Reynolds, Aaron 1970-

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Reynolds, Aaron 1970-

Personal

Born June 4, 1970; married; wife's name Michelle; children: Reese, Ethan. Education: Illinois Wesleyan University, B.A.; attended Kendall Culinary School.

Addresses

Home and office—Fox River Grove, IL. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Children's ministry consultant and writer. Former artistic director of Promiseland (children's ministry), Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL.

Member

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Writings

The Nineteenth of Maquerk, illustrated by Peter Whitehead, Zonderkidz (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005.

Breaking out of the Bungle Bird, illustrated by Peter Whitehead, Zonderkidz (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005.

Tale of the Poisonous Yuck Bugs, illustrated by Peter Whitehead, Zonderkidz (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005.

Chicks and Salsa, illustrated by Paulette Bogan, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2005.

Buffalo Wings, illustrated by Paulette Bogan, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2007.

The Fabulous Reinvention of Sunday School: Transformational Techniques for Reaching and Teaching Kids, Zondervan (Grand Rapids, MI), 2007.

Metal Man, illustrated by Paul Hoppe, Charlesbridge (Watertown, MA), 2008.

Back of the Bus, illustrated by Floyd Cooper, Philomel (New York, NY), 2009.

Superhero School, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2009.

Joey Fly, Private Eye in Creepy Crawly Crime, illustrated by Neil Numberman, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2009.

"TIGER MOTH" SERIES; GRAPHIC NOVELS

Tiger Moth, Insect Ninja, illustrated by Erik Lervold, Stone Arch (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.

Tiger Moth and the Dragon Kite Contest, illustrated by Erik Lervold, Stone Arch (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.

Tiger Moth: The Dung Beetle Bandits, illustrated by Erik Lervold, Stone Arch (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.

Tiger Moth: The Fortune Cookies of Weevil, illustrated by Erik Lervold, Stone Arch (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.

Tiger Moth: Kung Pow Chicken, illustrated by Erik Lervold, Stone Arch (Minneapolis, MN), 2008.

Tiger Moth: The Pest Show on Earth, illustrated by Erik Lervold, Stone Arch (Minneapolis, MN), 2008.

Adaptations

The "Tiger Moth" books have been adapted on CD-ROM.

Sidelights

Before he became a children's book writer, Aaron Reynolds worked with children. As the artistic director of Promiseland, a children's ministry at Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, Illinois, Reynolds wrote scripts for children's programs and plays and produced classroom lessons and other materials to guide ministry programming. He draws on these experiences in his book for adults, The Fabulous Reinvention of Sunday School: Transformational Techniques for Reaching and Teaching Kids and credits this work with helping him develop a narrative voice that would appeal to children in picture books.

Reynolds' picture book Chicks and Salsa was featured on the Public Television program Between the Lions and earned many positive reviews. Here the author "punctuates his wry, snappy text with the kind of knowing, running jokes that kids love," described a Publishers Weekly critic in a review of the picture book, which features artwork by Paulette Bogan. The story of a rooster foodie, Chicks and Salsa finds a group of farmyard animals tiring of the same feed they receive each and every day. Rooster soon spices up their diet, teaching the chickens how to mix tomatoes and onions to make salsa, and soon the whole farmyard is dining Southwestern style. Chicks and Salsa "is a fun read, with a refrain and a smooth pattern," wrote Susan E. Murray in her School Library Journal review of Reynolds' story. The farmyard characters return in Buffalo Wings, as Rooster attempts to create the titular dish for his farm friends. When the feathered chef discovers that buffalo wings are actually made from chicken, he has to hatch a new plan. "The resolution is silly but satisfying," wrote School Library Journal critic Lee Bock, while a Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded that Reynolds' "latest culinary misadventure will … provoke equal quantities of laughter and saliva."

In Metal Man, Reynolds tells a story about a real figure from his own life: Mitch Levin, a metal sculptor. When young Devon asks the sculptor what he is making, the artist replies with a question, asking the boy what he sees in the work of art in process. "The poetic text is visceral—readers experience the sounds, vibrations, textures, and heat of the metal shop," wrote Heidi Estrin in School Library Journal.

In addition to picture books, Reynolds has also written a series of graphic novels for young readers, beginning with Tiger Moth, Insect Ninja. Combining superhero and kung fu storylines with grade-school issues, the "Tiger Moth" books follow Tiger Moth and his sidekick, pill bug Kung Pow, as they heroically fight crime. Marilyn Hersh, reviewing the "Tiger Moth" books for School Library Journal, concluded that the graphic-novel format, with illustrations by Erik Lervold, will particularly appeal to young boys. Reynold's second graphic-novel series, "Joey Fly, Private Eye," debuted in 2009.

"I LOVE kids' books," Reynolds told SATA, "but never really read them growing up until the fifth grade. We didn't really have books in my house, so I wasn't much of a reader. Then, my fifth-grade teacher, Mr. Hunter, read a book aloud to us. It was the first time I remembered really having a book read aloud to me. The book was Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary. I loved it. I couldn't believe that THIS is what books were! I couldn't believe what I had been missing. I began devouring kids books—whatever I could get my hands on—and I haven't stopped yet.

"I love playing video games. I love watching TV and movies. But I LOVE reading. Books hold a power that none of these other things do … to utterly transport you."

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Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2005, review of Chicks and Salsa, p. 1987; October 1, 2007, review of Buffalo Wings; June 15, 2008, review of Metal Man.

Publishers Weekly, November 14, 2005, review of Chicks and Salsa, p. 68.

School Library Journal, November, 2005, Susan E. Murray, review of Chicks and Salsa, p. 104; December, 2007, Lee Bock, review of Buffalo Wings, p. 98; April, 2008, Marilyn Hersh, review of Tiger Moth, Insect Ninja, p. 83; July, 2008, Heidi Estrin, review of Metal Man, p. 80.

ONLINE

Aaron Reynolds Home Page,http://www.aaron-reynolds.com (January 15, 2009).

Creative Kids Ministry Web site,http://www.creativekidsministry.com/ (January 15, 2009), profile of Reynolds.

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Illinois Web site,http://www.scbwi-illinois.org/ (January 15, 2009), profile of Reynolds.

Zondervan Web site,http://www.zondervan.com/ (January 15, 2009), profile of Reynolds.