Rosen, Michael 1946–

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Rosen, Michael 1946–

(Michael Wayne Rosen)

Personal

Born May 7, 1946, in Harrow, Middlesex, England; son of Harold (a professor) and Connie Ruby (a college lecturer) Rosen; married Elizabeth Susanna Steele, 1976 (divorced, 1987); married Geraldine Clark, 1987 (divorced, 1997); companion of Emma-Louise Williams; children: (first marriage) Joseph Steele, Eddie Steele (deceased); (second marriage) Isaac Louis; (step-daughters) Naomi Imogen Hill, Laura Clark; (with Williams) Elsie Lavender Ruby. Education: Attended Middlesex Hospital Medical School, 1964-65, and National Film School, 1973-76; Wadham College, Oxford, B.A. (English language and literature), 1969; University of Reading, M.A. (children's literature; with distinction), 1993; University of North London, Ph.D., 1997. Politics: Socialist. Religion: Atheist. Hobbies and other interests: "Watching Arsenal F.C."

Addresses

Home and office—49 Parkholme Rd., London E8 3AQ, England. Agent—Peter, Fraser & Dunlop Group, Ltd., Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Writer, poet, educator, playwright, performer, and broadcaster. Host and guest on British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television and radio shows, including Meridian Books, Treasure Islands, 1988-89, Best Worlds, and Word of Mouth, beginning 1998. Writer-in-residence at schools in London, England; lecturer at universities and colleges in the United Kingdom and Canada. Presenter at conferences in the United Kingdom, Australia, United States, Canada, Singapore, and Italy; performer at venues in the United Kingdom, including the Shaw Theatre, National Theatre, Edinburgh Book Festival, and BBC Children's Poetry Festival. Political candidate representing the Respect Coalition, c. 2006.

Member

National Union of Journalists.

Awards, Honors

Best Original Full-Length Play Award, London Sunday Times National Union of Students Drama Festival, 1968, for Backbone; Signal magazine Poetry Award, 1982, for You Can't Catch Me!; Other Award, Children's Book Bulletin, 1983, for Everybody Here; British Book Award runner-up, 1989; Nestlé Smarties Best Children's Book of the Year Award and Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, both 1990, and Japanese Picture Book Award, 1991, all for We're Going on a Bear Hunt; Cuffies Award for best anthology, Publishers Weekly, 1992, and Best Book Award, National Association of Parenting Publications, 1993, both for Poems for the Very Young; Glennfiddich Award for best radio program on the subject of food, 1996, for "Treasure Islands Special: Lashings of Ginger Beer"; Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished services to children's literature, 1997; Play and Learn Award, Parent magazine, 1998, for Snore; Talkies Award for best poetry audiotape of the year, 1998, for You Wait till I'm Older than You; International Reading Association Teachers' Choice selection, 1999, for Classic Poetry; Sony Radio Academy Silver Award, 2000, for radio feature "Dr. Seuss: Who Put the Cat in the Hat?," and Gold Award, 2003, for "On Saying Goodbye"; English Association Exceptional Award, 2004, and Boston Globe/Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book designation, 2006, both for Michael Rosen's Sad Book; honorary doctorate, Open University, 2005; National Literacy WOW Award, 2005, for Alphabet Poem; appointed Children's Laureate of Great Britain, 2007-09.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Once There Was a King Who Promised He Would Never Chop Anyone's Head Off, illustrated by Kathy Henderson, Deutsch (London, England), 1976.

She Even Called Me Garabaldi, BBC Books (London, England), 1977.

The Bakerloo Flea, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Longman (London, England), 1979.

Nasty!, illustrated by Amanda Macphail, Longman (London, England), 1982, revised edition, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1984.

How to Get out of the Bath, and Other Problems, illustrated by Graham Round, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1984.

Hairy Tales and Nursery Crimes, illustrated by Alan Baker, Deutsch (London, England), 1985.

You're Thinking about Doughnuts, illustrated by Tony Pinchuck, Deutsch (London, England), 1987.

Beep Beep! Here Come—The Horribles!, illustrated by John Watson, Walker (London, England), 1988.

Jokes and Verses, illustrated by Quentin Blake, BBC Books (London, England), 1988.

Norma and the Washing Machine, illustrated by David Hingham, Deutsch (London, England), 1988.

Silly Stories (jokes), illustrated by Mik Brown, Kingfisher (London, England), 1988 revised as Michael Rosen's Horribly Silly Stories, 1994, revised as Off the Wall: A Very Silly Joke Book, Kingfisher (New York, NY), 1994.

The Class Two Monster, illustrated by Maggie King, Heinemann (London, England), 1989.

The Deadman Tapes, Deutsch (London, England), 1989.

The Royal Huddle and The Royal Muddle, illustrated by Colin West, Macmillan (London, England), 1990.

Clever Cakes, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Walker (London, England), 1991.

Burping Bertha, illustrated by Tony Ross, Andersen (London, England), 1993.

Moving, illustrated by Sophy Williams, Viking (New York, NY), 1993.

Songbird Story, illustrated by Jill Down, Frances Lincoln (London, England), 1993.

The Arabian Frights and Other Gories, illustrated by Chris Fisher, Scholastic (London, England), 1994.

Dad, illustrated by Tony Ross, Longman (Harlow, England), 1994, Sundance (Littleton, MA), 1997.

Figgy Roll, illustrated by Tony Ross, Longman (Harlow, England), 1994, published as Dad's Fig Bar, Sundance (Littleton, MA), 1997.

Lisa's Letter, illustrated by Tony Ross, Longman (Harlow, England), 1994, Sundance (Littleton, MA), 1997.

Even Stevens, F.C., illustrated by John Rogan, Collins (London, England), 1995.

