Palen, Debbie 1964-

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Palen, Debbie 1964-

Personal

Born December 19, 1964. Hobbies and other interests: Yoga, writing, reading comics.

Addresses

Home—Cleveland, OH. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Illustrator.

Illustrator

Kathlyn Gay, Keep the Buttered Side Up: Food Superstitions from around the World, Walker & Company (New York, NY), 1995.

Karen Gravelle and Jennifer Gravelle, The Period Book: Everything You Don't Want to Ask (but Need to Know), Walker & Company (New York, NY), 1996, updated edition, 2006.

Judith Harlan, Girl Talk: Staying Strong, Feeling Good, Sticking Together, Walker & Company (New York, NY), 1997.

Amy Nathan, The Kids' Allowance Book, Walker & Company (New York, NY), 1998.

Bennett Cerf, Riddles and More Riddles, Random House (New York, NY), 1999.

William Boniface, Trim the Tree for Christmas!, Price Stern Sloan (New York, NY), 2000.

Karen Bokram and Alexis Sinex, editors, The Girls' Life Guide to Growing Up, Beyond Words (Hillsboro, OR), 2000.

William Boniface, What Do You Want on Your Sundae?, Price Stern Sloan (New York, NY), 2001.

J.C. Greenburg, On the Dog ("Andrew Lost" series), Random House (New York, NY), 2002.

J.C. Greenburg, In the Bathroom ("Andrew Lost" series), Random House (New York, NY), 2002.

J.C. Greenburg, In the Kitchen ("Andrew Lost" series), Random House (New York, NY), 2002.

Joan Holub, The Gingerbread Kid Goes to School, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 2002.

J.C. Greenburg, In the Garden ("Andrew Lost" series), Random House (New York, NY), 2003.

Cathy Hapka and Ellen Titlebaum, How Not to Babysit Your Brother, Random House (New York, NY), 2005.

Cathy Hapka and Ellen Titlebaum, How Not to Start Third Grade, Random House (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of illustrations to periodicals, including Chicago Tribune, Yoga Journal, Natural Health, Utne Reader, Ranger Rick, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Girls' Life, and Travel & Leisure.

Sidelights

Debbie Palen, an illustrator based in Cleveland, Ohio, is best known for her humorous drawings done in pastel or pen and ink. In addition to her work for such corporate clients as Proctor & Gamble and Zany Brainy, Palen has provided the art for more than a dozen children's books, including the humorous How Not to Babysit Your Brother by Cathy Hapka and Ellen Titlebaum. Her illustrations have also appeared in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, Yoga Journal, and Utne Reader.

One of Palen's early illustration projects, The Period Book: Everything You Don't Want to Ask (but Need to Know) by Karen Gravelle and Gravelle's fifteen-year-old niece Jennifer Gravelle, is aimed at adolescent readers and explores the physical and emotional changes that come with puberty. According to a contributor in Publishers Weekly, "Palen's cartoon illustrations echo the candor of the text and reinforce its kid-friendly approach."

Girl Talk: Staying Strong, Feeling Good, Sticking Together, a nonfiction work by Judith Harlan, focuses on building self-esteem by examining such topics as friendship and career planning. "Palen's comical artwork is a major part of the book," noted Stephanie Zvirin in a review of the work for Booklist. The Girls' Life Guide to Growing Up, edited by Karen Bokram and Alexis Sinex, is another title for teen readers that addresses typical teen topics, in this case dating, eating disorders, and education. Palen's artwork for this volume again drew praise; her "quirky cartoons add humor and punctuate important points," according to School Library Journal contributor Elaine Baran Black.

Palen has also served as the illustrator for several titles in J.C. Greenburg's "Andrew Lost" series of humorous science-based books. In On the Dog, budding inventor Andrew Lost creates the Atom Sucker, a device that shrinks its designer, Andrew's cousin Judy, and his robot companion Thudd to microscopic proportions. The trio soon becomes tangled in the fur of a neighbor's dog and encounters a host of crawling creatures while trying to escape. In Greenburg's follow-up, In the Bathroom, the still-miniaturized Andrew, Judy, and Thudd combat mold, mildew, and spiders after their neighbor decides to give the dog a bath. After they are flushed down the toilet, the intrepid threesome maneuver through a labyrinth of plumbing pipes to safety, and their adventures there are told in In the Kitchen. Rounding out the quartet, In the Garden finds Andrew, Judy, and Thudd hitching a ride on a fly's back as they try to reach home and reverse the effects of the Atom Sucker. Palen contributed black-and-white drawings to each work; reviewing In the Bathroom for School Library Journal, Pat Leach stated that the book's illustrations "underscore the exaggerated sense of alarm" in Greenburg's humorous text.

Palen has also collaborated with Cathy Hapka and Ellen Titlebaum on a pair of chapter books for young readers. In How Not to Babysit Your Brother young Will takes charge of the household after his grandmother falls asleep. Will's little brother has other ideas, however, and he begins wreaking havoc as Grandma snores away. In School Library Journal Lisa S. Schindler complimented Palen's full-color artwork for How Not to Babysit Your Brother, remarking that the characters' "wonderful facial expressions will make readers laugh even without reading the text." In a sequel, How Not to Start Third Grade, Will once again tries to corral his brother, who has just entered kindergarten, as well as the family dog, which has invaded the halls of Will's school. Palen's drawings "extend the mayhem with cartoonish characters, exaggerated expressions, and lots of activity," observed Gillian Engberg in a Booklist review.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 1996, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Period Book: Everything You Don't Want to Ask (butNeed to Know), p. 1258; July, 1998, Karen Hutt, review of The Kids' Allowance Book, p. 1876; December 1, 1997, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Girl Talk: Staying Strong, Feeling Good, Sticking Together, p. 620; September 1, 2007, Gillian Engberg, review of How Not to Start Third Grade, p. 126.

Booklist, February 19, 1996, review of The Period Book, p. 217; June 5, 2000, review of The Girls' Life Guide to Growing Up, p. 95; February 5, 2001, review of What Do You Want on Your Sundae?, p. 90.

School Library Journal, October, 2000, Elaine Baran Black, review of The Girls' Life Guide to Growing Up, p. 178; December, 2002, Pat Leach, review of In the Bathroom, p. 96; August, 2005, Lisa S. Schindler, review of How Not to Babysit Your Brother, p. 96; July, 2007, Susan Lissim, review of How Not to Start Third Grade, p. 76.

ONLINE

Debbie Palen Home Page,http://debbiepalen.com (November 10, 2008).

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