Delaney, Michael 1955- (M.C. Delaney, Michael Clark Delaney)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article
views updated

Delaney, Michael 1955- (M.C. Delaney, Michael Clark Delaney)

Personal

Born April 7, 1955; son of Thomas (a stockbroker) and Antoinette (an author and illustrator of children's books) Delaney; married Christine Hauck (a graphic artist), September 24, 1988; children: Emma. Education: New York University, B.A. (English), 1977.

Addresses

Agent—Wendy Schmalz, Harold Ober Associates, 425 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017.

Career

Writer and illustrator. Gourmet magazine, freelance illustrator, 1981-96; J. Walter Thompson, advertising copywriter, 1985-90.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

(Under name M.C. Delaney) The Marigold Monster, illustrated by brother, Ned Delaney, Dutton (New York, NY), 1983.

(Under name M.C. Delaney) Henry's Special Delivery, illustrated by Lisa McCue, Dutton (New York, NY), 1984.

(Under name M.C. Delaney) Not Your Average Joe, illustrated by Chris Burke, Dutton (New York, NY), 1990.

FOR CHILDREN; SELF-ILLUSTRATED

(Under name M.C. Delaney) Deep Doo Doo, Dutton (New York, NY), 1996.

Deep Doo Doo and the Mysterious E-Mail, Dutton (New York, NY), 2001.

Birdbrain Amos, Philomel (New York, NY), 2002.

The Great Sockathon, Dutton (New York, NY), 2004.

Birdbrain Amos, Mister Fun, Philomel (New York, NY), 2006.

OTHER

Cartoons and illustrations published in the New York Times, National Lampoon, and Saturday Review.

Sidelights

Michael Delaney began his career masquerading as M.C. Delaney, and under this alias he authored the first three of his entertaining stories for children. With his

1996 chapter book Deep Doo Doo and its sequel, Delaney took on illustration duties as well. He has continued to create art for each of the lighthearted children's stories he has written since, such as Birdbrain Amos, Birdbrain Amos, Mister Fun, and The Great Sockathon. Noting the "appealing cast of characters" that figures in the last-named story, School Library Journal contributor Beth L. Meister praised Delaney for concocting a "popular summer read" that mixes a small-town ghost story and the fast-moving adventures of four middle-grade friends with a dollop of "action and suspense."

In Deep Doo Doo Delaney introduces inventive twelve year olds Bennet and Pete, who create an electronic apparatus able to interrupt the televised speech of a gubernatorial candidate. When they replace the incumbent's image with film footage of Pete's dog and add a voice-over script revealing the hypocrisy of the candidate, their media hijinks result in the demise of the governor. When Bennet and Pete return in Deep Doo Doo and the Mysterious E-Mail, they are busy running the Deep Doo Doo Web site when a series of e-mails from a self-styled Mad Poet hints at a deep secret. Soon helped by sixth-grade classmate Elizabeth, the boys find themselves embroiled in local politics and the quest to discover who hoisted a pumpkin up the town-hall's flagpole. Linda Perkins, reviewing Deep Doo Doo for Booklist, declared that, although Delaney's grown-up characters "are caricatures" and his "premise farfetched," the story's young protagonists are "believable and very funny." A critic for Publishers Weekly predicted that elementary-grade readers will enjoy the tale's "swift action and political puns," while a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor cited Deep Doo Doo for serving up a "generous helping of political satire." Noting the series' roots in 1970s culture, Catherine Andronik wrote in a Booklist review of Deep Doo Doo and the Mysterious E-Mail that the novel will appeal to "technologically savvy middle-graders who happen to like mysteries." "Delaney's breezy colloquial style brings a couple of potentially nerdy boys to life," wrote School Library Journal contributor Ann Cook in a review of the same book, dubbing Deep Doo Doo and the Mysterious E-Mail a good choice for reluctant middle-grade readers.

Birdbrain Amos, a book for younger readers, follows a soft-hearted hippo as he searches for a way to escape from a swarm of pesky biting insects. Advertising for help, Amos is contacted by several birds, the third of which is Kumba the tick bird. While the hippo's bug problem is solved, he now has a new problem: Kumba has taken Amos at his word to "make yourself at home" and built a nest right between Amos's ears! When Kumba's three eggs hatch, the hippo is too caring to force the bird family to find a new home, even when a flock of assorted bird relatives arrives. Determined to show how good a friend he can be, Amos takes his tick-bird friends on a vacation to Africa's Serengeti in Birdbrain Amos, Mister Fun.