This Is Our House, illustrated by Bob Graham, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.

Norma's Notebook, illustrated by Tony Ross, Sundance (Littleton, MA), 1997.

(Author of text) I Want to Be a Superhero, score by Robert Kapilow, G. Schirmer (New York, NY), 1998.

Snore!, illustrated by Jonathan Langley, HarperCollins (London, England), 1998.

Mission Ziffoid, illustrated by Arthur Robins, Walker (London, England), Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.

Rover, illustrated by Neal Layton, Bloomsbury (London, England), Random House (New York, NY), 1999.

Lunch Boxes Don't Fly, illustrated by Korky Paul, Puffin (London, England), 1999.

A Thanksgiving Wish, illustrated by John Thompson, Blue Sky Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Lovely Old Roly, illustrated by Pricilla Lamont, Frances Lincoln (London, England), 2002.

One Push, illustrated by Martin Olsson, Storycircus.com, 2002.

Oww!: A Wriggly Piglet with a Prickly Problem, illustrated by Jonathan Langley, HarperCollins (London, England), 2003, Trafalgar, 2005.

Howler, illustrated by Neal Layton, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2003, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2004.

Michael Rosen's Sad Book, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

Fantastically Funny Stories, illustrated by Mik Brown, Kingfisher (Boston, MA), 2005.

Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry, illustrated by Chinlun Lee, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Bear's Day Out, illustrated by Adrian Reynolds, Bloomsbury Children's Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor of short fiction to Round about Six, edited by Kaye Webb, Frances Lincoln (London, England, 1993.

Author's works have been translated into numerous languages, including Albanian, Bengali, Gujarati, Somali, and Welsh.

POETRY; FOR CHILDREN

Mind Your Own Business, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Deutsch (London, England), 1974.

Wouldn't You Like to Know, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Deutsch (London, England), 1977, revised edition, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1981.

Bathtime, BBC Books (London, England), 1979.

(With Roger McGough) You Tell Me, illustrated by Sara Midda, Kestrel (London, England), 1979.

You Can't Catch Me!, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Deutsch (London, England), 1981, reprinted, 1996.

Quick, Let's Get out of Here, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Deutsch (London, England), 1983.

Smacking My Lips, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Puffin (London, England), 1983.

Don't Put Mustard in the Custard, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Deutsch (London, England), 1985.

Chocolate Cake, illustrated by Amelia Rosato, BBC Books (London, England), 1986.

When Did You Last Wash Your Feet?, illustrated by Tony Pinchuck, Deutsch (London, England), 1986.

The Hypnotiser, illustrated by Andrew Tiffen, Deutsch (London, England), 1988.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, Walker (London, England), 1989, Aladdin (New York, NY), 1992.

Freckly Feet and Itchy Knees, illustrated by Sami Sweeten, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1990.

Never Mind!, BBC Books (London, England), 1990.

Little Rabbit Foo Foo, illustrated by Arthur Robins, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1990.

Who Drew on the Baby's Head?, Deutsch (London, England), 1991.

Mind the Gap, Scholastic (London, England), 1992.

Nuts about Nuts, illustrated by Sami Sweeten, Collins (London, England), 1993.

The Best of Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake, RDR Books (Oakland, CA), 1995.

Michael Rosen's ABC, illustrated by Bee Wiley, Macdonald (London, England), 1996.

You Wait till I'm Older than You, illustrated by Shoo Rainer, Viking (London, England), 1997.

The Michael Rosen Book of Nonsense, illustrated by Clare Mackie, Wayland Macdonald (Brighton, England), 1997.

Tea in the Sugar Bowl, Potato in My Shoe, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Walker (London, England), 1998.

Centrally Heated Knickers, illustrated by Harry Horse, Puffin (London, England), 1999.

Even More Nonsense from Michael Rosen, illustrated by Clare Mackie, Hodder (London, England), 2000.

Views of Notley Green, photographs by Ed Clark, Design Council (London, England), 2000.

Uncle Billy Being Silly, illustrated by Korky Paul, Puffin (London, England), 2001.

No Breathing in Class, illustrated by Korky Paul, Puffin (London, England), 2003.

Alphabet Poem, illustrated by Herve Tullet, Milet (London, England), 2004.

Something's Drastic (collection), illustrated by Tim Archbold, Collins (London, England), 2007.

Also author of Zoo at Night, illustrated by Bee Willey, Tradewind Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada). Contributor of poetry to educational materials.

RETELLINGS; FOR CHILDREN

A Cat and Mouse Story, illustrated by William Rushton, Deutsch (London, England), 1982.

The Wicked Tricks of Till Owlyglass, illustrated by Fritz Wegner, Walker (London, England), 1989.

Peter Pan, illustrated by Francesca Rovira, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Aladdin, illustrated by Jose M. Lavarello, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Alice in Wonderland, illustrated by Francesca Rovira, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Cinderella, illustrated by Agusti Ascensio, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

The Three Little Pigs, illustrated by Agusti Ascensio, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, illustrated by Jose M. Lavarello, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Hansel and Gretel, illustrated by Francesca Rovira, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Little Red Riding Hood, illustrated by Jose M. Lavarello, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Snow White, illustrated by Agusti Ascensio, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

The Little Tin Soldier, illustrated by Agusti Ascensio, Firefly (Hove, England), 1990.

The Princess and the Pea, illustrated by Francesca Rovira, Firefly (Hove, England), 1990.

Sinbad the Sailor, illustrated by Francesca Rovira, Firefly (Hove, England), 1990.

The Golem of Old Prague, illustrated by Val Biro, Deutsch (London, England), 1990, illustrated by Brian Simons, Five Leaves (Nottingham, England), 1997.

How the Animals Got Their Colours: Animal Myths from around the World, illustrated by John Clementson, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1992.

