Good Night Pillow Fight, Cornell fuels what a Kirkus Reviews critic dubbed "a boisterous romp through bedtime." In Cook's rhyming story, a group of exuberant children, cooped up in a city apartment, burn off steam despite their parents' attempt to tuck them into bed. The Kirkus Reviews writer noted that the artist's decision to exaggerate facial expressions make the book fine fodder for "bedtime-resisters as well as group read-alouds." Cornell's "delightfully unique characters … seem to jump off the pages," added School Library Journal contributor Shelley B. Sutherland in a review of Good Night Pillow Fight. In Booklist Gillian Engberg praised the book's "scribbly paint-and-ink illustrations," which, "rendered with irresistible detail and skewed angles," "beautifully capture" the universal bedtime struggle. Noting Cornell's contribution of the same detailed art to Little Baby Bobby, Lauren Peterson wrote in Booklist that the book's "rollicking watercolor cartoons" reflect "the sort of physical, almost slapstick humor that young children love."

Cornell's collaborations with Curtis include Is There Really a Human Race?, Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born, When I Was Little: A Four Year Old's Memoir of Her Youth, and It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel. With their wry humor, wordplay, and optimism, the books have gained a large following. Is There Really a Human Race? taps into a child's love of the literal while pairing "Curtis' clever rhymes" and "Cornell's high-energy art," according to Booklist contributor Ilene Cooper. The artist's "fascinating" detailed cartoon images "are a perfect match to Curtis's lilting text," in the opinion of School Library Journal critic Alice DiNizo, while in Kirkus Reviews a writer described Is There Really a Human Race? as "sound philosophy ingeniously expressed in an amusing and insightful" package.

Curtis and Cornell team up to introduce a precocious memoirist in When I Was Little, and then reflect upon the magic of birth in Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born and detail the stresses of childhood in It's Hard to Be Five. Calling Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born "an entertaining, idiosyncratic ramble" about an adopted child's questions about her past, Nancy Vasilakis added in Horn Book that Cornell's "cartoon-style pictures … are a perfect visual counterpart" to Curtis's story. Citing the artist's talent for studding her illustrations with "amusing visual asides," a Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded of the book: "It's hard to imagine a warmer celebration of the special joys of an adopted family." To pair with the rhyming text of It's Hard to Be Five, Cornell contributes "hilarious, detail-rich illustrations [that] effervesce with amusing asides" and propel Curtis's "engaging but unspectacular verse to another level, according to a Kirkus Reviews writer. The "boundless energy and changeable moods" of the book's five-year-old narrator as she battles to learn self-control are brought to life through the art's "on-target, hyperbolic humor" and "clever visual details," concluded a Publishers Weekly critic.

On her home page, Cornell discussed working with Curtis on the actress's picture-book projects. "What inspires me in these books is that Jamie's ideas are big and 'been-there,' either herself or through her children, or through her compassion and empathy," Cornell explained. "Her texts are touching, funny, and wonderfully conveyed. They allow me a subtext of little ideas. Her books address all kinds of kid and adult issues in a way that comes from remembering what it was like to be a kid. And her books rhyme! When I began reading to my daughter, it was the rhyme and rhythm of a book's text that held her attention, and mine."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, October 15, 1995, Lauren Peterson, review of Monsters in the Attic, p. 404; October 1, 1997, Lauren Peterson, review of Little Baby Bobby, p. 339; October 1, 2002, Karin Snelson, review of I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting off a Little Self-Esteem, p. 334; April 15, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Good Night Pillow Fight, p. 1440; October, 15, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel, p. 410; September 15, 2006, Ilene Cooper, review of Is There Really a Human Race?, p. 66.

Horn Book, January-February, 1997, Nancy Vasilakis, review of Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born, p. 50; November, 2000, Susan P. Bloom, review of WhereDo Balloons Go?: An Uplifting Mystery, p. 745; November-December, 2006, Roger Sutton, review of Is There Really a Human Race?, p. 698.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2002, review of I'm Gonna Like Me, p. 952; April 15, 2004, review of Good Night Pillow Fight, p. 392; August 1, 2004, review of It's Hard to Be Five, p. 740; July 15, 2006, review of Is There Really a Human Race?, p. 721.

Publishers Weekly, May 11, 1992, review of Lenora O'Grady, p. 72; July 19, 1993, review of When I Was Little: A Four Year Old's Memoir of Her Youth, p. 252; August 5, 1996, review of Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born, p. 441; August 11, 1997, review of Little Baby Bobby, p. 400; September, 30, 2002, review of I'm Gonna Like Me, p. 70; April 26, 2004, review of Good Night Pillow Fight, p. 64; September 6, 2004, review of It's Hard to Be Five, p. 62; July 31, 2006, review of Is There Really a Human Race?, p. 74.

School Library Journal, December, 2000, Marie Orlando, review of Where Do Balloons Go?, p. 106; October, 2002, Roxanne Burg, review of I'm Gonna Like Me, p. 100; July, 2004, Shelley B. Sutherland, review of Good Night Pillow Fight, p. 68; December, 2004, Wanda Meyer-Hines, review of It's Hard to Be Five, p. 105; August, 2006, Alice Dinizo, review of Is There Really a Human Race?, p. 78.

ONLINE

Laura Cornell Home Page,http://www.lauracornellbooks.com (May 15, 2008).

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