Pedersen, Janet

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Pedersen, Janet


Married; children: one son. Education: Art Center College of Design, graduate.


Home—Brooklyn, NY. E-mail—[email protected].


Children's book author and illustrator. Exhibitions: Work included in Society of Illustrators "Original Art Show."



Millie in the Meadow, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

Millie Wants to Play, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Pino and the Signora's Pasta, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

Houdini the Amazing Caterpillar, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2008.


Ferida Wolff, A Weed Is a Seed, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1996.

Vincent Courtney, Virtual Fred and the Big Dip, Random House (New York, NY), 1997.

Karen Wagner, A Friend like Ed, Walker (New York, NY), 1998.

Joanne Rocklin, Jake and the Copycats, Yearling First Choice Chapter Book (New York, NY), 1998.

Karen Wagner, Bravo, Mildred and Ed, Walker (New York, NY), 2000.

Jackie French Koller, Baby for Sale, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2002.

Eileen Spinelli, Bath Time, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2003.

Toni Teevin, What to Do? What to Do?, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Cece Meng, The Wonderful Thing about Hiccups, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Alison Jackson, Thea's Tree, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Irene Breznak, Sneezy Louise, Random House (New York, NY), 2009.


Janet Pedersen began her career illustrating children's books after graduating with honors from the Art Center College of Design. Her signature style, which involves expressive watercolors, won her accolades in the profession and led to her inclusion in the prestigious "Original Art Show" hosted by the Society of Illustrators. After creating art for many books by other writer, Pedersen decided to write and illustrate her own books, and has since produced books that include Millie in the Meadow and Houdini the Amazing Caterpillar.

One of the first books Pedersen illustrated, Jackie French Kroller's Baby for Sale, finds that that big-brother rabbit Peter has finally had enough of his toddler baby sister Emily after Emily throws his prize baseball cap into the toilet. Wheeling her around the neighborhood, Peter attempts to sell the rambunctious baby bunny to other families, but she does such annoying things as poop in her diapers at the most inopportune moments. After narrowly saving Emily when she tries to toddle out into the street, Peter realizes that his little sister is not so annoying after all. In Kirkus Reviews a critic praised Pedersen's expressive artwork, writing that her paintings cast "her all-rabbit cast in fine-lined, pale watercolors, capturing both Peter's irritation and Emily's innate cuteness." Lauren Peterson, writing in Booklist observed that the "humorous watercolor illustrations depict Emily in all her naughty glory," and in School Library Journal Rosalyn Pierini asserted that the "sweet … family story" in Baby for Sale "is well matched by humorous cartoon illustrations with child appeal."

Eileen Spinelli's humorous Bath Time follows the adventures of a mother penguin as she tries to get her energetic son into the bathtub. While penguins normally

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take to water, this young bird has a hard time settling down and getting clean. After scampering around the house collecting all sorts of toys to play with in the tub, the penguin finds that there is no room left for him. A Kirkus Reviews contributor praised Pedersen's art for Bath Time, writing that her "lightly smudged and simply lined drawings are an amusing pairing with the rhyming text." Carolyn Phelan, writing in Booklist, concluded that the artist's contributions, done "in charcoal pencil with watercolor and gouache, reflects the innocent and lightly humorous tone of the verse."

In Toni Teevin's What to Do? What to Do? a lonely village woman named Sophie gets tired of talking to all the objects in her house. One day, she starts feeding the neighboring birds with her delicious homemade bread. Soon, she is inundated by birds and, after visiting a fortune-teller, decides to use the bread to feed her human neighbors instead. In Horn Book, Vicky Smith wrote that "Pedersen's loose line-and-watercolor illustrations are a perfect complement to [Tevin's] … text." Carolyn Janssen, reviewing the book for School Library Journal, noted that "the light, airy watercolors reflect her bright outlook," while a Kirkus Reviews critic described the illustrator's watercolor images as "light as air and cartoon-silly…. Ever so clever and charming." Gillian Engberg, writing in Booklist, similarly concluded that Pedersen's "appealing illustrations capture the tall-tale action and expressive characters with spidery, ink lines and bright paint washes."

