Born in Cleveland, OH; partner of Bobby Kelly. Education: Hamilton College, degree, 1984.
Home—New York, NY.
Freelance writer, beginning 1985. Graphic designer for Blue Coyote Theater Group.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Dramatist's Guild.
Parent's Choice Silver Medal, for The Beastly Feast; Child magazine Best Children's Book of the Year designation, 2002, for Why Is Blue Dog Blue?; New York
Times Book Review Editor's Choice designation, and Chicago Public Library Best of the Best, both 2006, and Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice designation, 2007, all for Great Estimations.
The Beastly Feast, illustrated by Blair Lent, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1998.
(Author of text) Why Is Blue Dog Blue?: A Tale of Colors, illustrated by George Rodrigue, Stewart, Tabori & Chang (New York, NY), 2001.
(With Marcel Marceau) Bip in a Book, photographs by Steven Rothfeld, Stewart, Tabori & Chang (New York, NY), 2001.
Ten Friends, illustrated by Heather Cahoon, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2001.
A Gnome's Christmas, illustrated by Rien Poortvliet, Harry N. Abrams (New York, NY), 2004.
Great Estimations, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2006.
Greater Estimations, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2008.
New York City-based author Bruce Goldstone presents young readers with an engaging challenge in Great Estimations. How do you estimate the number of jelly beans in a jar? Or paper clips? With the help of full-color photographs, Goldstone gives readers techniques for dealing with such challenges, teaching them how to recognize, by sight, what ten, one hundred, or even one thousand actually look like. Then readers learn to perform the analytical steps to estimate the volume of three-dimensional objects. Beginning with the number of jelly beans crowded into in the book's cover photograph, Great Estimations presents estimating challenges that feature everything from toys, swimmers in a pool, and bunnies to seeds, beens, and even grains of rice. Calling Great Estimations "a model of how to do it right," New York Times Book Review contributor Polly Shulman cited the volume for its "clearly defined topic," "cleanly arranged" photographs, and effective use of the picture-book format. Another math-based book by Goldstone, Ten Friends, was described by a Publishers Weekly reviewer as a "rollicking, rhyming approach to addition and multiplication."
In addition to writing picture-book texts and educational books for young readers, Goldstone has also participated in several interesting creative collaborations. His work with Cajun painter George Rodrigue resulted in Why Is Blue Dog Blue?: A Tale of Colors. In this vibrant picture book, Rodrigue's well-known blue pup, which the artist created in 1984, helps young readers learn to identify a surprisingly sophisticated spectrum of color. As an added appeal, older readers of Why Is Blue Dog Blue? are encouraged to "color outside the box" by "discover[ing] new colors and [learning to] use them creatively," as Gillian Engberg observed in her Booklist review.
Joining with world-famous French mime Marcel Marceau, Goldstone created the text for Bip in a Book which adapts Marceau's routine "The Cage" into picture-book form. Marceau's curious clown Bip, in his striped shirt and well-worn top hat, has been seen by
many as the mime's alter ego. Trapped in the thirty-two sequential printed pages of Goldstone's book, Bip makes every effort to escape, expressing a variety of emotions during his effort. Noting that Bip in a Book "makes brilliant use of both [Marceau's] … talents and the idea of the book as a physical object," according to a Publishers Weekly contributor. Goldstone conceived of the project, creating the page-by-page storyboard enacted by Marceau and captured in Steven Rothfeld's vivid photographs.
In addition to his collaborative works, Goldstone has produced several picture books, among them The Beastly Feast and A Gnome's Christmas. Dubbed "irresistible" by a Publishers Weekly contributor, The Beastly Feast finds a variety of animals attending a pot-luck picnic, with each creature bringing its own favorite foodstuff. His holiday-themed story A Gnome's Christmas features artwork by popular Dutch artist Rien Poortvliet and describes how Finnish gnomes celebrate Christmas. Goldstone's "textured language will delight" readers of The Beastly Feast, noted the Publishers Weekly critic, the reviewer also citing the book's "jocular" rhyming text and the "vibrant" linocut images by illustrator Blair Lent.
Goldstone told SATA: "I've been a writer since I was young, but I've always dabbled in art and design as well. One of the most exciting things about working on the ‘Great Estimations’ books is that I'm also the photo stylist, so I get to spend hours counting and arranging macaroni elbows, google eyes, fake cockroaches, and rubber ducks. I really get to help shape the look of the final books (along with the actual designer, Laurent Linn).
"Writing would be nothing without readers. I've been fascinated by books and words since our next-door neighbor read me a book called The Contented Little Pussy Cat by Frances Ruth Keeler. I remember being captivated by the word contented. I loved the idea that it meant sort of the same thing as happy, but not exactly the same thing. I still do.
"Books have always been a big part of my life, from buying dusty old paperbacks in any used bookstore I could find to my first job, shelving books as a page at the Shaker Heights Public Library. I even love that word: I was a page!
"In 2002, I decided it was about time I learned to speak another language, so I started taking Spanish lessons. One of the biggest joys of this ongoing project/struggle has been learning to read in Spanish. These days I feel just as proud and excited to finish a book in Spanish as I did when I first read Fox in Socks, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, or The Once and Future King.
"I make my living writing textbooks. I've written thousands of pages in pretty much any subject you can think of, from reading and math to social studies and science. I try to make my writing as interesting as possible, but even so, I'd like to officially apologize for any math problems or grammar worksheets that students found particularly annoying."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, June 1, 1998, Lauren Peterson, review of The Beastly Feast, p. 1779; June 1, 2002, Gillian Engberg, review of Why Is Blue Dog Blue?: A Tale of Colors, p. 1728; September 1, 2006, John Peters, review of Great Estimations, p. 131.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2006, review of Great Estimations, p. 904.
New York Times Book Review, November 12, 2006, Polly Shulman, review of Great Estimations, p. 24.
Publishers Weekly, May 18, 1998, review of The Beastly Feast, p. 77; June 18, 2001, review of Ten Friends, p. 81; November 12, 2001, review of Bip in a Book, p. 58.
School Library Journal, June, 1998, Barbara Kiefer, review of The Beastly Feast, p. 104; August, 2001, Dorian Chong, review of Ten Friends, p. 168; November, 2006, Grace Oliff, review of Great Estimations, p. 120.