Fleming, Candace 1962–

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Fleming, Candace 1962–

(Candace Groth-Fleming)

Personal

Born May 24, 1962; daughter of Charles (a superintendent) and Carol (a homemaker) Groth; married Scott Fleming (in commercial real estate), November 9, 1985; children: Scott, Michael. Education: Eastern Illinois University, B.A., 1985. Religion: Lutheran. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, collecting antiquarian books, camping, hiking, travel.

Addresses

Office—415 E. Golf Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Author. Harper College, Palatine, IL, adjunct professor of liberal arts, 1997—.

Member

Authors Guild Midwest.

Awards, Honors

Highlights for Children History Feature of the Year citation, 1995, and Patriotic Feature of the Year, 1996; Best Juvenile Trade Book of the Year designation, Chicago Women in Publishing, 1996, for Women of the Lights; Notable Book citation, American Library Association, and Parents' Choice Silver Honor designation, both 1997, both for Gabriella's Song; Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts citation, National Council of Teachers of English, 1997, for Gabriella's Song, and 1998, for The Hatmaker's Sign; Parenting Best Book of the Year designation, American Folklore Society Aesop Award, and International Reading Association/Storytelling World Award, all 1998, and State of New York's Charlotte Book Award, 2000, all

for The Hatmaker's Sign; One Hundred Books for Reading and Sharing designation, New York Public Library, 1999, for When Agnes Caws; CCBC Choice designation, 2000, for When Agnes Caws and A Big Cheese for the White House; Best Children's Book citation, Bank Street College of Education, 2000, for A Big Cheese for the White House.

Writings

(Under name Candace Groth-Fleming) Professor Fergus Fahrenheit and His Wonderful Weather Machine, illustrated by Don Weller, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1994.

Women of the Lights, illustrated by James Watling, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1995.

Madame LaGrande and Her So High, to the Sky, Uproarious Pompadour, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 1996.

Gabriella's Song, illustrated by Giselle Potter, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1997.

Westward Ho, Carlotta!, illustrated by David Catrow, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1998.

The Hatmaker's Sign: A Story by Benjamin Franklin, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1998.

A Big Cheese for the White House: The True Tale of a Tremendous Cheddar, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, D.K. Ink (New York, NY), 1999.

Who Invited You?, illustrated by George Booth, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2000.

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, illustrated by G. Brian Karas, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2001.

When Agnes Caws, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.

Boxes for Katje, illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2003.

This Is the Baby, illustrated by Maggie Smith, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2003.

Ben Franklin's Almanack: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman's Life, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2003.

Gator Gumbo: A Spicy-Hot Southern Tale, illustrated by Sally Ann Lambert, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2004.

Smile, Lily!, illustrated by Yumi Heo, Athenum (New York, NY), 2004.

This Is the Baby, pictures by Maggie Smith, Melanie Kroupa Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2005.

Lowji Discovers America, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2005.

Sunny Boy!: The Life and Times of a Tortoise, pictures by Anne Wilsdorf, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2005.

Tippy-Tippy-Tippy-Hide!, illustrated by G. Brian Karas, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2007.

The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School, Schwartz & Wade Books (New York, NY), 2007.

The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary, Schwartz & Wade Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Contributor to magazines, including Boys' Life and American Baby.

Sidelights

Candace Fleming is the author of several children's picture books that weave elements of history and tradition within fanciful tales often featuring animal protagonists. Her counting book Who Invited You? was described as a "clever cumulative counting caper" by an enthusiastic Publishers Weekly contributor, while in The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School she combines well-known fables salted with word play into a story about an unruly class of students and produces what a Kirkus Reviews critic dubbed "a winner."

Featuring artwork by G. Brian Karas, Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! echos Beatrix Potter's classic childhood story Peter Rabbit in its tale of three rabbits. In Fleming's version, the bunnies are poised to raid the garden of Mr. McGreely, a man whose efforts to preserve his beautifully maintained vegetable garden may all be for naught. In a sequel, Tippy-Tippy-Tippy-Hide!, the battle between gardener and hungry bunnies continues, as the floppy-eared creatures infiltrate Mr. McGreely's home and cause the frustrated farmer to lock himself into his own house. In School Library Journal Lisa Gangemi Krapp dubbed Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! "a hilarious hop through the garden," while Gillian Engberg praised Fleming's book as a "delightful offering" complete with "hilarious, slapdash problem solving and irresistible sounds." The "irresistible rhyme and onomatopoeia" in Tippy-Tippy-Tippy-Hide! "will read-aloud well to a rowdy crowd," predicted Gillian Engberg in Booklist, while in School Library Journal Martha Topol concluded that, with its "lighthearted conflict, lively language, and those mischievous, childlike bunnies," Fleming's "sassy sequel will please fans of the first book."

