Janovitz, Marilyn

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Janovitz, Marilyn


Female. Education: Attended School of Visual Arts (New York, NY) and Philadelphia College of Art.


E-mail—[email protected]


Writer and illustrator. Has worked as a textile designer.



(Adapter) Baa Baa, Black Sheep, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1991.

(Adapter) Hickory Dickory Dock, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1991.

(Adapter) Hey Diddle Diddle, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1992.

(Adapter) Pat-a-Cake, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1992.

Is It Time?, North-South (New York, NY), 1994.

Look Out, Bird!, North-South (New York, NY), 1994.

Can I Help?, North-South (New York, NY), 1996.

Bowl Patrol!, North-South (New York, NY), 1996.

What Could Be Keeping Santa?, North-South (New York, NY), 1997.

Little Fox, North-South (New York, NY), 1999.

Good Morning, Little Fox, North-South (New York, NY), 2001.

(Adapter) Three Little Kittens, North-South (New York, NY), 2002.

We Love Christmas, Night Sky (New York, NY), 2003.

Maybe, My Baby, North-South (New York, NY), 2003.

A, B, See!, Chronicle (San Francisco, CA), 2005.

We Love School, North-South (New York, NY), 2007.

Author's work has been translated into Spanish.


Margaret Driscoll Timmons, The Ugly Duckling, Silver Burdett (Morristown, NJ), 1990.

Robert M. McClung, America's First Elephant, Morrow Junior (New York, NY), 1991.

Miriam Schlein, Just like Me, Hyperion (New York, NY), 1993.

Ann E. Burg, Pirate Pickle and the White Balloon, Children's Press (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including CIO, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Presstime, Ms., Macworld, Forbes, and Chief Executive.


In addition to having her work published in several major periodicals, Marilyn Janovitz has contributed art to picture books since the early 1990s. In 1991 Janovitz also produced the first of her many original self-illustrated titles, and her illustrations have appeared alongside retellings or adaptations of traditional children's stories.

One of Janovitz's early books, Look Out, Bird!, features an original rhyming story that follows a chain reaction that begins with a snail slipping, causing a bird to take flight and frighten a frog, the chain of catastrophes eventually returning to the snail. Annie Ayres commented on the "rollicking rhythm [and] abundant alliteration" of Janovitz's text in her Booklist review, while a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author/illustrator's "bold palette contrasts handsomely with her stark white backgrounds." Another simple story, What Could Be Keeping Santa?, is designed to appeal to the same early audience, showing the reindeer waiting for Santa and wondering why the jolly man is not yet ready to deliver presents. "The story is light and ephemeral," wrote Ilene Cooper in Booklist, while a Publishers Weekly contributor praised the book's "cheery pastel watercolor and colored-pencil art."

Little Fox, a young fox loves his mother's chair, finding it just right for cuddling, but sadly, the chair breaks. As Janovitz's story continues, Little Fox and his parents find a replacement. As Shelle Rosenfeld commented in Booklist, the author/illustrator's "airy, pastel pencil-and-watercolor illustrations [are] sparked with intricate textures and detail." In a sequel, Good Morning, Little Fox, Little Fox and his father face a scary new breakfast food: porridge. Mother Fox leaves the pair on their own while she runs errands, and when they become too hungry to wait for her to make them something different when she returns, Father Fox and son try the porridge and love it. "This sweet story will strike a chord with youngsters," wrote Marlene Gawron in her School Library Journal review, and in Booklist Gillian Engberg concluded that Janovitz's "images of lounging and rowdy housecleaning emphasize the bond between Little Fox and his dad."

Along with creating original tales, Janovitz retells traditional nursery rhymes in Baa Baa, Black Sheep and Three Little Kittens. Discussing the latter, Booklist critic Helen Rosenberg cited Janovitz's "delightful, brightly colored illustrations." A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that, while faithful to the original rhyme, the author/illustrator "reveal[s] a humorous back story

through full-bleed illustrations." In School Library Journal, Bina Williams wrote of Three Little Kittens that "the illustrations are bright and cheery with adorably mischievous felines."

In the alphabet book A, B, See!, Janovitz creates four-panel images in which each letter converts to an animal that begins its name with that letter. The book also features lift-the-flap elements that encourage readers to guess at the hidden pictures. The format of A, B, See! provides "an enticing invitation to play," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. The "colorful creatures will have great appeal to youngsters," according to Maura Bresnahan in School Library Journal.

Janovitz offers encouragement to kindergartners in We Love School!, a book that describes the fun of a kindergarten classroom. "This simple book will be a big hit," predicted Teresa Pfeifer in her School Library Journal review. In Booklist, Carolyn Phelan deemed the picture book "well designed to calm young children's jitters," and a Kirkus Reviews contributor called Janovitz's art for the book "visually sweet and wholesome."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, July, 1994, Annie Ayres, review of Look Out, Bird!, p. 1954; October 15, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of Bowl Patrol!, p. 435; May 1, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of Can I Help?, p. 1512; October 1, 1997, Ilene Cooper, review of What Could Be Keeping Santa?, p. 336; December 1, 1999, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Little Fox, p. 712; May 1, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Good Morning, Little Fox, p. 1690; October 1, 2002, Helen Rosenberg, review of Three Little Kittens, p. 328; August, 2007, Carolyn Phelan, review of We Love School!, p. 83.

Childhood Education, fall, 2001, Sherry Mowrey, review of Good Morning, Little Fox, p. 50.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2003, review of Maybe, My Baby, p. 232; June 1, 2005, review of A, B, See!, p. 638; June 15, 2007, review of We Love School.

Publishers Weekly, April 25, 1994, review of Look Out, Bird!, p. 76; October 6, 1997, review of What Could Be Keeping Santa?, p. 54; June 17, 2002, review of Three Little Kittens, p. 63; September 22, 2003, review of We Love Christmas!, p. 69.

School Library Journal, June, 2001, Marlene Gawron, review of Good Morning, Little Fox, p. 120; August, 2002, Bina Williams, review of Three Little Kittens, p. 158; July, 2005, Maura Bresnahan, review of A, B, See!, p. 90; December, 2007, Teresa Pfeifer, review of We Love School!, p. 92.


Marilyn Janovitz Home Page,http://www.marilynjanovitz.com (October 26, 2008).

North South Web site,http://www.northsouth.com/ (October 26, 2008), "Marilyn Janovitz."