Cronin, Doreen 1966(?)–
Cronin, Doreen 1966(?)–
(Doreen A. Cronin)
Born c. 1966, in New York, NY; daughter of a police officer; married; husband's name Andrew (an attorney); children: Julia. Education: Pennsylvania State University, B.A., 1988; St. John's Law School, J.D., 1998. Hobbies and other interests: Writing, collecting antique typewriters, baseball.
Writer and attorney. Mound, Cotton, Wollan & Greengrass, New York, NY, associate commercial attorney. Admitted to the Bar of New York State. Also worked as an editor and rights/permissions manager.
Caldecott Honor Book distinction, 2000, for Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, illustrated by Betsy Lewin; Book Sense Book of the Year Award nomination, 2003, for Giggle, Giggle, Quack.
Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
Giggle, Giggle, Quack, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
Diary of a Worm, illustrated by Harry Bliss, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY) 2003.
Duck for President, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.
Wiggle, illustrated by Scott Menchin, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2005.
Diary of a Spider, illustrated by Harry Bliss, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack: An Alphabet Adventure, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2005.
Dooby Dooby Moo, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Athenum (New York, NY), 2006.
Click, Clack, Splish, Splash: A Counting Adventure, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2006.
Diary of a Fly, illustrated by Harry Bliss, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Bounce, illustrated by Scott Menchin, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2007.
Author's books have been translated into French and Spanish.
Cronin's books have been adapted for audiobooks and filmstrips.
Doreen Cronin's path to a career in children's literature has taken some unusual turns. Working first as an editor in New York City's publishing industry, she left that field after completing her law degree at St. John's Law School. Her first children's book, the award-winning Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type was actually inspired by her father, a police officer with a wonderful sense of humor who died while Cronin was practicing law. When the book found success, Cronin decided to take a right-hand turn in her career path: she traded her high-stress job as a commercial attorney at a New York firm for life as a full-time children's book author. "I wake up in the morning and I can't believe I'm so lucky," Cronin told Book contributor Kathleen Odeon of her surprising career switch.
Brought to life in illustrations by Betsy Lewin, Click, Clack, Moo finds Farmer Brown's cows tired of living in their unheated old barn. Deciding to go on strike, they first refuse to produce milk. Then, using an old manual typewriter found in the barn, the discontented bovines list their demands and present them to the perplexed farmer. Soon the chickens join in on the work stoppage, leaving the neutral ducks to begin negotiations between the feuding animals and the farmer. School Library Journal contributor Maura Bresnahan called Click, Clack, Moo "a terrific picture-book debut" that presents "a laugh-out-loud look at life on a very funny farm." Several reviewers noted that, while pre-schoolers might not have a familiarity with old typewriters, they should nevertheless enjoy the story. Writing in Booklist, Hazel Rochman suggested that readers will "love the slapstick of the domesticated animals who get the farmer to toe the line," and in Horn Book a critic predicted that children, even unaware of "the racket of a real typewriter, … will certainly be familiar with the art of negotiation, and will soon be chanting" along with Cronin's amusing characters.
Described by a Publishers Weekly contributor as a "clever and funny sequel" to Click, Clack, Moo, Giggle, Giggle, Quack finds Farmer Brown off for a vacation, leaving brother Bob with instructions on how to care for the farmyard. Intercepting the handwritten orders, clever Duck finds a pencil and makes a few alterations, and soon poor Bob is ordering pizza for the farmyard, giving the pigs a bubble bath, and hosting film nights. Reviewing Giggle, Giggle, Quack, Rochman wrote that "the mischief and the mayhem will appeal to little ones who chafe at being domesticated," while Horn Book reviewer Peter D. Sieruta noted that Cronin and Lewin's "crafty critters" star in a farmyard tale that "contains plenty of sly humor."