Pedersen's first original self-illustrated book, Millie in the Meadow, introduces readers to Millie, a spindly-legged calf as she discovers an artist sketching in her pasture. Curiously, the calf keeps guessing the subject of each of the artist's sketches until, at last, he draws her. In Kirkus Reviews a critic predicted that "young readers will enjoy guessing the animals from the descriptions" provided in Pedersen's text. A Publishers Weekly reviewer also praised Millie in the Meadow, finding that Pederen's "unprepossessing tale of a cow with a toddler attitude teaches animal attributes as it goes along." Karin Snelson, writing in Booklist, believes that "the inquisitive, long-lashed, tail-swishing Millie will win the hearts of preschoolers."

Millie returns in Millie Wants to Play!, as she journeys through her meadow, awaiting the morning noises made by the other animals that signal that it is time to play. Donna Marie Wagner wrote in her School Library Journal review that Millie Wants to Play! will engage younger readers as they identify each animal by the noises it makes. She dubbed the book "a delightful read for one-on-one sharing or for storytime," while Booklist critic Ilene Cooper wrote that Pedersen's Millie Wants to Play! serves up "much good humor and spunk."

Another original picture book by Pedersen, Pino and the Signora's Pasta follows a homeless cat in Rome who is tired of the pasta served to him every day by the Signora. Traveling around the city, the kitty samples a variety of different cuisine, trips a waiter, and is thrown out of a restaurant. Finding that nothing is as good as the Signora's pasta, Pino realizes that the reason is because the woman's food is full of love. Shawn Brommer, writing in School Library Journal, wrote that "Pedersen's text is bouncy and the humorous dialogue gives depth to the feline protagonist," while Cooper dubbed Pino and the Signora's Pasta "full of life."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, September 15, 1998, Kathleen Squires, review of A Friend like Ed, p. 241; September 1, 2002, Lauren Peterson, review of Baby for Sale, p. 136; March 15, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Bath Time, p. 1334; April 1, 2003, Karin Snelson, review of Millie in the Meadow, p. 1404; April 1, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of Millie Wants to Play!, p. 1369; September 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Pino and the Signora's Pasta, p. 145; May 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of What to Do? What to Do?, p. 94.

Horn Book, May-June, 2006, Vicky Smith, review of What to Do?, p. 305.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2002, review of Baby for Sale, p. 1134; February 15, 2003, review of Millie in the Meadow, p. 314; March 1, 2003, review of Bath Time, p. 398; February 15, 2004, review of Millie Wants to Play!, p. 183; August 15, 2005, review of Pino and the Signora's Pasta, p. 920; June 15, 2006, review of What to Do?, p. 638.

Publishers Weekly, September 21, 1998, review of A Friend like Ed, p. 85; April 15, 1996, review of A Weed Is a Seed, p. 67; August 12, 2002, review of Baby for Sale, p. 299; January 6, 2003, review of Millie in the Meadow, p. 57; March 3, 2003, review of Bath Time, p. 74.

School Library Journal, September, 2002, Rosalyn Pierini, review of Baby for Sale, p. 196; September, 2000, Karen Land, review of Bravo, Mildred and Ed!, p. 210; May, 2004, Donna Marie Wagner, review of Millie Wants to Play!, p. 121; September, 2005, Shawn Brommer, review of Pino and the Signora's Pasta, p. 184; July, 2006, Carolyn Janssen, review of What to Do?, p. 87; November, 2007, Linda M. Kenton, review of The Wonderful Thing about Hiccups.


Houghton Mifflin Web site, (September 25, 2008), "Janet Pedersen."

I-Spot Web site, (September 1, 2008), "Janet Pedersen."