Moreno, René King
Moreno, René King
Born in IN; married; husband's name Tomas; children: Olivia. Education: Rhode Island School of Design, degree. Hobbies and other interests: Yoga, gardening, travel.
Smithsonian Notable Children's Book designation, Parents' Choice Silver Honor designation, and Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People designation, National Council for Social Studies/Children's Book Council, all 2000, all for Under the Lemon Moon by Edith Hope Fine; Notable Book designation, American Library Association, 2005, for Siesta.
Josephine Haskell Aldridge, The Pocket Book, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1993.
Ginger Foglesong Guy, Fiesta!, Greenwillow Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Edith Hope Fine, Under the Lemon Moon, Lee & Low Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Ginger Foglesong Guy, Siesta, Greenwillow Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Karen Stanton, Papi's Gift, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2007.
The Blessing of the Butterflies, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2008.
Growing up in Indiana as the oldest of four sisters, René King Moreno loved drawing and painting, as well as reading. Training in art at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, she studied under several noted illustrators, and since graduation she has established a niche in the picture-book field by focusing on Mexican life and traditions. Created using oil pastel, water color, and colored pencil, her work has been paired with texts by authors such as Karen Stanton and Ginger Fogelsong Guy, earning critical praise as well as a number of industry awards.
Described as a counting book with "a refreshing twist" by a Publishers Weekly critic, Fiesta! marked the first collaboration between Moreno and Guy. In the bilingual text, a group of children gather the ten items necessary to host a wonderful party. Moreno's images "afford an idyllic, soft-lensed view" of the children's preparations and the festivities that result, and weave "a story [in]to the counting/vocabulary" lesson, according to the Publishers Weekly critic. The illustrator's use of "warm hues, rounded forms, and [a] naive look … give this little book great visual appeal," Carolyn Phelan wrote in a Booklist review of Fiesta! In a companion board book, titled Siesta, author and illustrator once again mix a bilingual text with folk-style art, this time to teach color concepts. In Booklist Jennifer Mattson noted "Moreno's soft, appealing illustrations," while in School Library Journal Ann Welton explained that the "soft edges, pure glowing colors, and rounded forms" characteristic of Moreno's art imbues Guy's text with "warmth and reassurance." Siesta "is a model of what a bilingual picture book should be," concluded Horn Book contributor Tim Wadham.
Other books featuring Moreno's illustrations include Under the Lemon Moon by Edith Hope Fine and Papi's Gift by Stanton. In Under the Lemon Moon, a girl finds a way to save her beloved lemon tree after it is dam-
aged by a stranger. Her story is brought to life by clear-toned pastel-and-watercolor images that "give the Mexican countryside a warm, softly textured appearance" according to Booklist contributor Susan Dove Lempke. A little girl named Graciela awaits her long-gone migrant-worker father in Papi's Gift. Her anticipation as she hopes the man will arrive in time for her upcoming seventh birthday, comes to life through the story's pastel art. Moreno's "soothing, warm illustrations" depicting Graciela and her relatives "… have a Latin American flavor and elements of folk art," noted Barbara Katz, the reviewer adding in School Library Journal that the illustrator's work helps readers "experience the close-knit [family] group from varying perspectives."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, May 15, 1999, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Under the Lemon Moon, p. 1702; January 1, 2000, Isabel Schon, review of Under the Lemon Moon, p. 929; May 1, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Fiesta!, p. 1604; April 1, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of Siesta, p. 1366; April 15, 2007, Hazel Rochman, review of Papi's Gift, p. 49.
Horn Book, July-August, 2005, Tim Wadham, review of Siesta, p. 449.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2005, review of Siesta, p. 353; March 15, 2007, review of Papi's Gift.
Publishers Weekly, July 8, 1996, review of Fiesta!, p. 84.
School Library Journal, October, 2005, Ann Welton, review of Siesta, p. 148; April, 2007, Barbara Katz, review of Papi's Gift, p. 116.
René King Moreno Home Page,http://www.renekingmoreno.com/ (May 23, 2008).