Pomerantz, Charlotte 1930-
Pomerantz, Charlotte 1930-
Born July 24, 1930, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of Abraham L. (an attorney) and Phyllis Pomerantz; married Carl Marzani (a writer and publisher), November 12, 1966 (died December 11, 1994); children: Gabrielle Rose, David Avram. Education: Sarah Lawrence College, B.A., 1953.
Home and office—260 W. 21st St., New York, NY 10011.
Writer. Has worked as a salesperson, waitress, researcher, copy editor, and editor.
Jane Addams Peace Association, Children's Book Award, 1975, for The Princess and the Admiral, and Honor Award, 1983, for If I Had a Paka; Outstanding Picture Book of the Year designation, New York Times, 1977, for The Piggy in the Puddle; International Year of the Child selection, International Board on Books for Young People, 1978, for The Day They Parachuted Cats on Borneo; Notable Book designation, American Library Association, for The Tamarindo Puppy, and Other Poems; Christopher Award, 1984, for Posy, and 2000, for Thunderboom!; Top-Ten Picture Book of the Year selection, Boston Globe, 1989, and Parent's Choice
Award, 1990, both for The Chalk Doll; Children's Book of the Year selection, Library of Congress, 1991, for How Many Trucks Can a Tow Truck Tow?
The Bear Who Couldn't Sleep, illustrated by Meg Wohlberg, Morrow (New York, NY), 1965.
The Moon Pony, illustrated by Loretta Trezzo, Young Scott Books, 1967.
Ask the Windy Sea, illustrated by Nancy Grossman and Anita Siegel, Young Scott Books, 1968.
Why You Look like You Whereas I Tend to Look like Me, illustrated by Rosemary Wells and Susan Jeffers, Young Scott Books, 1969.
The Piggy in the Puddle, illustrated by James Marshall, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1974, reprinted, Aladdin (New York, NY), 1989.
(Adaptor) The Princess and the Admiral, illustrated by Tony Chen, Addison-Wesley, 1974, reprinted, Feminist Press at the City University of New York (New York, NY), 1992.
The Ballad of the Long-Tailed Rat (rhyme), illustrated by Marian Parry, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1975.
Detective Poufy's First Case; or, The Missing Battery-operated Pepper Grinder, illustrated by Marty Norman, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1976.
The Mango Tooth, illustrated by Marylin Hafner, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1977.
The Downtown Fairy Godmother, illustrated by Susanna Natti, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1978.
The Tamarindo Puppy, and Other Poems (bilingual English-Spanish), Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1979.
Noah and Namah's Ark, illustrated by Kelly Carson, Holt (New York, NY), 1980.
If I Had a Paka: Poems in Eleven Languages, illustrated by Nancy Tafuri, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1982.
Buffy and Albert, illustrated by Yossi Abolafia, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1983.
Posy, illustrated by Catherine Stock, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1983.
Whiff, Sniff, Nibble, and Chew: The Gingerbread Boy Retold (also see below), illustrated by Monica Incisa, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1984.
Where's the Bear?, illustrated by Byron Barton, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1984, published as a board book, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2003.
The Half-Birthday Party, illustrated by DyAnne Di Salvo-Ryan, Clarion (New York, NY), 1984.
All Asleep (lullabies), illustrated by Nancy Tafuri, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1984.
One Duck, Another Duck, illustrated by José Aruego and Ariane Dewey, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1984.
How Many Trucks Can a Tow Truck Tow?, illustrated by R.W. Alley, Random House (New York, NY), 1987.
Timothy Tall Feather, illustrated by Catherine Stock, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1987.
The Chalk Doll, illustrated by Frane Lessac, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1989.
Flap Your Wings and Try (rhyming verse), illustrated by Nancy Tafuri, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1989.
The Outside Dog, illustrated by Jennifer Plecas, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.
You're Not My Friend, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1992.
Serena Katz, illustrated by R.W. Alley, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1992.