The First Giraffe, illustrated by John Clementson, Studio Editions (London, England), 1992, published as How Giraffe Got Such a Long Neck … and Why Rhino Is So Grumpy, Dial (New York, NY), 1993.

The Old Woman and the Pumpkin, illustrated by Bob Hewis, Learning by Design (London, England), 1994.

The Man with No Shadow (based on a story by Adelbert von Chamisso), illustrated by Reg Cartwright, Longmans (London, England), 1994, published as The Man Who Sold His Shadow, 1998.

Crow and Hawk: A Traditional Pueblo Indian Story, illustrated by John Clementson, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1995.

Two European Tales, illustrated by Barry Wilkinson and Gwen Touret, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2001.

A Jewish Tale, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, illustrated by Jane Ray, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

"SCRAPBOOK" SERIES; POETRY AND PROSE COLLECTIONS; FOR CHILDREN

Smelly Jelly Smelly Fish, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Prentice-Hall (New York, NY), 1986.

Under the Bed, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Prentice-Hall (New York, NY), 1986.

Hard-Boiled Legs, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Prentice-Hall (New York, NY), 1987.

Spollyollydiddilytiddlyitis, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Walker (London, England), 1987, published as Down at the Doctor's: The Sick Book, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1987.

NONFICTION; ADAPTED FROM SPANISH; FOR CHILDREN

Fear, the Attic, illustrated by Agusti Ascensio, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Friendship, the Oar, illustrated by H. Elena, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Imagination, the Tree, illustrated by Conxita Rodriguez, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Intelligence, the Formula, illustrated by Carme Peris, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Shyness, Isabel, illustrated by F. Infante, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

Lying, the Nose, illustrated by Carme Peris, Firefly (Hove, England), 1989.

"ZOOMABABY" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Zoomababy and the Great Dog Chase, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

Zoomababy and the Locked Cage, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

Zoomababy and the Mission to Mars, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

Zoomababy and the Rescue, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

Zoomababy and the Search for the Lost Mummy, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

Zoomababy at the World Cup, illustrated by Caroline Holden, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

EDITOR; FOR CHILDREN

Everybody Here, (miscellany), Bodley Head (London, England), 1982.

(With Susanna Steele) Inky Pinky Ponky: Children's Playground Rhymes, illustrated by Dan Jones, Granada (London, England), 1982.

(With David Jackson) Speaking to You, Macmillan (London, England), 1984.

(With Joan Griffiths), That'd Be Telling, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1985.

The Kingfisher Book of Children's Poetry, illustrated by Alice Englander, Kingfisher (London, England), 1985.

A Spider Bought a Bicycle, and Other Poems for Young Children, illustrated by Inga Moore, Kingfisher (Boston, MA), 1986.

The Kingfisher Book of Funny Stories, illustrated by Tony Blundell, Kingfisher (London, England), 1988.

Culture Shock, Viking (London, England), 1990.

Stories from Overseas/Histoires d'Outre-Mer, Ges-editions (Paris, France), 1990.

Give Me Shelter, Bodley Head (London, England), 1991.

A World of Poetry, Kingfisher (London, England), 1991.

Minibeasties, illustrated by Alan Baker, Firefly (Hove, England), 1991, published as Itsy-Bitsy Beasties: Poems from around the World, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 1992.

Sonsense Nongs, illustrated by Shoo Rayner, A & C Black (London, England), 1992.

South and North, East and West: The Oxfam Book of Children's Stories, Candlewick (Cambridge, MA), 1992.

Action Replay, Anecdotal Poems, illustrated by Andrzej Krauze, Viking (London, England), 1993.

Poems for the Very Young, illustrated by Bob Graham, Kingfisher (London, England), 1993, Kingfisher (Boston, MA), 1994.

Rude Rhymes II, Signet (New York, NY), 1994.

Pilly Soems, illustrated by Shoo Rayner, A & C Black (London, England), 1994.

A Different Story: Poems from the Past, English and Media Centre (London, England), 1994.

Rap with Rosen, Longmans (London, England), 1995.

Walking the Bridge of Your Nose, illustrated by Chloe Cheese, Kingfisher (London, England), 1996.

The Secret Life of Schools, Channel 4 Learning (London, England), 1997.

Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection, illustrated by Paul Howard, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.

Night-Night, Knight, and Other Poems, illustrated by Sue Heap, Walker (London, England), 1998.

Poems Are Crazy, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

Poems Are Noisy, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

Poems Are Pictures, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

Poems Are Private, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

Poems Are Public, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

Poems Are Quiet, Longman (Harlow, England), 2002.

NONFICTION; FOR ADULTS

Did I Hear You Write?, illustrated by Alan Pinchuck, Deutsch (London, England), 1989.

Goodies and Daddies: An A-Z Guide to Fatherhood, Murray (London, England), 1991.

(Coauthor) Holocaust Denial: The New Nazi Lie, Anti-Nazi League (London, England), 1992.

(With Jill Burridge) Treasure Islands II: An Adult Guide to Children's Writers, BBC Books (London, England), 1992.

Just Kids: How to Survive the Twos to Tens, illustrated by Caroline Holden, John Murray (London, England), 1995.

(And editor, with Myra Barrs) A Year with Poetry: Teachers Write about Teaching Poetry, Centre for Language in Primary Education (London, England), 1997.

(With Simon Elmes) Word of Mouth, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2002.

ANTHOLOGIES; FOR ADULTS

Rude Rhymes, illustrated by Riana Duncan, Deutsch (London, England), 1989, revised edition reprinted with Dirty Ditties and Vulgar Verses, Signet (London, England), 1992.

Dirty Ditties, (also see above), illustrated by Riana Duncan, Deutsch (London, England), 1990.

