Fine, Howard 1961–
Fine, Howard 1961–
Born 1961; married; wife's name Rona; children: three. Education: Attended Bucknell University and Philadelphia College of Art.
Dentist and children's book author and illustrator.
National Education Association Children's Top 100 Book List, American Library Association (ALA) Notable Book designation, National Council Teachers of English Notable Trade Book in the Language Arts, New York Public Library selection, and several state book awards, all for Piggie Pie! by Margie Palatini; Volunteer State Book Award nomination and Wyoming Buckaroo Award nomination, both 2000-01, both for Zoom Broom by Palatini; Book Sense 76 Pick, for Dinosailors by Deb Lund; Best of the Best Picture Book citation, Chicago Public Library, 2004, Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading Book Award, 2005-06, Michigan Reads! One State, One Preschool Book Award and Missouri Building Block Award nomination, both 2006, and Missouri Show-Me Readers Book Award nomination, 2006-07, all for Bed Hogs by Kelly S. Dipucchio; International Reading Association Children's Choice designation, and Irma S. and James H. Black Award, both for Zak's Lunch by Palatini.
A Piggie Christmas, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2000.
Piggie's Twelve Days of Christmas, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2001.
Margie Palatini, Piggie Pie!, Clarion (New York, NY), 1995.
Karla Kuskin, The Upstairs Cat, Clarion (New York, NY), 1997.
Margie Palatini, Zoom Broom, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1998.
Margie Palatini, Zak's Lunch, Clarion (New York, NY), 1998.
Margie Palatini, Ding Dong Ding Dong, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1999.
Catherine E. Wright, Steamboat Annie and the Thousand-Pound Catfish, Philomel (New York, NY), 2001.
Nancy Shaw, Raccoon Tune, Holt (New York, NY), 2003.
Deb Lund, Dinosailors, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2003.
Mary Beth Lundgren, Seven Scary Monsters, Clarion (New York, NY), 2003.
Margie Palatini, Broom Mates, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2003.
Kelly S. DiPucchio, Bed Hogs, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2004.
Lilian Moore, Beware, Take Care: Fun and Spooky Poems, new edition, Holt (New York, NY), 2006.
Deb Lund, All aboard the Dinotrain, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.
Bruce Hale, Snoring Beauty, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.
As a middle-school student, Howard Fine decided that he would set aside his hobby of drawing in order to become a professional basketball player. After spending more than one season on the bench, he let go of the dream and decided to become a dentist instead. As Fine recalled on his home page, while attending dental school "drawing and I resumed our acquaintance. We've stayed friends ever since. I really discovered how much I loved to draw and that, even better, that I wasn't half bad at it." As an illustrator and a dentist, Fine has the best of both worlds: "Every day, I get to help people smile two ways: I help them have healthy teeth and my books give them a reason to grin."
Fine's first picture book, Piggie Pie!, was the first of several collaborations with popular writer Margie Palatini. Here, Fine's "bold, forceful, in-your-face illustrations are … absolutely suited to the story," according to Horn Book critic Ann A. Flowers, and Stephanie Zvirin cited "Fine's bold, expressive artwork" in her Booklist review. Illustrations for another Fine-Palatini collaboration, Zak's Lunch, "feature exaggerated close-ups and skewed perspectives, adding a frenzied quality" to the work. In Zoom Broom, which features references to famous witches and wizards, "Fine makes his own visual asides to pop-culture sorcery," according to a Publishers Weekly critic. Maryann H. Owen, reviewing the companion volume, Broom Mates, for School Library Journal, wrote that Fine's "paintings offer varying perspectives, close-ups, bright rich colors, and grossly humorous details."
Inspired by his work creating pig characters for his collaborations with Palatini, Fine has also created two original picture-book titles: A Piggie Christmas and Piggie's Twelve Days of Christmas. The first, described as an "irrepressibly jolly book" by Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan, features a number of variations and interpretations of traditional Christmas carols. Elizabeth Devereaux, reviewing the work for Publishers Weekly, deemed A Piggie Christmas "a little piece of hog heaven."
