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Macdonald, Maryann 1947-

Macdonald, Maryann 1947-


Born June, 28, 1947, in Cleveland, OH; daughter of Harry Lucas (an engineer) and Winifred Vanderwerp; married George Philip Macdonald (a lawyer), May 16, 1970; children: Megan Elisabeth, Alison. Education: University of Michigan, B.A., 1969; attended the Sorbonne, University of Paris, 1975-76. Politics: "Independent." Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Skating, playing games, exploring.


Home—New York, NY. Agent—Steven Chudney, The Chudney Agency, 72 N. State Rd., Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510. E-mail—[email protected]


Children's book author and freelance writer.


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


(Adaptor) The King Who Learned How to Make Friends, illustrated by Luis de Horna, Andersen Press (London, England), 1979.

No More Nappies, illustrated by Helen Herbert, Dinosaur Publications (Cambridge, England), 1980.

Moving, Doing, Building, Being, illustrated by Ross Thomson, Andersen Press (London, England), 1980.

Peter Gets Angry, illustrated by Ruth Bartlett, Dinosaur Publications (Cambridge, England), 1981.

Lucy Says No, illustrated by Susie Pritchatt, Dinosaur Publications (London, England), 1987.

Little Hippo Starts School, illustrated by Anna King, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1990.

Rosie Runs Away, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1990.

Fatso Jean, the Ice Cream Queen, illustrated by Selena Tsui, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

Hedgehog Bakes a Cake, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

Sam's Worries, illustrated by Judith Riches, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1990.

Rosie's Baby Tooth, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1991.

Ben at the Beach, illustrated by David McTaggart, Viking (New York, NY), 1991.

Rabbit's Birthday Kite, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.

Little Hippo Gets Glasses, illustrated by Anna King, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1992.

Secondhand Star, illustrated by Eileen Christelow, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1994.

The Pink Party, illustrated by Abby Carter, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1994.

Rosie and the Poor Rabbits, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1994.

No Room for Francie, illustrated by Eileen Christelow, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1995.

Princess Josie's Pets, illustrated by Diana Cain Bluthenthal, Hyperion Paperbacks for Children (New York, NY), 1998.

The Costume Copycat, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.

(With Ann Ingalls) The Little Piano Girl, illustrated by Giselle Potter, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2009.


Discussing the themes of her picture books for children, Maryann Macdonald wrote on her home page: "My sister Joan always had the best Halloween costumes like Bernadette in The Costume Copycat…. Owl in Hedgehog Bakes a Cake is really my daughter Alison in disguise." When she talks to children about writing, Macdonald attempts to "show children how they can use their own emotions and enthusiasms," she explains, "as well as the people and things they love and hate to make up characters and stories that seem real … even though they're not."

In Ben at the Beach Macdonald introduces Ben, a boy who learns what it takes to be a good older brother when little sister Charlotte refuses to go into the "bad water" where she is convinced monsters live. A Publishers Weekly critic wrote that the book presents a "heartwarming portrait of a caring older brother" that is "ideal for summer reading."

When Rosie in Rosie's Baby Tooth loses her first baby tooth, she is not quite sure she likes it at all. She is not sure that she wants to give the tiny tooth up to the Tooth Fairy either. "The simple dialogue here is amusing and unusually perceptive," noted a Kirkus Reviews writer in appraising Macdonald's simple tale for younger children.

Macdonald addresses the fear associated with the first day of school in Little Hippo Starts School. Little Hippo is ready for first grade with new shoes, a pencil box, and a special lunch packed in his new backpack. However, the first day brings a major challenge in the form of a bully named Cynthia. After ridiculing his shoes,

Cynthia tells Little Hippo to draw a funny picture of their teacher. He dutifully draws the picture, but when Cynthia then shows it to the teacher, Little Hippo learns a valuable lesson on dealing with hurt feelings. According to a Publishers Weekly critic, "Macdonald's warmly reassuring story" avoids "whitewashing the potential perils of the first day of school." The reviewer also praised the "cheerful, vibrantly colored" illustrations contributed to the story by Anna King.

Macdonald draws on her own experiences growing up in a big family in Secondhand Star. With four siblings already and twins on the way, seven-year old Francie O'Leary finds life in her large family to be challenging. Writing in Booklist, Kay Weisman concluded that in Secondhand Star "Macdonald has created a warm and witty family who may irritate one another but are always there in times of need."

One of several chapter books by Macdonald, The Pink Party "carries a meaningful message with which many youngsters will identify" in the opinion of Booklist critic Deborah Abbott. In the story, Amy and Lisa are best friends, but when Lisa gets a new pair of pink shoes Amy becomes jealous. A contest between the two ensues and escalates out of control until both girls eventually learn what is truly important.

Sibling rivalry takes center stage in The Costume Copycat. Every Halloween, Angela is upstaged by her older sister, Bernadette, who always has the better costume. Finally, a Halloween comes when Angela learns what it takes to shine on her own in what a Kirkus Reviews contributor called "a wise and winning story about sisterly rivalry and affection." "Filled with gentle humor, [The Costume Copycat] … is a fun, non-preachy story about the challenges of being a younger sibling," concluded JoAnn Jonas in School Library Journal.

Macdonald grew up in Detroit, but lived in England for several years while raising her own two daughters. Now returned to the United States, she once told SATA: "I was raised in a family of ten and have spent a lot of time with children, so I have learned to understand the child's point of view. My father and grandmother told us made-up stories when we were growing up, and I began to enjoy telling my own stories when I was quite young. I published my first story when I was sixteen, but moved away from writing fiction until my own children were born when I rediscovered children's books. I like the spare, poetic quality of picture books best, but I'm also enjoying writing longer works."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, April 1, 1994, Mary Harris Veeder, review of Rosie and the Poor Rabbits, p. 1461; July, 1994, Kay Weisman, review of Secondhand Star, p. 1948; October 15, 1994, Deborah Abbott, review of The Pink Party, p. 427.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2006, review of The Costume Copycat, p. 679.

Publishers Weekly, May 18, 1990, review of Little Hippo Starts School, p. 84; July 13, 1990, review of Fatso Jean, the Ice Cream Queen, p. 55; May 31, 1991, review of Ben at the Beach, p. 74; August 14, 2006, review of The Costume Copycat, p. 204.

School Library Journal, September, 2006, JoAnn Jonas, review of The Costume Copycat, p. 178.


Mary Ann Macdonald Home Page, (May 1, 2008).

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