Vulgar Verses, (also see above), illustrated by Riana Duncan, Deutsch (London, England), 1991.

(With David Widgery) The Chatto Book of Dissent, Chatto & Windus (London, England), 1991.

Penguin Book of Childhood, Penguin (New York, NY), 1994.

Rude Rhymes Two, Signet (London, England), 1994.

POETRY; FOR ADULTS

Bloody L.I.A.R.S., illustrated by Alan Gilbey, privately printed, 1984.

You Are, Aren't You?, Jewish Socialist Group and Mushroom Bookshop (Nottingham, England), 1993.

The Skin of Your Back, Five Leaves Press (Nottingham, England), 1996.

Selected Poems, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 2007.

OTHER

Stewed Figs (play), produced at Oxford University, 1966.

Backbone (play; produced at Oxford University, 1967; produced on the West End, 1968), Faber (London, England), 1968.

Regis Debray (radio play), BBC-Radio 4, 1971.

I See a Voice (on poetry), Thames Television-Hutchinson (London, England), 1981.

Mordecai Vanunu: A Reconstruction (play), performed at Hackney Empire, October, 1993.

Pinocchio in the Park (play), produced in London, England, 2001.

Shakespeare: His Work and His World (nonfiction), illustrated by Robert Ingpen, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001, revised and abridged as What's So Special about Shakespeare?, Walker (London, England), 2007.

Carrying the Elephant: A Memoir of Love and Loss, Penguin (London, England), 2002.

This Is Not My Nose: A Memoir of Illness and Recovery, Penguin (London, England), 2004.

Dickens: His Work and His World (nonfiction), illustrated by Robert Ingpen, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005, revised and abridged as What's So Special about Dickens?, Walker (London, England), 2007.

Contributor to books, including There's a Poet behind You!, edited by Morag Styles and Helen Cook, A & C Black (London, England), 1988; After Alice: Exploring Children's Literature, edited by Morag Styles, Victor Watson, and Eve Bearne, Cassell (London, England), 1992; and Tales, Tellers, and Texts, edited by Gabrielle Cliff Hodges, Mary Jane Drummind, and Morag Styles, Cassell, 2000. Contributor to periodicals, including London Guardian, Books for Keeps, London Daily Telegraph, Signal, Times Educational Supplement, and Children's Literature in Education.

Author and presenter of radio programs for BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3, BBC World Service, and BBC Schools Radio, 1970—, including "Treasure Islands Special: Lashings of Ginger Beer" and "Dr. Seuss: Who Put the Cat in the Hat?" Author of scripts for television series, including The Juice Job, Thames TV, 1981, 1984; You Tell Me, Thames TV, 1982; Everybody Here, BBC Channel 4, 1982; Black and White and Read All Over, BBC Channel 4, 1984; and Talk Write Read, Central TV, 1986. Editor of video scripts, including Why Poetry, Mike Rosen, Count to Five and Say I'm Alive, Poetry Workshop, and A Poet's Life. Author of five plays about grandparenting for British Social Action Unit, BBC Radio, 2000.

Adaptations

Many of Rosen's books were adapted for audiocassette, read by the author, including The Bakerloo Flea, You Can't Catch Me, Quick, Let's Get out of Here, Hairy Tales and Nursery Crimes, Don't Put Mustard in the Custard, Sonsense Nongs, The Wicked Tricks of Till Owlyglass, You Wait till I'm Older than You, and Centrally Heated Knickers.

Sidelights

As School Librarian critic Margaret Meek proclaimed, anyone "who has seen Michael Rosen on TV, at work with children in school," or reading to children "testifies to his Pied Piper magic with words." Rosen's love of words, his talent for combining them in fresh and exciting ways, and his delightful ability to speak words the way a child would speak them has made him one of England's most popular children's storytellers and poets. It also contributed to his appointment as child's laureate in his native Great Britain in 2007. Describing The Best of Michael Rosen, a collection of over sixty poems from Rosen's work, Booklist contributor Carolyn Phelan praised the author for his "excellent descriptions of childhood experiences, sharp insights into people, and … humor." Citing his picture books and other writings as well, an essayist in the St. James Guide to Children's Writers asserted that "Rosen's poetry ha[d] become almost a school institution" in Great Britain by the late twentieth century. The "humor, accessibility, and child's-eye view" of Rosen's verse "has not only brought children into its spell but has enabled them to enter the world of poetry more widely," the essayist concluded. "That poetry's profile is now higher in schools than in the past, despite the odds currently stacked against it, is due in no small measure to him."

Rosen's love of words is reflected in his enthusiasm for compiling or creating anecdotes, jokes, songs, folk tales, fairytales, vignettes, and nonsense verse in books such as Action Replay, Anecdotal Poems and That'd Be Telling. Rosen's habit of collecting stories—or parts of them—is also apparent in his prose works, such as You're Thinking about Doughnuts and The Deadman Tapes, each of which contain several stories within the larger plot. As Rosen once told SATA, some "people are worried about whether what I write is ‘poetry.’ If they are worried, let them call it something else, for example, ‘stuff.’"

Rosen realized the importance of following his own muse after reading twentieth-century Irish author James Joyce's unconventional novel Portrait of the Artist as aYoung Man as a teenager. "That book really came home to me," he told an interviewer for Language Matters. "It was really quite extraordinary, because for the first time I realized that you could actually play around with different ways of saying something. So, for example, you could do a stream of consciousness or you could write about things that happened to you when you were six, and you could do it in the voice of a child of six. So I became absolutely fascinated by this idea and I started to write a few things of that sort."

