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Mack, Jeff

Mack, Jeff

Personal

Born in Syracuse, NY. Education: Attended college in Oswego, NY, and Florence, Italy; studied painting and creative writing. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, reading, gourmet food, listening to music, hiking, watching movies, playing trumpet and musical saw.

Addresses

Home—Easthampton, MA. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Writer, illustrator, and mural painter. Has also worked as poster artist and faux finisher of walls and furniture.

Writings

(Self-illustrated) Hush Little Polar Bear, Roaring Brook Press (New York, NY), 2008.

ILLUSTRATOR

Dawn Bentley, The Icky Sticky Chameleon, Piggy Toes Press (Santa Monica, CA), 2001.

Linda Ashman, Rub-a-dub Sub, Harcourt Books (San Diego, CA), 2003.

Lisa Westberg Peters, We're Rabbits!, Harcourt Books (Orlando, FL), 2004.

Linda Ashman, Starry Safari, Harcourt Books (Orlando, FL), 2005.

Eve Bunting, Hurry! Hurry!, Harcourt Books (Orlando, FL), 2007.

Kathryn Osebold Galbraith, Boo, Bunny!, Harcourt Books (Orlando, FL), 2008.

ILLUSTRATOR; "BUNNICULA AND FRIENDS" SERIES

James Howe, Hot Fudge, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2004.

James Howe, The Vampire Bunny, adapted by Heather Henson, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2004.

James Howe, Scared Silly, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.

James Howe, Rabbit Cadabra, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.

James Howe, The Fright before Christmas, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.

James Howe, Creepy Crawly Birthday, Atheneum Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2007.

Sidelights

As a child, Jeff Mack practiced for his eventual career as an illustrator by making up stories about his brothers and sisters getting eaten by monsters. "I can't even tell you how many monsters I drew back then," he recalled on his home page. "Eleventy hundred billion, perhaps." Mack never lost his interest in art, and after studying painting in both the United States and abroad, he has achieved his goal by bringing to life the picture-book stories of several writers in addition to creating the original self-illustrated book Hush Little Polar Bear, which a Kirkus Reviews writer described as a "sweet metaliterary journey" in which Mack's story of a young girl's nighttime journey with a stuffed toy is brought to life in his "genial, soft-edged" acrylic illustrations.

Mack's whimsical, cartoonish creatures are featured in books such as Rub-a-dub Sub and Starry Safari, both with a text by Linda Ashman. His more realistic acrylic paintings bring to life Lisa Westberg Peters' text for We're Rabbits!, in which a trio of hungry wild bunnies cajole fresh produce from a frustrated gardener. In her School Library Journal review of Starry Safari, Maryann H. Owen maintained that Mack's "richly colored pictures and constant action" effectively depict Ashman's "rip-roaring, exciting excursion." In Publishers Weekly a critic noted that Rub-a-dub Sub benefits from Mack's "neon-bright colors and intricate textures," both of which "heighten the [undersea] setting's exotic beauty." Mack's art also appears in Eve Bunting's pic- ture book Hurry! Hurry!, which is set in a busy farmyard. In her Booklist review of Hurry! Hurry!, Gillian Engberg concluded that "Mack's high-spirited pictures … really tell the story."

In his ongoing collaboration with popular children's author James Howe, Mack has contributed art to Howe's bestselling "Bunnicula" series. Howe's books about the voracious Bunnicula are aimed at third-to fifth-grade readers, but in the "Bunnicula and Friends" books the collaborators introduce the character to beginning readers. "Bunnicula and friends have never been more adorable," noted a Kirkus Reviews correspondent in a piece on The Vampire Bunny. Karen Stuppi, writing in School Library Journal, concluded that Mack's illustrations for The Vampire Bunny "enhance the text through humorous and emotive depictions of the characters."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 2003, John Peters, review of Rub-a-dub Sub, p. 1782; March 15, 2004, Terry Glover, review of We're Rabbits!, p. 1310; August, 2005, Julie Cummins, review of Starry Safari, p. 2033; February 1, 2007, Gillian Engberg, review of Hurry! Hurry!, p. 46.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 2007, Hope Morrison, review of Hurry! Hurry!, p. 454.

Horn Book, March-April, 2007, Lauren Adams, review of Hurry! Hurry!, p. 178.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2003, review of Rub-a-dub Sub, p. 673; January 1, 2004, review of We're Rabbits!, p. 40; January 15, 2004, review of The Vampire Bunny, p. 84; June 1, 2005, review of Starry Safari, p. 632; February 1, 2007, review of Hurry! Hurry!, p. 121; October 15, 2008, review of Hush Little Polar Bear.

Publishers Weekly, April 7, 2003, review of Rub-a-dub Sub, p. 64; November 10, 2008, review of Hush Little Polar Bear.

School Library Journal, July, 2003, Linda M. Kenton, review of Rub-a-dub Sub, p. 86; June, 2004, Karen Stuppi, review of The Vampire Bunny, p. 110; July, 2005, Maryann H. Owen, review of Starry Safari, p. 64; June, 2006, Susan Hepler, review of Rabbit-Cadabra!, p. 119; March, 2007, Maryann H. Owen, review of Hurry! Hurry!, p. 152.

ONLINE

Harcourt Books Web site,http://www.harcourtbooks.com/ (November 7, 2008), interview with Lisa Westberg Peters and Mack.

Jeff Mack Home Page,http://www.jeffmack.com (November 7, 2008), author biography.

Simon & Schuster Web site,http://www.simonsays.com/ (November 7, 2008), "Jeff Mack."

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