Turning to history, Fleming's award-winning The Hatmaker's Sign: A Story by Benjamin Franklin, retells a story first related by the eighteenth-century inventor and statesman. In A Big Cheese for the White House: The True Tale of a Tremendous Cheddar the author mines U.S. history again, this time coming up with a humorous tale based on an actual 1801 newspaper headline from Cheshire, Massachusetts in which a 1,235-pound wheel of cheese took a trip south to Washington, DC as a gift for President Thomas Jefferson. Fleming gets creative with the life of one of the most famous women of the early twentieth century in Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life by creating a fictional memoir comprised of phonographs and other ephemera capturing the life of America's first lady. Noting that Roosevelt is the focus of several books for younger readers, Booklist critic John Peters ranked Our Eleanor as "something special," and fellow Booklist critic Jennifer Mattson deemed Fleming's biography an "intimate, unvarnished, and ultimately deeply moving portrait." A similar profile is presented in The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary, which returns readers to the mid-nineteenth century and the president whose life was taken during the U.S. Civil War.

"I remember the day I discovered the music and magic of words," Fleming once commented. "It was the day my second-grade teacher, Miss Johnson, held up a horn-shaped basket filled with papier-mâché pumpkins and asked the class to repeat the word ‘cornucopia.’ It sounded good. I said it again, and again, and I decided I loved that word. I loved its rhythm and cadence. I loved the way it felt on my tongue and fell on my ears. I skipped all the way home from school that day chanting ‘Cornucopia! Cornucopia!’ From then on, I really began listening to words—to the sounds they made, and the way they were used, and how they made me feel. I longed to put them together in ways that were beautiful, and yet told a story.

"Now, my family and close friends will tell you that I have always made up stories. My mother loves to tell of the time I regaled our next-door neighbor with tales of our family trip to Paris, France. So vivid were my descriptions of that romantic city that my neighbor believed every word I said. I can only imagine his chagrin when he learned I had never been beyond my home state of Indiana.

"I told many stories like this. My classmates heard the saga of my three-legged dog Tiger. My Sunday school teacher listened, wide-eyed, as I told the tale of the ghost in our attic. Lots of people heard my tall tales. Lots of people believed them.

"Technically, I suppose you could call this lying. Fortunately, I had parents who understood the difference between imagination and lies. They encouraged me to make up stories, but they strongly suggested that I not claim these stories as truth. Eventually, I took their advice.

"The result? My love of language and my need to tell a good story merged, and I became a writer. I filled notebook after notebook with my stories, poems, and plays. I couldn't stop the flow of words and ideas that rushed from my pencil, and I didn't try. Often, I arrived home from school, closed my bedroom door, and wrote for hours on end. When I wasn't writing, I was reading, and if something I read sparked my imagination, I would start writing all over again.

"I still have many of those notebooks today. I cherish them. They are a record of my writing life, from second grade to the present. In them I can see my struggle to tell a good and believable story. I can see my struggle to use musical language. I can't help but recognize that these are the same struggles I have as a writer today. They are also my goals. I want to tell you a good story. I want to tell it in a believable way. And I want to tell it with language that opens your ears to the music and magic of words."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 1998, Helen Rosenberg, review of Westward Ho, Carlotta!, p. 1520; February 15, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, review of When Agnes Caws, p. 95; November 1, 1999, Hazel Rochman, review of A Big Cheese for the White House: The True Tale of a Tremendous Cheddar, p. 538; October 15, 2001, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of Who Invited You?, p. 400; January 1, 2002, Gillian Engberg, review of Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, p. 851; September 1, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable Life, p. 108; December 15, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Hide!, p. 51; July 1, 2007, Kathleen Isaacs, review of The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School, p. 59.

Horn Book, March-April, 1998, Mary M. Burns, review of The Hatmaker's Sign: A Story by Benjamin Franklin, p. 212; March, 1999, Susan P. Bloom, review of When Agnes Caws, p. 188; September, 1999, Mary M. Burns, review of A Big Cheese for the White House, p. 594.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 1996, p. 687; September 1, 2005, review of Our Eleanor, p. 972; July 1, 2007, review of The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School.

Publishers Weekly, May 25, 1998, review of Westward Ho, Carlotta!, p. 88; December 21, 1998, review of When Agnes Caws, p. 67; September 27, 1999, review of A Big Cheese for the White House, p. 105; October 1, 2001, review of Who Invited You?, p. 61; December 10, 2001, review of Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, p. 69; December 18, 2006, review of Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Hide!, p. 62; August 13, 2007, review of The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School, p. 67.

School Library Journal, April, 1998, Jack Hechtopf, review of The Hatmaker's Sign, p. 98; July, 1998, Steven Engelfried, review of Westward Ho, Carlotta!, p. 74; February, 1999, Luann Toth, review of When Agnes Caws, p. 84; August, 1999, Amy Lilien-Harper, review of A Big Cheese for the White House, p. 134; October, 2001, Linda Ludke, review of Who Invited You?, p. 114; February, 2002, Lisa Gangemi Kropp, review of Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, p. 100; October, 2005, review of Lowji Discovers America, p. 41; March, 2006, John Peters, review of Our Eleanor, p. 90; January, 2007, Martha Topol, review of Tippy-Tippy-Tippy, Hide!, p. 92.

ONLINE

Candace Fleming Home Page,http://www.candacefleming.com (July 10, 2008).