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Katz, Bobbi 1933-

Katz, Bobbi 1933-


Born May 2, 1933, in Newburgh, NY; daughter of George and Margaret Shapiro; married Harold D. Katz (an optometrist), July 15, 1956; children: Joshua, Lori. Education: Goucher College, B.A. (with honors), 1954; also studied at Hebrew University. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Unitarian.


Home—Cornwall, NY. E-mail—[email protected]


Freelance writer and fashion editor in New York, NY, 1954-55; Department of Welfare, Newburgh, NY, social worker, 1956-59; Headstart, Newburgh, social worker, 1966-67. Greater Cornwall School District, creative writing consultant; Arts in Action radio program, host, 1969-71; Newburgh NAACP, education chairman, 1964-47; Orange County SANE and Citizens for Peace, chairman, 1960-61.


Authors Guild, Phi Beta Kappa.

Awards, Honors

National Council of Teachers of English Notable Book designation, 2001, for A Rumpus of Rhymes.



I'll Build My Friend a Mountain, Scholastic Book Services (New York, NY), 1972.

Nothing but a Dog, Feminist Press (New York, NY), 1972.

Upside-Down and Inside-Out, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1973.

The Manifesto and Me—Meg, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1974.

1,001 Words, Franklin Watts (New York, NY), 1974.

Rod and Reel Trouble, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1974.

Snow Bunny, illustrated by Michael Norman, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1976.

Volleyball Jinx, illustrated by Michael Norman, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1977.

(Selector) Bedtime Bear's Book of Bedtime Poems, illustrated by Dora Leder, Random House (New York, NY), 1983.

Birthday Bear's Book of Birthday Poems, illustrated by Louise Walton and Deborah Borgo, Random House (New York, NY), 1983.

Month by Month: A Care Bear Book of Poems, illustrated by Bobbi Barto, Random House (New York, NY), 1984.

Play with the Care Bears, illustrated by Bobbi Bardo, Random House (New York, NY), 1985.

A Popple in Your Pocket, and Other Funny Poems, illustrated by Joe Ewers, Random House (New York, NY), 1986.

Little Wrinkle's Surprise, illustrated by Guy Gilchrist, Happy House (New York, NY), 1987.

Peekaboo Animals, illustrated by Robin Kramer, Random House (New York, NY), 1989.

The Old Woman"s Counting Book, illustrated by Pat Sustendal, Random House (New York, NY), 1989.

The Creepy, Crawly Book, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, Random House (New York, NY), 1989.

Poems for Small Friends, illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa, Random House (New York, NY), 1989.

The Care Bears and the Big Cleanup, illustrated by Richard Kolding, Random House (New York, NY), 1991.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Don't Do Drugs: A Rap Song, illustrated by Isidre Mones, Random House (New York, NY), 1991.

Ghosts and Goose Bumps: Poems to Chill Your Bones, illustrated by Debra Kogan Ray, Random House (New York, NY), 1991.

Puddle Wonderful: Poems to Welcome Spring, illustrated by Mary Morgan, Random House (New York, NY), 1992.

A Family Hanukkah, illustrated by Caryl Herzfeld, Random House (New York, NY), 1992.

Meet Nelson Mandela, Random House (New York, NY), 1995.

The Story of Hanukkah, illustrated by Linda Dockey Graves, Random House (New York, NY), 1995.

Germs! Germs! Germs!, illustrated by Steve Björkman, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.

The Story of Passover, illustrated by Diane Paterson, Random House (New York, NY), 1996.

Could We Be Friends?: Poems for Pals, illustrated by Joung Un Kim, Mondo (Greenvale, NY), 1997.

Truck Talk: Rhymes on Wheels, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

Lots of Lice, illustrated by Steve Björkman, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

American History Poem, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Make Way for Tooth Decay, illustrated by Steve Björkman, Scholastic New York, NY), 1999.

We the People: Poems, illustrated by Nina Crews, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2000.

A Rumpus of Rhymes: A Book of Noisy Poems, illustrated by Susan Estelle Kwas, Dutton (New York, NY), 2001.

(Selector) Pocket Poems, illustrated by Marylin Hafner, Dutton (New York, NY), 2004.

Once around the Sun, illustrated by LeUyen Pham, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.

Trailblazers: Poems of Exploration, illustrated by Carin Berger, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2007.

