Leedy, Loreen 1959-(Loreen Janelle Leedy)

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Leedy, Loreen 1959-(Loreen Janelle Leedy)


Personal


Born June 15, 1959, in Wilmington, DE; daughter of James Allwyn (an auditor) and Grace Anne (a homemaker) Leedy; married Andrew Schuerger (a scientist), April 27, 2002. Education: Attended Indiana University—Bloomington, 1978-79; University of Delaware, B.A. (art; cum laude), 1981. Hobbies and other interests: Making beaded jewelry, art quilting, reading.

Addresses


Home—FL. E-mail—[email protected]

Career


Author and illustrator. Craftsperson, specializing in jewelry, 1982-84; freelance writer and illustrator, 1984—. Speaker at schools and conventions. Exhibitions: Work exhibited at Society of Illustrators' Original Art Show, 1994, 2003; Florida Illustrators show, 1997-99; Martin County Council for the Arts, 2000; and Greensburgh Nature Center, Scarsdale, NY.

Member


Authors Guild, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Awards, Honors


Parents' Choice Award for Illustration, 1987, for Big, Small, Short, Tall; Parents' Choice Award in Learning and Doing, 1989, for The Dragon Halloween Party; Ezra Jack Keats Award for excellence in the arts, 1989; Best Books Award, Parents magazine, 1990, for The Furry News: How to Make a Newspaper, and 1992, for The Monster Money Book; Outstanding Science Trade Book designation, National Science Teacher's Association, 1993, for Tracks in the Sand; American Library Association Notable Book designation, 2004, for There's a Frog in My Throat!; AAAS Science Books & Films award finalist, 2007, for The Great Graph Contest.

Writings


SELF-ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN'S BOOKS


A Number of Dragons, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1985.

The Dragon ABC Hunt, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1986.

The Dragon Halloween Party, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1986.

Big, Small, Short, Tall, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1987.

The Bunny Play, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1988.

A Dragon Christmas: Things to Make and Do, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1988.

Pingo the Plaid Panda, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1988.

The Potato Party, and Other Troll Tales, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1989.

A Dragon Thanksgiving Feast: Things to Make and Do, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1990.

The Furry News: How to Make a Newspaper, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1990.

The Great Trash Bash, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1991.

Messages in the Mailbox: How to Write a Letter, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1991.

Blast off to Earth! A Look at Geography, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1992.

The Monster Money Book, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1992.

Postcards from Pluto: A Tour of the Solar System, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1993, revised edition, 2006.

The Race, Scott, Foresman (Glenview, IL), 1993.

Tracks in the Sand, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1993.

The Edible Pyramid: Good Eating Every Day, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1994, revised edition, 2007.

Fraction Action, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1994.

Who's Who in My Family?, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1995.

2 X 2 = Boo! A Set of Spooky Multiplication Stories, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1995.

How Humans Make Friends, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1996.

Mission Addition, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1997.

Measuring Penny, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1997.

Celebrate the Fifty States!, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1999.

Mapping Penny's World, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2000.

Subtraction Action, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2000.

Follow the Money!, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Pat Street) There's a Frog in My Throat!: 440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2003.

Look at My Book: How Kids Can Write and Illustrate Terrific Books, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2004.

The Great Graph Contest, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2005.

(With husband, Andrew Schuerger) Messages from Mars, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2006.

It's Probably Penny, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2007.

ILLUSTRATOR


David A. Adler, The Dinosaur Princess, and Other Prehistoric Riddles, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1988.

Tom Birdseye, Waiting for Baby, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1991.

Sidelights


Loreen Leedy is an author and artist who has created a number of books that introduce important, life-navigating concepts to young readers. In books such as Fraction Action, Mission Addition, and The Monster Money Book early elementary graders learn useful math concepts, while Celebrate the Fifty States!, Mapping Penny's World, and Follow the Money! help youngsters begin to independently navigate the world outside the

family home. Other nonfiction titles by Leedy, such as The Edible Pyramid: Good Eating Every Day, Messages in the Mailbox: How to Write a Letter, and Look at My Book: How Kids Can Write and Illustrate Terrific Books, encourage self-reliance and self-expression, while There's a Frog in My Throat!: 440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me—a collection of puns, proverbs, and other poems featuring animals written by Leedy and Pat Street—was described by School Library Journal contributor Steven Engelfried as "an excellent introduction to the creative use of language."

Leedy often weaves mathematical concepts into her humorously illustrated picture books, with effective results; in Subtraction Action for instance, she "creates an action-packed volume that is perfectly suited to its audience," according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Measuring Penny and Mapping Penny's World introduce a young girl named Lisa as she brings home concepts from school and attempts to apply them to her own life: Penny, Lisa's dog, is measured, weighed and otherwise sized up in Measuring Penny, while the pup's habitat is thoroughly mapped out in Mapping Penny's World. Stephanie Zvirin, reviewing Measuring Penny for Booklist, cited the book as a "creative introduction" to a sometimes perplexing subject.

In Follow the Money!, another math-based book by Leedy, readers can follow the path of a newly minted coin, a quarter fittingly named George, as it goes round and round, from bank to piggy bank, to purse, to cash register. Called a "lighthearted travelogue" by a Kirkus Reviews writer, Follow the Money! also includes lessons in budgeting, saving, and making change. Noting Leedy's "lighthearted tone," a Publishers Weekly contributor also cited the author/illustrator's "playful mixed-media art, flippant asides …, and occasional puns." Describing another of the author/illustrator's fictional approaches to math, The Great Graph Contest, a Kirkus Reviews writer noted that "Leedy makes graphing simple and fun in this delightfully clever outing" about a toad and lizard that decide to see who can create the best graph.

