Menchin, Scott

views updated

Menchin, Scott

Personal

Married Yvetta Fedorova (an artist); children: Karina. Education: Studied at Art Students' League; Pratt Institute, degree.

Addresses

Office—640 Broadway, Ste. 3E, New York, NY 10012. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Illustrator. Pratt Institute, New York, NY, professor in graduate design program. Exhibitions: Work included in exhibition at Eric Carle Museum of Picture-Book Art, 2007.

Awards, Honors

Please Touch Museum Book Award, 2006, for Wiggle by Doreen Cronin; Christopher Award, 2008, for Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

ILLUSTRATOR

Eve Bunting, The Day the Whale Came, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1998.

Bob Dylan, Man Gave Names to All the Animals, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1999.

Ann Braybrooks, Plenty of Pockets, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2000.

Mat Connolley, compiler, Butter Comes from Butterflies: When I Was a Kid I Used to Believe—, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2004.

Doreen Cronin, Wiggle, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2005.

Doreen Cronin, Bounce, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Time, and the New York Times.

Sidelights

A graduate of New York City's prestigious Pratt Institute, Scott Menchin created advertising art for several major corporations, including Intel, Toyota, and Dr. Pepper, before he began writing and illustrating children's books. Menchin's first picture-book project, Eve Bunting's text for The Day the Whale Came, involves a dead whale that was transported throughout the streets of a town in Illinois during the early 1900s. The illustrator's "quirky pen-and-ink pictures effectively contrast the ordinary Midwestern town with the surrealism of the event," Linda Perkins wrote in Booklist. As a Publishers Weekly contributor noted of the same book, "Menchin's unconventional pictures … subtly incorporate photographs with stylized drawings."

The art in Menchin's second picture book, an adaptation of a Bob Dylan song titled Man Gave Names to All the Animals, was highly praised in Publishers Weekly. Menchin turns the song into a "guessing game," the critic explained, noting that the artist reveals only part of each animal being sung about in his mixed-media collage art. Despite the lack of musical accompaniment, "Menchin makes visual the rollicking, reggae-inflected sounds" of Dylan's song, according to Booklist critic GraceAnne A. DeCandido.

Man Gave Names to All the Animals is not the only book in which Menchin incorporates clues into his artwork. Describing Plenty of Pockets, a picture book with a story by Ann Braybrooks, Booklist contributor Connie Fletcher concluded that "Menchin's collage illustrations … pack in surprises."

Menchin collaborates with writer Doreen Cronin on several books which follow an energetic spotted dog through its day, among them Wiggle and Bounce. "The delightful cartoon-style, ink-and-watercolor art is highlighted by tidbits of collage," wrote Ilene Cooper in her Booklist review of Wiggle. Noting Menchin's use of collage, Kathy Krasniewicz commented in School Library Journal that photographs and other materials "are well integrated into broad, bright cartoon illustrations," while a Publishers Weekly critic dubbed the artist's use of "whimsical photographic images" a form of "comic punctuation." In Bounce, Menchin's "cartoon art is eye-catching and as playful as the text," according to School Library Journal critic Marge Loch-Wouters.

Menchin's first self-illustrated title, Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy, begins when a mother asks her sobbing young daughter what would make her happy. Unsure, the girl asks the dog, then the rabbit, then other people and animals what makes them happy, thereby learning how many things there are to smile about. The tale "will likely inspire youngsters who are in a funk to seek joy in the unexpected as well as in the perfectly ordinary," observed a Publishers Weekly critic. In Kirkus Reviews, a contributor wrote that, with "striking effect, [Menchin's] … illustrations contrast the characters painted in textured watercolors against a backdrop of one vivid color."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 1998, Linda Perkins, review of The Day the Whale Came, p. 1449; December 15, 1999, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Man Gave Names to All the Animals, p. 785; July, 2000, Connie Fletcher, review of Plenty of Pockets, p. 2037; May 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Wiggle, p. 1586.

Horn Book, September-October, 2005, review of Wiggle, p. 560.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2005, review of Wiggle, p. 635; May 15, 2007, review of Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy.

Publishers Weekly, February 23, 1998, review of The Day the Whale Came, p. 76; November 15, 1999, review of Man Gave Names to All the Animals, p. 1999; May 23, 2005, review of Wiggle, p. 77; March 5, 2007, review of Bounce, p. 59; July 9, 2007, review of Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy, p. 52.

School Library Journal, May, 2000, Tina Hudak, review of Plenty of Pockets, p. 130; June, 2005, Kathy Krasniewicz, review of Wiggle, p. 107; June, 2007, Shelley B. Sutherland, review of Taking a Bath with the Dog and Other Things That Make Me Happy, p. 81, Marge Loch-Wouters, review of Bounce. p. 96.

ONLINE

Pippin Properties Web site,http://www.pippinproperties.com/ (March 9, 2008), "Scott Menchin."

Pratt Institute Web site,http://www.pratt.edu/ (March 9, 2008), Pratt Folio Alumni Magazine, "Scott Menchin."

Scott Menchin Home Page,http://www.scottmenchin.com (March 10, 2008).