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Geis, Alissa Imre 1976-

Geis, Alissa Imre 1976-

Personal

Born 1976; married; children: two sons. Education: Rhode Island School of Design, B.F.A. (illustration), 1998.

Addresses

Home—MA. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Author and illustrator.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Neil's Castle, Viking (New York, NY), 2004.

ILLUSTRATOR

Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Winnie (Dancing) on Her Own, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2001.

Jennifer Wilgocki and Marcia Kahn Wright, Maybe Days: A Book for Children in Foster Care, Magination Press (Washington, DC), 2002.

Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Truly Winnie, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.

Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Winnie at Her Best, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2006.

Peggy Moss and Dee Dee Tardif, Our Friendship Rules, Tilbury House (Gardiner, ME), 2007.

Sidelights

Alissa Imre Geis is a Massachusetts-based illustrator and writer whose artwork has been paired with the texts of writers such as Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Leah Key, and Peggy Moss. Using a mix of gouache painting, pencil line drawings, and found-paper collage, Geis has a distinct style that incorporates engaging characters, patterned highlights, and clear fields of color. Her original picture book Neil's Castle focuses on creativity and determination in its story about a boy who dreams of owning a castle and, with his father's help, brings his dream to life. In School Library Journal, Piper L. Nyman wrote that Geis's "color-rich illustrations are evocative … and complement the quiet simplicity of the story."

Elementary-grade fans of Jacobson's "Winnie" books are familiar with Geis's drawings, which appear throughout the pages of Winnie (Dancing) on Her Own, Truly Winnie, and Winnie at Her Best. The chapter books follows Winnie Fletcher as she copes with her mother's death while also taking up ballet dancing, having fun times with friends, and wrestling with school assignments as she makes her way through her elementary-grade years. In her Horn Book review of Winnie at Her Best, Christine M. Hepperman wrote that Geis's "graceful black-and-white sketches of the characters are by turns pensive and warm and open, showing Winnie doing what she does best—being a caring friend." Appraising the same title, Tina Zubak noted in School Library Journal that the artist's "simple line drawings add charm and whimsy and effectively depict the characters' feelings," while a Kirkus Reviews critic praised the "winsome line drawings" in Truly Winnie. In Booklist, Carolyn Phelan wrote that Geis's drawings for Winnie at Her Best "featur[e] … a beautiful economy of line" and contribute to a story that is "a rewarding choice for young readers."

"Drawing is rather … like hiking in the woods and following a sense of direction …," Geis explained to Elaine Magliaro in an interview for Wild Rose Reader online. "The text is like a loose map. It keeps correcting my course with ideas of what I think I want, with what the text requires but mostly just with those little tugs of instinct. Almost always I listen to music while

drawing, which distracts the overly critical part of my brain enough that I can feel those little tugs and keep going. And keeping myself going is critical, because each mark, each sketch builds on the previous and it takes many, many sketches to get to the right one—just like it can take miles of walking to get out of the woods."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of Winnie (Dancing) on Her Own, p. 232; August 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Winnie at Her Best, p. 88.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 2006, Deborah Stevenson, review of Winnie at Her Best, p. 76.

Horn Book, September-October, 2006, Christine M. Heppermann, review of Winnie at Her Best, p. 586.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2001, review of Winnie (Dancing) on Her Own, p. 1125; August 1, 2003, review of Truly Winnie, p. 1018; March 15, 2004, review of Neil's Castle, p. 269.

School Library Journal, November, 2003, Jean Gaffney, review of Truly Winnie, p. 96; May, 2004, Piper L. Nyman, review of Neil's Castle, p. 110; September, 2006, Tina Zubak, review of Winnie at Her Best, p. 174.

ONLINE

Alissa Imre Geis Home Page,http://www.alissaimregeis.com (May 5, 2008).

Alissa Imre Geis Web log,http://.rcsn.blogspot.com (May 1, 2008).

Wild Rose Reader Online,http://wildrosereader.blogspot.com/ (October 1, 2007), Elaine Magliaro, interview with Geis.

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