In college, Rosen developed an interest in drama, and one of his plays was performed at London's Royal Court theatre. A study of the poems his mother selected for a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) program she helped produce inspired him to combine his interests in drama and verse and write poems for radio and television programs. Although his poems quickly made the air waves, it took longer for them to find a home on the printed page. As Rosen recalled in Language Matters, publishers rejected his submissions, "saying that ‘Children don't like poems written from the child's point of view.’" That dictum would be proved wrong in 1974 when an editor at Deutsch paired Rosen's verse with quirky drawing by illustrator Quentin Blake and Mind Your Own Business was published.

Since publication of Mind Your Own Business, Rosen's reputation for writing nonsense verse and humorous dialogue has steadily grown. According to Times Educational Supplement critic Edward Blishen, reviewing the early collections You Can't Catch Me! and Wouldn't You Like to Know, Rosen's talent lies in his ability to show "how far from being ordinary are the most ordinary of events." Such events are the subjects of the humorous You Can't Catch Me!, as one poem finds a father and child teasing one another, another ponders the joy of sailing, and still another focuses on the fear of the dark. Like You Can't Catch Me!, Wouldn't You Like to Know focus on relationships, fears, and simple joys. Noting the compatibility of the Blake/Rosen collaboration, a reviewer for Junior Bookshelf concluded that You Can't Catch Me! is a "gorgeous book," and a Junior Bookshelf contributor wrote of Wouldn't You Like to Know that Rosen's verse gives young teens "comforting insights into the problems that can make adults so troublesome."

The free-verse poems in Quick, Let's Get out of Here recall the events, episodes, and special moments of childhood: fights, birthday parties, tricks and schemes, and the like. As Helen Gregory related in School Library Journal, Rosen evokes emotions ranging from the "hysteria of silly joking" to "the agony of breaking a friend's toy." Horn Book contributor Ann A. Flowers remarked that, with its "irrepressible" and "outrageous" poems, Quick, Let's Get out of Here is a "far cry" from more traditional childhood classics. You Wait till I'm Older than You continues Rosen's poetic take on childhood with his characteristic "originality, authenticity, wit and affection," in the opinion of a Books for Keeps contributor. Noting that the collection "fully lives up to expectations," School Librarian reviewer Diane Broughton also had praise for the "moments of poignancy" provided by a series of verses recalling Rosen's own childhood, as well as for Shoo Rayner's "appealing" pen-and-ink illustrations. While the compilation volume Tea in the Sugar Bowl, Potato in My Shoe was considered too brief at only twenty-two pages of text and illustrations, New Statesman reviewer Michael Glover nonetheless dubbed the volume "a beautiful piece of work and an exemplary piece of publishing."

Rosen's ability to bring smiles to the faces of his young readers through rhyme also manifests itself in collections of silly verses and songs. Freckly Feet and Itchy Knees presents a list of body parts, describes their owners, and explains their functions in rhythmic verse. Before the end of the book, children are encouraged to wiggle and jiggle their own body parts. In the opinion of a Publishers Weekly reviewer, Freckly Feet and Itchy Knees is "always lighthearted" and "ideal for reading aloud." Nuts about Nuts contains another list set to rhyme, but this time the focus is on food: sweets like ice cream, cake, and honey as well as staples like bread, eggs, nuts, and rice are, as a Junior Bookshelf critic noted, "celebrated and examined." The English alphabet also comes in for a humorous reworking by Rosen in Michael Rosen's ABC, as easily recognizable characters like Goldilocks, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Humpty Dumpty, King Kong, and actor Charlie Chaplin team with well-known objects beginning with various letters of the alphabet to parade before readers in what School Library Journal contributor Tania Elias characterized as "tongue-twisting" fashion. Describing the text as a "glorious glut of alliterative nonsense," Jill Bennett noted in her Books for Keeps review of Michael Rosen's ABC that the collection is "peppered with wondrous words."

The works in Sonsense Nongs—eight ballads, parodies, and silly songs written by Rosen with contributions from children—are meant to be sung out loud. According to a Junior Bookshelf reviewer, Sonsense Nongs may help children gain a "deeper understanding of language as well as much fun and laughter." Children may also sing the words to Rosen's Little Rabbit Foo Foo, which is based on a children's finger-play song in which Little Rabbit Foo Foo bops his helpless victims on the head. Judith Sharman testified in Books for Keeps that her son found Little Rabbit Foo Foo so charming that she had to "sneak" the book away from him while he slept in order to write her review of it.

In addition to original verses, Rosen has also edited several volumes of poetry for young listeners. Walking the Bridge of Your Nose includes traditional and composed poems that "play with words, their sounds and their spellings, [and] their punctuations," according to Junior Bookshelf contributor Marcus Crouch. Readers will relish the puns, tongue twisters, chants, and quips Rosen serves up while "demonstrating the peculiarities and foolishness of the English language," Judith Constantinides noted in a School Library Journal review of the work. Other edited anthologies include The Kingfisher Book of Children's Poetry, which contains 250 poems, the multi-volume "Poems Are" books, and Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection, in which Rosen couples brief biographies of noted English-language poets from William Shakespeare to Langston Hughes with selections from their works. Containing over eighty poems, Classic Poetry "reaffirms the English poetry canon familiar to students throughout the English-speaking world since the 1940s," explained a Magpies contributor of the historic overview.

In addition to verse, Rosen is well known for his picture-book texts for pre-and beginning readers. In This Is Our House, a cardboard box takes on a new life to a group of playground friends and a young boy learns an important lesson about acceptance, resulting in what a Kirkus Reviews critic dubbed "a persuasive and entertaining morality play" that reflects the way children think and learn. Praising the "clear and engaging manner" in which Rosen evokes the insecurity and other feelings at the root of discrimination, School Library Journal reviewer Steven Engelfried added that the author includes "no lectures in the text," leaving the young protagonists to "work out the problem on their own using actions rather than speeches." "Rosen has an instinctive feel for the way children confront one another, ponder, negotiate and form alliances," concluded a Publishers Weekly contributor, the critic adding that "every word" of Rosen's text "rings true."