In addition to his work with Palatini, Fine has also illustrated books for other writers. His "realistic pastel illustrations help maintain the whimsy" in Karla Kuskin's text for The Upstairs Cat, according to a Publishers Weekly contributor. Zvirin, reviewing the same picture book for Booklist, wrote that, through his interesting "use [of] perspective," Fine creates "dynamic" illustrations that "solidly ground the story." The "the larger-than-life characters" Fine creates for Catherine E. Wright's Steamboat Annie and the Thousand-Pound Catfish "explode into life thanks to Fine's wonderfully expressive, detailed paintings." Discussing his work for Nancy Shaw's Raccoon Tune, a Kirkus Reviews writer noted that "Fine's oil paintings … are charming, mischievous, and dynamic." Readers of Mary Beth Lundgren's Seven Scary Monsters will be mesmerized by "the illustrations alone," predicted Gay Lynn Van Vleck in School Library Journal, and the illustrator's "comical, moonlit paintings plunge readers right into the thick of" Kelly S. Di Pucchio's Bed Hogs, according to a Publishers Weekly contributor. Hazel Rochman, writing in Booklist, praised "Fine's new illustrations," which "add deliciously shivery fun" to a new edition of Lilian Moore's poetry collection Beware, Take Care: Fun and Spooky Poems.
Working with Deb Lund, Fine introduces readers to fun-loving dinosaurs in both Dinosailors and All aboard the Dinotrain. In Dinosailors, his "dinosaurs are both identifiable, and in high spirits or low, easy to identify with," according to a Kirkus Reviews writer. Steven Engelfried, in School Library Journal, noted that Fine's art for this book contributes both "humor and appeal." Of All aboard the Dinotrain, a Publishers Weekly critic found the illustrator's juxtaposition of the goofy and the serious "hilarious," adding that Fine's "painterly brushstrokes and luminous, almost romantic pastel hues make the pictures seem like natural history museum murals as imagined by a daft paleontologist."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, September 1, 1995, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Piggie Pie!, p. 74; November 15, 1997, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Upstairs Cat, p. 565; October 1, 1998, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Zoom Broom, p. 336; September 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of A Piggie Christmas, p. 132; July, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Steamboat Annie and the Thousand-Pound Catfish, p. 2015; September 1, 2003, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Dinosailors, p. 129; November 1, 2003, Jennifer Mattson, review of Broom Mates, p. 505; April 1, 2006, John Peters, review of All aboard the Dinotrain, p. 48; September 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Beware, Take Care: Fun and Spooky Poems, p. 131.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 2001, review of Steamboat Annie and the Thousand-Pound Catfish, p. 41; January, 2004, Elizabeth Bush, review of Dinosailors, p. 197.
Horn Book, March-April, 1996, Ann A. Flowers, review of Piggie Pie!, p. 189.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2001, review of Steamboat Annie and the Thousand-Pound Catfish, p. 1372; May 15, 2003, review of Raccoon Tune, p. 756; June 15, 2003, review of Broom Mates, p. 862; September 15, 2003, review of Dinosailors, p. 1177; April 1, 2004, review of Bed Hogs, p. 328; March 1, 2006, review of All aboard the Dinotrain, p. 235; August 15, 2006, review of Beware, Take Care, p. 849.
Publishers Weekly, August 18, 1997, review of Piggie Pie!, p. 95; October 13, 1997, review of The Upstairs Cat, p. 74; April 27, 1998, review of Zak's Lunch, p. 66; November 9, 1998, review of Zoom Broom, p. 76; September 13, 1999, review of Ding Dong Ding Dong, p. 83; September 25, 2000, Elizabeth Devereaux, review of A Piggie Christmas, p. 67; October 29, 2001, review of Steamboat Annie and the Thousand-Pound Catfish, p. 63; April 28, 2003, review of Raccoon Tune, p. 69; August 4, 2003, review of Broom Mates, p. 77, review of Seven Scary Monsters, p. 79; September 8, 2003, review of Dinosailors, p. 75; May 17, 2004, review of Bed Hogs, p. 49; January 30, 2006, review of All aboard the Dinotrain, p. 68.
School Library Journal, October, 2000, review of A Piggie Christmas, p. 59; October, 2001, Susan Helper, review of Steamboat Annie and the Thousand-Pound Catfish, p. 134; July, 2003, Louise L. Sherman, review of Raccoon Tune, p. 106; September, 2003, Steven Engelfried, review of Dinosailors, p. 184; September, 2003, Gay Lynn Van Vleck, review of Seven Scary Monsters, p. 184, Maryann H. Owen, review of Broom Mates, p. 186; May, 2004, Carolyn Janssen, review of Bed Hogs, p. 109; May, 2006, Robin L. Gibson, review of All aboard the Dinotrain, p. 94; October, 2006, Margaret Bush, review of Beware, Take Care, p. 140.
Houghton Mifflin Web site,http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/ (July 3, 2007), "Howard Fine."
Howard Fine Home Page,http://www.howardfineillustration.com (July 3, 2007).