Also author of educational materials for Scholastic Professional. Contributor of poetry to anthologies and magazines. Contributor of essay to Period Pieces: Stories for Girls, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.


A Family Hanukkah was adapted as an audiocassette, Random House, 1993.


A prolific author who began writing for children in the early 1970s, Bobbi Katz is primarily known for her poetry collections. In Once around the Sun she takes readers on a voyage through time from a child's perspective, following the changes that can be seen as the twelve months cycle through the calendar during the course of a single year. Praising LeUyen Pham's illustrations for the work as "brightly colored and full of energy," Hazel Rochman added in her Booklist review that Once around the Sun features a simple vocabulary that makes the collection "great for reading aloud." Katz's verses match Pham's art in their "visual and aural imagery as well as emotional intensity," noted Teresa Pfeifer in a School Library Journal review of the work, and a Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that "Katz's dozen poetic paeans are accessible tumbles of imagery."

Inspired by Katz's research into diaries, letters, and other original written source material, We the People: Poems introduces sixty-five notable Americans through first-person poems that illuminate the people, places, and events that comprise the country's history. Similar in concept, Trailblazers: Poems of Exploration allows readers to meet everyone from conquistadors to scientists as they bravely tread new ground. Could We Be Friends? Poems for Pals contains twenty-four poems that, with humor and an occasional whiff of sadness, focus on the close bonds between friends, family mem-

bers, and neighbors, while in Pocket Poems Katz collects over fifty favorite childhood verses designed for easy memorization. In addition to five of her own works, Pocket Poems includes verse by a wide variety of authors, from nineteenth-century poets Emily Dickinson and Lewis Carroll to modern-day rhymers Jack Prelutsky, Aileen Fisher, and William Cole. Decorated with watercolor-and-ink cartoons by Marylin Hafner, Pocket Poems was praised by School Library Journal contributor Lee Bock as a "child-friendly collection" perfectly sized to tuck into a pocket for use whenever the need for a short verse arises.

Commenting on Katz's work in the New York Times Book Review, Marighy Dupuy wrote: "Not only are her poems engaging and lively, but she puts the words themselves front and center." The words that appear "front and center" in the twenty-eight verses assembled in A Rumpus of Rhymes: A Book of Noisy Poems are particularly delightful; as Lauren Peterson noted in Booklist, they offer young readers a chance "to be loud and silly" due to "an abundance of onomatopoeia." Noting that Katz's "rambunctious collection begs to be shared out loud," School Library Journal contributor Margaret C. Howell also praised the book's varied fonts, as well as the variety of rhythms that appear in the work.

As she noted on her home page, Katz never lacks for ideas. "Our planet pulses with life; from teeny, tiny

germs to gigantic elephants and whales," she explained. "And people are the most amazing of all. Ideas are all around saying, ‘Choose me!’ ‘Choose me!’" Discussing the difference between being a poet and writing prose, she once told SATA: "My poetry always comes from inside—from my deep need to express a feeling. The child in me writes picture books. My fiction is almost not mine. The characters emerge and seem to tell their own stories. Even when writing within rigid boundaries that editors sometimes set, I find the characters become very real to me. I care what happens to them."

"I write only for children because I desperately want to return childhood to them," Katz added. "I hope to join those writers and artists who delight, sensitize, and give hope to children."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, September 1, 2001, Lauren Peterson, review of A Rumpus of Rhymes: A Book of Noisy Poems, p. 111; October, 1, 2001, Isabel Schon, review of Germs! Germs! Germs!, p. 328; February 1, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Pocket Poems, p. 978; April 15, 2006, Hazel Rochman review of Once around the Sun, p. 49.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 2006, Deborah Stevenson, review of Once around the Sun, p. 504.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2001, review of A Rumpus of Rhymes, p. 942; February 15, 2004, review of Pocket Poems, p. 180; March 15, 2006, review of Once around the Sun, p. 293.

New York Times Book Review, November 18, 2001, Marighy Dupuy, review of A Book of Noisy Poems, p. 37.

School Library Journal, November, 2001, Margaret C. Howell, review of A Rumpus of Rhymes, p. 146; February, 2004, Lee Bock, review of Pocket Poems, p. 132; April, 2006, Nina Lindsay, review of We the People: Poems, p. 57; May, 2006, Teresa Pfeifer, review of Once around the Sun.


Bobbi Katz Home Page, (June 15, 2007).

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