Other picture books by Rosen include Rover and its sequel, Howler, as well as Mission Ziffoid, We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen's Sad Book, and Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry. Featuring entertaining art by Neal Layton, both Rover and its follow-up overturn the usual perspective on children and their pets as the dog narrates the accounts of life with his pet humans. Rover finds the customs of his human pets Rex and Cindy odd: at the seashore, for example, they run around and then lay down and play dead, while at home they stare for hours at a loud box rather than playing with toys. In Howler, when Cindy grows visibly larger, Rover is concerned; when she leaves home and then returns several days later with a small, loud, and prune-like creature the dog quickly names Howler, the pup goes from concerned to dismayed. However, a friendship with a neighborhood dog named Ruff Ruff results in a litter of puppies and ultimately Rover rebuilds his relationship with his human family. Barbara James praised Rover as "bright and breezy" in tone in her review for Magpies, adding that young children "will enjoy the leap of imagination of seeing humans from a dog's point of view." In Kirkus Reviews, a contributor described Howler as a "lively, equally droll follow-up to Rover."

Rosen spins an offbeat story in Mission Ziffoid, as a boy builds a faulty spaceship and winds up in the center of a football game played by small, greenish alien beings … at least, according to the ship-builder's little brother. Praising the text as "laconic and hilarious," a Magpies reviewer noted that the story's "imaginative flights of fancy" result from Rosen's care in listening "to young children telling cumulative yarns." Calling Mission Ziffoid "a natural readaloud with a generous dose of kid-pleasing hilarity," Janice M. Del Negro added in her review for the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books that "the text zips right along," fueled by Arthur Robins' over-the-top, neon-colored illustrations.

Many children will recognize the story in Rosen's multi-award-winning picture book We're Going on a Bear Hunt, which is based on a traditional British children's song. Eager to find a bear, a young family wades through mud, water, grass, and snow and braves the dangers of a forest, a river, and a cave. As they meet each obstacle, they make their way through the muck with joyful chants. When the family finally finds the bear, the creature scares them so much that they turn around and hurry back through each obstacle. As Elizabeth S. Watson commented in Horn Book, Rosen's text has "a driving rhythm" and "new sounds" that give the familiar tale added "sparkle." Another joyous experience is at the heart of Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry, which focuses on Molly and the teacher who, even in a bustling classroom, takes the time to share the girl's enthusiasm for a special treasure. Calling Rosen "spot-on in addressing emotions," a Kirkus Reviews contributor noted his ability to transform quicksilver mood changes into metaphors children will immediately relate to.

While the characters in We're Going on a Bear Hunt and Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry are optimistic and upbeat, Michael Rosen's Sad Book focuses on the other end of the emotional spectrum. Featuring a spare text and scribbly pen-and-wash illustrations by Blake, the book is an intensely personal one—it was inspired by the author's depression following the death of his teenaged son, Eddie. Reviewing Michael Rosen's Sad Book in Booklist, Ilene Cooper addressed the question of whether the work was appropriate for children. "To think that [it is not] would be to dismiss the truth we all try to hide from," Cooper hastened to add. "Sadness is part of the human condition. Children know this as well as adults and perhaps feel it even more keenly since they haven't had as much time to develop defenses." "Rosen's poetic revelation of his conflicting emotions and coping strategies will resonate with—and help—anyone mourning a loss or dealing with an indefinable sadness," added a Publishers Weekly of the work, while Horn Book reviewer Joanna Rudge Long found the conclusion to be "upbeat but not jarringly so." Noting the value of Michael Rosen's Sad Book for anyone "who's seriously depressed or grieving," Long described Rosen and Blake's collaboration "a beautiful, solacing book."

Rosen's treatment of folktales is tempered by his respect for their origins. Described by School Library Journal contributor Lee Bock as "lively" and "bright," How Giraffe Got Such a Long Neck … and Why Rhino Is So Grumpy is his version of an Eastern and Southern African porquoi tale that tells how Giraffe—originally a small beast—and the much larger Rhino implore Man to help them survive the drought. Although Man in- structs Giraffe and Rhino to visit him the next day for help reaching the leaves high in the trees, Rhino does not arrive on time, and Giraffe eats his portion of Man's remedy as well as her own. As a result, Giraffe's neck grows long. Rhino, who feels cheated, only grows grumpy.

The Golem of Old Prague collects stories concerning the legendary Rabbi Loeb of Prague and tell how the rabbi creates a golem—a huge, strong, but mindless creature—out of clay and gives him life. With the help of the powerful and loyal golem, Rabbi Loeb ensures the Jewish community's survival when they are persecuted by the monk Thaddeus. Writing in Books for Your Children, S. Williams concluded that The Golem of Old Prague "gives insight to Jewish thinking, customs, and way of life" in sixteenth-century Prague.

South and North, East and West: The Oxfam Anthology of Children's Stories, which Rosen edited, is a collection of twenty-five stories that includes tales from Cyprus, Korea, the Dominican Republic, Bangladesh, China, Jamaica, Malta, Vietnam, and England. Betsy Hearne, writing in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, found these retellings to be "fresh and colloquial." The royalties from South and North, East and West benefit Oxfam, the international organization that establishes self-help development programs in countries disrupted by natural or man-made disasters.