In a Horn Book review of Birdbrain Amos, Susan P. Bloom wrote that Delaney "gets the humor just right," while a Publishers Weekly critic dubbed the story a "humorous romp for readers just graduating to full-length fiction." According to Booklist contributor Susan Dove Lempke, the author/illustrator's "droll, cartoon drawings" "embellish the very funny story," while Bloom added that Delaney's "delicately caricatured line drawings capture the befuddled" quality of his endearing hippopotamus hero. In Birdbrain Amos, Mr. Fun the author/illustrator wins new fans, according to Bloom, the Horn Book critic citing Delaney's use of "snappy repetition, some very funny repartee, and comic cartoon pen-and-ink drawings."

Delaney once told SATA: "I began writing because I'm really not a very articulate person and I tend to say things that, later, I wish I'd said better and in a funnier way. Writing allows me to show that I am not quite the dunderhead I often think I sound.

"I strive to create books that readers, both young and old, enjoy reading. My hope, my dream, is to write a

book that one day finds its way into the ‘Classics’ section of the children's books section of the bookstore. (Ideally, I'd like it to be put there by an employee of the bookstore, rather than by some customer who happened to misplace it.)

"While writing Deep Doo Doo, I wanted to create a world in which the adults have made a real mess of things (in this case, politics) and children save the day. My other goal was to write a book that was fun to read. My writing has been influenced by, among others, F. Scott Fitzgerald and E.B. White.

"In addition to these outside influences, I come from a family of children's book authors and illustrators, all of whom, I am happy to say, are still very much on the scene. My mother has written and illustrated several picture books as well as illustrated for Sesame Street. My older brother, Ned, has written and illustrated dozens of picture books. And my sister, Molly, has written and illustrated a picture book. If only I had a sibling who was a children's book reviewer for the New York Times, I'd be all set."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 1997, Linda Perkins, review of Deep Doo Doo, pp. 858-859; March 1, 2001, Catherine Andronik, review of Deep Doo Doo and the Mysterious E-Mail, p. 1275; April 1, 2002, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Birdbrain Amos, p. 1323; August, 2004, Kay Weisman, review of The Great Sockathon, p. 1933.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July, 1984, review of Henry's Special Delivery, p. 202; February, 1997, review of Deep Doo Doo, p. 202; April, 2002, review of Birdbrain Amos, p. 278.

Horn Book, March-April, 2002, Susan P. Bloom, review of Birdbrain Amos, p. 211; July-August, 2006, Susan P. Bloom, review of Birdbrain Amos, Mister Fun, p. 439.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2003, review of Birdbrain Amos, p. 179; July 15, 2004, review of The Great Sockathon, p. 683; May 15, 2006, review of Birdbrain Amos, Mister Fun, p. 516.

Publishers Weekly, April 15, 1983, review of The Marigold Monster, p. 51; June 1, 1984, review of Henry's Special Delivery, p. 65; November 18, 1996, review of Deep Doo Doo, pp. 75-76; February 25, 2002, review of Birdbrain Amos, p. 67.

School Library Journal, May, 1983, review of The Marigold Monster, p. 58; October, 1984, review of Henry's Special Delivery, p. 156; December, 1989, Susan L. Rogers, review of Not Your Average Joe, p. 98; December, 1996, John Sigwald, review of Deep Doo Doo, p. 120; March, 2001, Ann Cook, review of Deep Doo Doo and the Mysterious E-Mail, p. 246; April, 2002, Linda L. Plevak, review of Birdbrain Amos, p. 103; August, 2004, Beth L. Meister, review of The Great Sockathon, p. 120; July, 2006, Quinby Frank, review of Birdbrain Amos, Mister Fun, p. 71.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1990, review of Not Your Average Joe, p. 342.

Washington Post Book World, June 25, 2006, Elizabeth Ward, review of Birdbrain Amos, Mister Fun, p. 11.

More From Encyclopedia.com


MORE ON THIS TOPIC