In addition to math, science often takes center stage in Leedy's books, as in Postcards from Pluto: A Tour of the Solar System and Messages from Mars. In both books, readers blast off into space and into the future, as a group of young space travelers reach a far-distant planetary (or in the case of Pluto, not-quite-planetary) destination and compare their new surroundings with those left behind on Earth. In Messages from Mars Leedy collaborates with husband Andrew Schuerger, an astrobiologist whose involvement with the Kennedy Space Center's Mars project adds a fascinating dimension to the couple's fictional story. In School Library Journal, Mary Jean Smith praised Leedy's "colorful cartoons," and also noted the inclusion of "authentic photographs from NASA" and the wealth of "factual information" provided by the coauthors. Dubbing the book "clever," Carolyn Phelan went on in her Booklist review to praise Messages from Mars as "a good starting point for those intrigued by Mars."

"I was inspired to become a children's book author/illustrator because picture books combine two of my favorite things: art and writing," Leedy told SATA. "I majored in art in college, but didn't focus on children's books until three years after graduating. I enjoy creating books that put information in context so it's meaningful to young readers. I always learn something new with every project and have used a variety of media to create my illustrations: pen and ink, watercolor, colored pencil, or acrylics.

"In the late 1990s I learned to use my computer to create artwork. I had to become a student again and read a lot of how-to books. Eventually I was able to draw and paint with my wonderful digital tools. The computer opens up many new creative possibilities and allows me to experiment extensively with color and placement while working. I've also enjoyed incorporating photographs and real objects such as twigs and rocks into the illustrations."

Discussing her decision to focus her creative career on writing and illustrating children's books, Leedy, a former jewelry designer, once noted: "eading, writing, and creating art have been important to me throughout my lifetime. The picture book is a unique art form in which the words and images work together to tell the story or convey information. When developing a book,

I go back and forth between the text and the illustrations to create a unified whole. My books generally incorporate humor to engage the young reader and include information children are learning in school.

"I choose a subject such as measuring, then think of characters and a setting where the story can take place. For Measuring Penny, I used a little girl who has a homework assignment to measure ‘something,’ and dogs because they come in so many sizes and shapes. The story takes place at school, at home, and in the park.

"The Garden setting for The Great Graph Contest is close to the ground where bugs, slugs, and other small critters live. The toad and lizard competitors use materials at hand such as flowers, butterflies, and cookies left on a picnic table to create their graphs. Many of the objects and textures in the illustrations were photographs or scans of real objects. The toad's skin, for example, is derived from a photograph of an asphalt road.

"The fantastic photographs of the Red Planet taken primarily by NASA inspired Messages from Mars. My scientist husband, Andrew Schuerger, compiled the images from a variety of Web sites. We worked together to develop a storyline to showcase as much information as possible about Mars and the missions that have explored it to date. The time is 100 years in the future, and the characters are kids from a variety of nationalities who have won a trip to visit Mars."

Biographical and Critical Sources


PERIODICALS


Booklist, October 15, 1997, Carolyn Phelan, review of Mission Addition, p. 74; April, 1998, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Measuring Penny, p. 1325; September 1, 1999, Ilene Cooper, review of Celebrate the 50 States!, p. 136; July, 2000, Catherine Andronik, review of Mapping Penny's World, p. 2040; September 15, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Subtraction Action, p. 246; April 15, 2002, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Follow the Money!, p. 1398; March 15, 2003, Ellen Mandel, review of There's a Frog in My Throat: 440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me, p. 1322; February 15, 2004, Kay Weisman, review of Look at My Book: How Kids Can Write and Illustrate Terrific Books, p. 1060; August, 2005, Todd Morning, review of The Great Graph Contest, p. 2029; September 15, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Messages from Mars, p. 64.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, September, 2000, review of Mapping Penny's World, p. 27; April, 2002, review of Follow the Money!, p. 285; April, 2003, review of There's a Frog in My Throat!, p. 319.

Central Florida Family, October, 2000.

Delaware Today, October, 1986.

Horn Book, July-August, 1998, Marilyn Bousquin, review of Measuring Penny, p. 476; May-June, 2003, Roger Sutton, review of There's a Frog in My Throat, p. 368.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2002, review of Follow the Money!, p. 338; February 1, 2003, review of There's a Frog in My Throat!, p. 235; February 1, 2004, review of Look at My Book, p. 135; August 1, 2005, review of The Great Graph Contest, p. 852; August 1, 2006, review of Messages from Mars, p. 790.

Publishers Weekly, March 16, 1998, review of Measuring Penny, p. 63; January 11, 1999, review of Mission Addition, p. 74; February 4, 2002, review of Follow the Money!, p. 76; January 6, 2003, review of There's a Frog in My Throat!, p. 60.

School Library Journal, September, 1999, Jackie Hechtkopf, review of Celebrate the 50 States!, p. 214; September, 2000, Holly T. Sneeringer, review of Subtraction Action, p. 219; May, 2002, Anne Chapman Callaghan, review of Follow the Money!, p. 139; April, 2003, Susan Marie Pitard, review of There's a Frog in My Throat!, p. 152; January, 2004, Joy Fleishhacker, review of Mapping Penny's World, p. 77; April, 2004, Jody Kopple, review of Look at My Book, p. 134; June, 2004, Steven Engelfried, review of There's a Frog in My Throat, p. 57; September, 2004, Janet Dawson Hamilton, review of Fraction Action, p. 58; November, 2004, Alison Follows, review of Look at My Book, p. 65; September, 2005, Robyn Walker, review of The Great Graph Contest, p. 176; October, 2006, Mary Jean Smith, review of Messages from Mars, p. 138.

ONLINE


Loreen Leedy Home Page,http://www.loreenleedy.com (December 19, 2006).