Rosen's work for older children and teenagers frequently addresses serious issues. His poetry collection When Did You Last Wash Your Feet?, for example, deals with topics from racism to terminal illness. Mind the Gap, a collection of poems Sue Rogers described in School Librarian as "brilliant," features "comic, sad," and "controversial" all at once, including one verse that recalls the past as the narrator's mother is dying. Books for Keeps critic Adrian Jackson advised librarians to buy many copies, predicting that "teenagers will love it." In Culture Shock, a collection of poems Rosen selected from around the world, racism, sexism, love, and hate are also addressed.

Like Rosen's more serious poetry, several of Rosen's novels contain serious undertones. The Deadman Tapes presents a series of stories within a larger plot. When Paul Deadman plays some tapes he has found in the attic of his new house, he is introduced to the voices and stories of eight troubled teens. With occasional interruptions from Paul, these stories make up the novel's text. The short novel You're Thinking about Doughnuts also contains several stories, in this case told from strange perspectives. Frank, who is just eight years old, must wait in the dark halls of the museum where his mother works every Friday night. One night, the exhibits, including a skeleton, a space suit, several Greek statues, and a stuffed tiger, come alive. As these exhibits tell Frank about their lives before they were taken to the quiet museum, Rosen also injects questions about the "honesty and integrity of an institutional building like a museum," according to School Librarian contributor Tom Lewis.

Like his poetry, Rosen's prose for older children often develops around episodes and anecdotes, calls upon his performer's love of dialogue, and insightfully expresses the perspectives of his protagonist. In one example, the story collection Nasty! is narrated by a talkative Cockney cleaning woman known as the Bakerloo Flea Woman. She tells the story of the giant Bakerloo flea, recalls how wasps plagued the residents of London's East End one winter, and remembers how they dealt with the mice that invaded their homes. Rosen's love of drama, as well as his appreciation for literature, are also apparent in his biographies of two literary giants. Featuring highly detailed paintings by Robert Ingpen, both Shakespeare: His Work and His World and Dickens: His Work and His World put two influential English writers into a cultural context that makes each man come alive for readers, while also retelling several major works by each man. Reviewing Dickens in Booklist, Cooper called Rosen's retelling of the nineteenth-century novelist's life "a tale as gripping as any of his [Charles Dickens'] stories," and a Kirkus Reviews writer dubbed Shakespeare "beautiful and engaging."

Rosen enjoys sharing the techniques that have made him a successful children's writer. He has published books on writing such as Did I Hear You Write?, and also visits schools and libraries. He revealed one of the secrets of his unique style to Language Matters: "What I try to do in my mind is to go back and write about my feelings when I was ten…. I write about my experience using the voice of a ten year old. I write in that voice, using what I know as a performer will work, knowing, that is, what children can take off a page." Discussing the opportunities that the position as children's laureate would provide, he told Bookseller interviewer Caroline Horn: "I have been doing performance poetry for 30 years and I know how children respond to it. You look at their faces when you start and it's like an infection—it spreads across their face, through their bodies, around them. They move, they light up. Wouldn't it be lovely to see more and more of that?"

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Children's Literature Review, Volume 45, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997, pp. 127-152.

Language Matters, Centre for Language in Primary Education (London, England), 1983.

Nettell, Stephanie, editor, Meet the Authors, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1994.

Powling, Chris, What It's Like to Be Michael Rosen, Ginn (Oxford, England), 1990.

St. James Guide to Children's Writers, 5th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Styles, Morag, and Helen Cook, editors, There's a Poet behind You, A & C Black (London, England), 1988.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 1993, Elizabeth Bush, review of How Giraffe Got Such a Long Neck … and Why Rhino Is So Grumpy, p. 695; December 15, 1993, Julie Corsaro, review of Moving, p. 766; January 1, 1994, Carolyn Phelan, review of Poems for the Very Young, p. 821; April 15, 1995, Karen Hutt, review of Crow and Hawk: A Traditional Pueblo Indian Story, p. 1503; February 1, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Best of Michael Rosen, p. 929; November 1, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of This Is Our House, p. 510; June 1, 1997, Kathleen Squires, review of Michael Rosen's ABC, p. 1712; January 1, 1999, Carolyn Phelan, review of Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection, p. 862; July, 1999, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Rover, p. 1953; November 1, 2001, John Peters, review of Shakespeare: His Work and His World, p. 477; December 1, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, p. 659; May 15, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Michael Rosen's Sad Book, p. 1658; September 15, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Dickens: His Work and His World, p. 62; August 1, 2006, Ilene Cooper, review of Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry, p. 96.

Bookseller, June 15, 2007, Caroline Horn, interview with Rosen.

Books for Keeps, May, 1992, Judith Sharman, review of Little Rabbit Foo Foo, p. 11; September, 1992, Adrian Jackson, review of Mind the Gap, p. 13; March, 1996, Jill Bennett, review of Michael Rosen's ABC, p. 28; January, 1997, review of You Wait till I'm Older than You, p. 25; September, 1999, review of Rover, p. 21.

Books for Your Children, spring, 1991, S. Williams, review of The Golem of Old Prague, p. 24.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 1992, Betsy Hearne, review of South and North, East and West, pp. 121-122; June, 1999, Deborah Stevenson, review of Rover, p. 363; November, 1999, Janice M. Del Negro, review of Mission Ziffoid, pp. 104-105; April, 2005, Deborah Stevenson, review of Michael Rosen's Sad Book, p. 355; March, 2006, April Spisak, review of Dickens, p. 325.

Horn Book, June, 1984, Anne A. Flowers, review of Quick, Let's Get out of Here, p. 345; December, 1989, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of We're Going on a Bear Hunt, p. 765; September-October, 1993, Maeve Visser Knoth, review of How Giraffe Got Such a Long Neck … and Why Rhino Is So Grumpy, p. 611; July-August, 1996, Margaret A. Bush, review of This Is Our House, p. 454; May-June, 2005, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Michael Rosen's Sad Book, p. 313.