Halfway to Your House, illustrated by Gabrielle Vincent, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1993.
Here Comes Henny, illustrated by Nancy Winslow Parker, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1994.
Mangaboom, illustrated by Anita Lobel, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1997.
You're Not My Best Friend Anymore, illustrated by David Soman, Dial Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 1998.
The Mousery, illustrated by Kurt Cyrus, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2000.
The Birthday Letters, illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2000.
Thunderboom!: Poems for Everyone, illustrated by Rob Shepperson, Front Street Books (Asheville, NC), 2005.
The Day They Parachuted Cats on Borneo: A Drama of Ecology (play in rhyme), illustrated by José Aruego, Young Scott Books, 1971.
(Co-author and lyricist) Eureka!, produced in New York, NY, 1979.
Rap, Snap: The Electric Gingerbread Boy (adapted from Whiff, Sniff, Nibble and Chew: The Gingerbread Boy Retold), produced by Children's Dance Theater, 1984.
(Editor) A Quarter-Century of Un-Americana, 1938-1963: A Tragicomical Memorabilia of HUAC, House Un-American Activities Committee, foreword by H.H. Wilson, Marzani & Munsell, 1963.
Work included in anthologies, including Sounds of a Distant Drum, Holt, 1967; Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, edited by Jack Prelutsky, Knopf, 1986; and To the Moon and Back, compiled by Nancy Larrick, Delacorte, 1991. Contributor to periodicals, including Ladybug, Humpty Dumpty, New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, Horn Book, and Ms.
Author's work has been published in French, Japanese, and Afrikaans.
The Princess and the Admiral was adapted for the stage and produced at public schools throughout the United States.
Beginning her writing career in the mid-1960s, Charlotte Pomerantz has achieved critical and popular success in her work for children. With a number of prestigious awards to her credit, including the 1975 Jane Addams' Children's Book Award for The Princess and the Admiral and Christopher Awards for both Posy and Thunderboom!: Poems for Everyone, Pomerantz is known for her ability to crystallize familiar moments in evocative verse, as well as create entertaining readalouds for young children that incorporate a multicultural perspective. Praising her poetry collection Halfway to Your House, Hazel Rochman noted in a Booklist review that Pomerantz expresses "quiet, intimate moments with a physical immediacy" in her "informal" verse. The picture book The Birthday Letters—in which a dog's birthday celebration is disrupted by a young guest who strays from proper pet-party decorum when she asks to bring her two gerbils—showcases its author's talent for capturing language; as Tina Hudak noted in a School Library Journal review, the correspondence that makes up the text of the book "reflect[s] the language structure and sentiments of children," and also provides a good jumping-off point for "discussing the topic of parties, guests, and feelings."
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Pomerantz attended Sarah Lawrence College and graduated in 1953. She worked as a salesperson, waitress, researcher, and editor before moving into writing. Although her first book, The Bear Who Couldn't Sleep, was published before she married and began her family, Pomerantz gained a great deal of inspiration by watching and listening to her own two children during their growing-up years. "I found increasingly that the children provide rich raw material, with the emphasis on raw," the author once told SATA. "Many years back my son, then age four, was heard to mumble, ‘Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of an English muffin.’ That started me thinking about writing a detective story. It finally became Detective Poufy's First Case; or, The Missing Battery-operated Pepper Grinder, published in 1976." Another book, 1977's The Mango Tooth, "would not have been written had my little girl not been at the age where the tooth fairy was making frequent visits," the author explained, hastening to add, however, that "the story is fiction."
