Krosoczka, Jarrett J. 1977-
KROSOCZKA, Jarrett J. 1977-
Surname pronounced "Krah-ZAWS-ka"; born December 22, 1977, in Worcester, MA; son of Joseph (a factory owner) and Shirley (a homemaker) Krosoczka. Education: Attended University of Hartford, 1995-96; Rhode Island School of Design, B.F.A., 1999. Hobbies and other interests: Snowboarding, bowling, vintage video games.
Illustrator. Montserrat College of Art, instructor in painting and illustration; Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, CT, counselor for critically ill children.
Three Children's Book Council/International Reading Association Children's Choice awards.
Good Night, Monkey Boy, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 2001.
Baghead, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 2002.
Bubble Bath Pirates!, Viking (New York, NY), 2003.
Annie Was Warned, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 2003.
Max for President, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 2004.
Punk Farm, Alfred A. Knopf (New York, NY), 2005.
Author's works have appeared in French translations.
Work in Progress
Giddy up, Cowgirl! and Slug.
"All of my stories are somehow inspired by something that happens in my life," explained Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Trained as an illustrator, Krosoczka turned his creative talents toward creating children's picture books while a student at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. His first book, Good Night, Monkey Boy, signaled for both readers and critics the beginning of a successful career; within three years of its publication the prolific Krosoczka has had four other books published with many more in the works.
Good Night, Monkey Boy focuses on the age-old task of getting young children into bed at night. As his mother supervises, Krosoczka's monkey-pajama-clad youngster
attempts all manner of maneuvers to avoid climbing into bed, including getting toothpaste in his hair, feasting on one last banana, and swinging on the shower curtain, all to no avail. Similarly, Baghead focuses on another universal quandary of childhood: What to do when you've tried to cut your own hair and botched it? In Josh's case, a paper bag is the answer, with holes for his eyes and mouth. Fortunately, Josh's little sister thinks up a more practical solution to his problem: creating a punk do with super-strong hair gel. In School Library Journal Wendy Lukehart described the illustrations for Baghead as "quirky caricatures rendered in thick, layered brush strokes," while Booklist reviewer Todd Morning praised Krosoczka's "offbeat, humorous" text and "funny pictures that capture … Josh making it through his day."
Other books by Krosoczka include Bubble Bath Pirates! about two brothers who are forced to "walk the plank" into a bubble-filled ocean by their clever and imaginative mother, and a Halloween tale titled Annie Was Warned. In the latter book, a young girl is warned by her parents not to go trick-or-treating at the Montgomery Mansion, the scariest house in town. However, Annie is no coward where collecting candy is concerned, and besides, Halloween is her special day because it is also her birthday. Braving black cats, sinister tree branches, and the dark, she makes it to the darkened steps of the old house, to find something special in store. A Publishers Weekly reviewer described Annie Was Warned as "a delicious mix of suspense and wit," while in Booklist Hazel Rochman praised Krosoczka's "simple text" with its "delicious shivery moments" and the glow-in-the-dark illustrations as a perfect combination for read-alouds. The "effective use of perspective" and inclusion of "ominous-looking shadows" add to the scary fun in a book that School Library Journal reviewer Marianne Saccardi described as "guaranteed to haunt Halloween storyhours."
Citing his biggest influence as comic strip artist Charles Shultz and portrait painter John Singer Sargent, Krosoczka told Something about the Author: "My illustration career began just before graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1999. I was hired to illustrate two early readers for McGraw Hill. After graduating, I returned for another summer working at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and in September, moved to Boston. I worked on my portfolio, built a Web site to showcase my work (www.studiojjk.com), and showered publishers with promotional postcards. I visited various publishers a number of times until I was eventually invited in by an editor at Random House who saw promise in my work. I had already been sending out story ideas for a few years and had them rejected after each submission. But Random House picked up my first book, Good Night, Monkey Boy. Since then, I have been busy writing and illustrating and trying to keep up with the half dozen ideas I have in my head at any given time.
"It is my hope that kids enjoy my work and find pleasure in reading the text and the pictures. I love that kids are often inspired to create their own stories after reading my work.
"It can be hard to motivate yourself when you work at home, but I am in a sense always working. Ideas pop up when you least expect it, and I keep a sketchbook with me to write down ideas as they hit me. I usually begin my stories with notes and sketches. Eventually over time, those notes and sketches become full-blown manuscripts and dummy books. When the publisher accepts the story and sketches, I paint away until the book is done.
"My best advice for people who are trying to break in would be: Be tenacious in your submissions and during that time develop your craft and be on a constant quest for new stories."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, November 15, 2002, Todd Morning, review of Baghead, p. 611; October 15, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Annie Was Warned, p. 420.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 2003, Deborah Stevenson, review of Bubble Bath Pirates!
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2002, review of Baghead, p. 1036; January 1, 2003, review of Bubble Bath Pirates!, p. 62; July 15, 2003, review of Annie Was Warned, p. 965; June 15, 2004, review of Max for President, p. 578.
Publishers Weekly, May 28, 2001, review of Good Night, Monkey Boy, p. 86; August 12, 2002, review of Baghead, p. 299; November 25, 2002, review of Bubble Bath Pirates!, p. 65; August 4, 2003, review of Annie Was Warned, p. 78.
School Library Journal, June, 2001, Grace Oliff, review of Good Night, Monkey Boy, p. 122; October, 2002, Wendy Lukehart, review of Baghead, p. 115; September, 2003, Marianne Saccardi, review of Annie Was Warned, p. 182.
Studio JJK (author's Web site), http://www.studiojjk.com/ (October 22, 2004).