Junior Bookshelf, February, 1982, review of You Can't Catch Me!, p. 22; October, 1992, review of Sonsense Nongs, p. 201; June, 1993, review of Nuts about Nuts, p. 100; June, 1995, pp. 93-94; April, 1996, Marcus Crouch, review of Walking the Bridge of Your Nose, p. 71; October, 1996, review of You Can't Catch Me, p. 194; December, 1996, review of Wouldn't You Like to Know, pp. 259-260.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1996, review of This Is Our House, p. 829; October 15, 2001, review of Shakespeare, p. 149; November 15, 2003, review of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, p. 1363; April 15, 2004, review of Howler, p. 400; January 15, 2005, review of Michael Rosen's Sad Book, p. 125; April 1, 2005, review of Oww!: A Wriggly Piglet with a Prickly Problem, p. 423; September 15, 2005, review of Dickens, p. 1033; August 15, 2006, review of Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry, p. 850.

Magpies, March, 1996, review of Crow and Hawk, p. 29; November, 1998, review of Classic Poetry, pp. 18-19; July, 1999, review of Mission Ziffoid, pp. 26-27; November, 1999, review of Rover, p. 28.

New Statesman, December 5, 1997, review of Tea in the Sugar Bowl, Potato in My Shoe, p. 63.

Observer (London, England), May 30, 1999, review of The Kingfisher Book of Children's Poetry, p. 13.

Publishers Weekly, June 30, 1989, review of We're Going on a Bear Hunt, p. 104; June 8, 1990, review of Freckly Feet and Itchy Knees, p. 54; September 21, 1992, review of South and North, East and West, p. 94; July 26, 1993, review of How Giraffe Got Such a Long Neck … and Why Rhino Is So Grumpy, p. 71; February 27, 1995, review of Crow and Hawk, p. 102; October 16, 1995, review of Walking the Bridge of Your Nose, p. 61; December 18, 1995, review of The Best of Michael Rosen, p. 54; June 24, 1996, review of This Is Our House, p. 58; March 3, 1997, review of Michael Rosen's ABC, p. 77; December 14, 1998, review of Classic Poetry, p. 77; April 26, 1999, review of Walking the Bridge of Your Nose, p. 85; June 7, 1999, review of Rover, p. 83; December 3, 2001, review of Shakespeare, p. 61; April 4, 2005, review of Michael Rosen's Sad Book, p. 58.

School Librarian, March, 1985, Colin Walter, review of Hairy Tales and Nursery Crimes, p. 40; May, 1988, Tom Lewis, review of You're Thinking about Doughnuts, p. 59; August, 1989, Margaret Meek, review of Did I Hear You Write?, p. 128; November, 1992, Sue Rogers, review of Mind the Gap, p. 156; February, 1997, Diane Broughton, review of You Wait till I'm Older than You!, p. 43; winter, 1999, Anne Rowe, review of Lunch Boxes Don't Fly, p. 208.

School Library Journal, May, 1982, review of You Can't Catch Me, p. 56; November, 1983, Margaret L. Chatham, review of A Cat and Mouse Story, p. 69; October, 1984, Helen Gregory, review of Quick, Let's Get out of Here, p. 161; January, 1987, Barbara McGinn, review of Don't Put Mustard in the Custard, p. 78; May, 1989, Lucy Young Clem, review of Down at the Doctor's, p. 101; February, 1991, JoAnn Rees, review of Little Rabbit Foo Foo, p. 74; December, 1992, Karen Wehner, review of Itsy-Bitsy Beasties, p. 127; October, 1993, Lee Bock, review of How Giraffe Got Such a Long Neck … and Why Rhino Is So Grumpy, pp. 121-22; March, 1994, Carolyn Noah, review of Moving, p. 208; July, 1995, Lisa Dennis, review of Crow and Hawk, p. 74; January, 1996, Judith Constantinides, review of Walking the Bridge of Your Nose, p. 105; July, 1996, Steven Engelfried, review of This Is Our House, p. 71; March, 1997, Tana Elias, review of Michael Rosen's ABC, p. 165; June, 1999, Carol Ann Wilson, review of Rover, p. 106; December, 1999, Sally R. Dow, review of Mission Ziffoid, p. 112; November, 2001, Patricia Lothrop-Green, review of Shakespeare, p. 184; February, 2004, Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, review of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, p. 168; August, 2004, Wendy Woodfill, review of Howler, p. 93; March, 2005, Maryann H. Owen, review of Michael Rosen's Sad Book, p. 218; November, 2005, Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, review of Dickens, p. 170; September, 2006, Piper L. Nyman, review of Totally Wonderful Miss Plumberry, p. 183.

Times Educational Supplement, November 20, 1981, Edward Blishen, "Nonsense Not Nauseous," p. 34; October 31, 1997, review of Tea in the Sugarbowl, Potato in My Shoe, p. 244; October 19, 2001, John Mole, review of Shakespeare, p. B22.

Times Higher Education Supplement, May 6, 1994, Colwyn Williamson, review of The Chatto Book of Dissent, p. 28.

Times Literary Supplement, March 8, 1985, George Szirtes, review of Hairy Tales and Nursery Crimes, p. 270; April 7, 1989, Carol Ann Duffy, review of Didn't I Hear You Write?, p. 381; November 24, 1989, D.J. Enright, review of Rude Rhymes, p. 1310.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 2004, review of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, p. 241; February, 2007, Jonatha Masters, review of Shakespeare, p. 556.

ONLINE

Michel Rosen Home Page,http://www.michaelrosen.co.uk (August 10, 2007).

WriteWords Writers' Community Web site,http://www.writewords.org/ (February, 2006), interview with Rosen.