Pomerantz's lighthearted approach to poetry is clearly apparent to readers of Here Comes Henny. In repetitive, rhyming dialogue, the author follows a dapper mother hen whose three chicks go hungry after turning up their beaks at the healthy snack provided during a family picnic. Inspired, the author told SATA, by the wordplay and characters in James Joyce's novel Finnegan's Wake,
Pomerantz's "appealingly silly, tonguetwisting rhyme makes [Here Comes Henny] … a rollicking readaloud," asserted a Publishers Weekly contributor. Another high-energy offering that features a combined English/Spanish text, Mangaboom features what another Publishers Weekly reviewer characterized as "strong flashes of humor" along with "a clear message about self-acceptance." At nineteen feet tall and weighing in at 682 pounds, Pomerantz's beautiful, energetic protagonist is determined to make the most of her time on earth, despite the admonishment of three disapproving suitors who believe a young woman's place is at home. Praising the "gorgeous" illustrations Anita Lobel created to pair with Pomerantz's text, Rochman predicted in her Booklist review that "kids will enjoy the parody of fairy tale traditions" presented in Mangaboom.
Writing that the author's "skill in bringing language to life has never been more evident" than in the verses collected as Thunderboom!, School Library Journal reviewer Lee Bock praised Pomerantz for creating "unpredictable, joyful rhymes" that can be enjoyed by both children and adults. Featuring pen-and-ink and watercolor art by Rob Shepperson, the volume contains limericks, parodies, and longer poems among its many selections, sharing with Here Comes Henny a playfulness drawn from Finnegan's Wake. The book's themes range from formal holiday celebrations to quiet moments when one can savor the simple joys of everyday life. While Pomerantz's decision to create a poetry patchwork was questioned by a Kirkus Reviews writer due to its somewhat scattershot cultural references, the critic nonetheless noted the "appeal" of individual poems in Thunderboom!, as well as "the undeniable quality of the writing." Dubbing the book a "superb collection of clever poems," a Midwest Book Review Online critic predicted that Thunderboom! will "engage and entertain" young listeners "from first page to last."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, October 15, 1993, Hazel Rochman, review of Halfway to Your House, p. 447; October 15, 1994, Ilene Cooper, review of Here Comes Henny, p. 438; April 1, 1997, Hazel Rochman, review of Mangaboom, p. 1339; April 15, 1998, Hazel Rochman, review of You're Not My Best Friend Anymore, p. 1450; April 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Thunderboom!: Poems for Everyone, p. 45.
Chicago Tribune Book World, November 9, 1980, review of The Tamarindo Puppy, and Other Poems; September 5, 1982, review of If I Had a Parka.
Horn Book, January-February, 1994, Maeve Visser Knoth, review of The Outside Dog, p. 68.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2006, review of Thunderboom!, p. 237.
Language Arts, March 15, 1974, review of The Princess and the Admiral; February 2, 1976; February 1, 1977; September, 1977, review of The Mango Tooth; November 1, 1978, review of The Downtown Fairy Godmother.
New York Times Book Review, August 27, 1980, X.J. Kennedy, review of The Tamarindo Puppy, and Other Poems, p. 47; April 25, 1982, Ardis Kimzey, review of If I Had a Parka, p. 37; May 5, 1984; June 18, 1989, Kathleen Krull, review of The Chalk Doll, p. 35; April 10, 1994, Cynthia Zarin, review of Halfway to Your House, p. 35.
Publishers Weekly, January 25, 1993, review of The Tamarindo Puppy, and Other Poems, p. 88; June 20, 1994, review of Here Comes Henny, p. 104; October 11, 1993, review of Halfway to Your House, p. 87; March 31, 1997, review of Mangaboom, p. 74; July 31, 2000, review of The Mousery, p. 94.
Saturday Review, May 10, 1969, review of Why You Look like You Whereas I Tend to Look like Me.
School Library Journal, June, 2000, Tina Hudak, review of The Birthday Letters, p. 124; November, 2000, Marlene Gawron, review of The Mousery, p. 130; May, 2006, Lee Bock, review of Thunderboom!, p. 116.
Midwest Book Review Online,http://www.midwestbookreview.com/cbw/ (July 1, 2006), review of Thunderboom!