Cronin revisits Farmer Brown and his barnyard in several other books, all collaborations with Lewin. In Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack: An Alphabet Adventure Duck decides that a picnic is the perfect way to pass a pleasant summer day. As the farm's inhabitants pack up their red wagon and set off on the outing, Cronin's text makes its way through the alphabet, pairing letters with words and pictures, X marking the picnic spot. Praising the "jovial, bouncy tone" used in the book's alliterative text, a Publishers Weekly contributor added that Lewin's upbeat watercolor illustrations "brim with personality and humorous detail." According to School Library Journal reviewer Maura Bresnahan, Cronin and Lewin "work … in perfect harmony to create a colorful and funny story with highly expressive animals." Similar in format, Click, Clack, Splish, Splash: A Counting Adventure takes readers on a Duck-led fishing trip that a Kirkus Reviews writer dubbed a "must-have sequel to all of Duck's adventures."
Duck, the chief instigator in most of Cronin's "Farmer Brown" tales, returns in Duck for President and Dooby Dooby Moo. In Duck for President the feathered fowl becomes a little too ambitious for his own good. When Duck decides that working for Farmer Brown is too limiting for his talents, he stages a farmyard election and wins the reins of power from the beleaguered farmer. Running a farm is hard work, however, so clever Duck continues his climb up the political ladder. Elected to governor because his stump speeches are incomprehensible, he eventually becomes a U.S. president before realizing that he misses the farmyard life. Dooby Dooby Moo finds bossy Duck determined to stage a show-stopping entertainment for the upcoming county fair. As Farmer Brown sleeps, the barnyard hosts nightly rehearsals, and when fair time comes they sneak away from the unwitting farmer and win the gold.
In a School Library Journal review of Duck for President, Jane Barrer wrote that Cronin's "hilarious" text "includes a little math and quite a bit about the electoral process," and a Kirkus Reviews writer maintained that Cronin's "sidesplitting" story contains "sufficient hilarity" to keep both adults and children entertained. "Comical watercolor illustrations provide the punch lines to many jokes within the well-paced text," wrote Julie Roach in a review of Dooby Dooby Moo for School Library Joural, and a Publishers Weekly critic called the book an "off-the-wall tale poised to deliver giggles galore." While Cronin's "clever, deadpan story is fun," Lewin's "droll illustrations … ratchet the comedy up a notch or two," Carolyn Phelan concluded in her Booklist review of the collaborative effort.
Admitting that Duck is actually her alter ego, Cronin also noted in a Booksense online interview with Linda M. Castellitto that her collaboration with Lewin has been an enjoyable one. Unlike many working relationships of this type, Cronin and Lewin stay in frequent contact during each project, and through their work the two women have become friends. "It's actually pretty funny, but one of our major concerns is whether the actions in the book are ‘true to character,’" Cronin admitted to Castellitto. "The original version of Giggle, Giggle, Quack had Duck answering the phone when Farmer Brown calls to check in. Betsy was adamant that Duck would never be dumb enough to answer the phone! She was right!"
In addition to her work with Lewin, Cronin has been involved with another successful collaboration. Working with illustrator Harry Bliss, she has produced Diary of a Spider and Diary of a Worm, both of which present amusing, small-scale dramas that play out in Bliss's detailed illustrations. In Diary of a Worm readers are given a ground-level view of a young worm's day, and learn what life is like when one has no arms and no legs. In diary form, Cronin depicts the challenging worm-school curriculum, Worm's dread of becoming bait on a fisherman's hook, his love of eating garbage, and his fun with best friend Spider. Reviewing Diary of a Worm in Horn Book, Peter D. Sieruta noted that Cronin "places her protagonist in situations that every kid can relate to," and "includes the gentlest of ecological messages." "Each turn of the page will bring fresh waves of giggles," a Kirkus Reviews contributor predicted, while Rochman cited the excellent pairing of Cronin's "verbal puns" and Bliss's "wry, colorful cartoons." Praising the companion volume, Diary of a Spider, Beverly Combs wrote in School Library Journal that Bliss's illustrations "expand the sublime silliness" of Spider's daily diary. Noting the young arachnid's "terse, tongue-in-cheek" asides, a Kirkus Reviews dubbed Diary of a Spider a "brilliantly hilarious" collaboration.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Book, July-August, 2003, Kathleen Odean, "Unanimous Verdict: For These Lawyers, the Decision's In: Kids Are a More Rewarding Audience than Jurors," p. 31.
Booklist, April 1, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, p. 1468; April 15, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Giggle, Giggle, Quack, p. 1407; October 1, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Diary of a Worm, p. 326; May 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Wiggle, p. 1586; September 15, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack: An Alphabet Adventure, p. 71; January 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Click, Clack, Splish, Splash: A Counting Adventure, p. 109; August 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Dooby Dooby Moo, p. 84.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2002, review of Giggle, Giggle, Quack, p. 360; October, 2003, Deborah Stevenson, review of Diary of a Worm, p. 55; July-August, 2005, Timnah Card, review of Wiggle, p. 77; March, 2006, Heather Morrison, review of Click, Clack, Splish, Splash, p. 306.
Horn Book, March, 2000, review of Click, Clack, Moo, p. 183; May-June, 2002, Peter D. Sieruta, review of Giggle, Giggle, Quack, p. 313; November-December, 2003, Peter D. Sieruta, review of Diary of a Worm, p. 728; September-October, 2005, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Wiggle, p. 560; November-December, 2005, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Diary of a Spider, p. 704.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2002, review of Giggle, Giggle, Quack, p. 565; August 1, 2003, review of Diary of a Worm, p. 1014; January 1, 2004, review of Duck for President, p. 35; June 1, 2005, review of Wiggle, p. 635; July 1, 2005, review of Diary of a Spider, p. 732; September 1, 2005, review of Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack, p. 971; January 1, 2006, review of Click, Clack, Splish, Splash, p. 38; July 15, 2006, review of Dooby Dooby Moo, p. 720.
New York Times Book Review, August 11, 2002, Reed Abelson, review of Giggle, Giggle, Quack, p. 19; February 16, 2004, review of Duck for President, p. 170; September 19, 2004, review of Duck for President, p. 16; January 15, 2006, Emily Jenkins, review of Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack, p. 18.
Publishers Weekly, February 21, 2000, review of Click, Clack, Moo, p. 86; April 15, 2002, review of Giggle, Giggle, Quack, p. 63; May 23, 2005, review of Wiggle, p. 77; August 22, 2005, review of Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack, p. 62; November 21, 2005, review of Click, Clack, Splish, Splash, p. 46; June 19, 2006, review of Dooby Dooby Moo, p. 61; March 5, 2007, review of Bounce, p. 59.
School Library Journal, December, 2000, Maura Bresnahan, review of Click, Clack, Moo, p. 52; October, 2003, Marge Loch-Wouters, review of Diary of a Worm, p. 116; March, 2004, Jane Barrer, review of Duck for President, p. 155; June, 2005, Kathy Krasniewicz, review of Wiggle, p. 107; August, 2005, Beverly Combs, review of Diary of a Spider, p. 87; June, 2006, Steven Engelfried, review of Diary of a Worm, p. 55; September, 2005, Barbara Auerbach, review of Click, Clack, Moo and Duck for President, p. 58; November, 2005, Maura Bresnahan, review of Click, Clack, Quackity-Quack, p. 89; January, 2006, Rosalyn Pierini, review of Click, Clack, Splish, Splash, p. 94; August, 2006, Julie Roach, review of Dooby Dooby Moo, p. 78.
BookSense,http://www.booksense.com/people/ (April 15, 2007), Linda M. Castellitto, interview with Cronin and Lewin.
Doreen Cronin Home Page,http://www.doreencronin.com (April 15, 2007).