Rosenthal, Marc 1949–

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Rosenthal, Marc 1949–


Born 1949; married; wife's name Eileen; children: Willem. Education: Graduated from Princeton University, 1971; State University of New York, M.F.A., 1978. Hobbies and other interests: Ashtanga yoga, cooking, eating.


Home and office—Lenox, MA. Agent—Gerald & Cullen Rapp, 420 Lexington Ave., New York, NY, 10170; E-mail—[email protected]


Designer, sequential artist, and book illustrator. Worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for Milton Glaser, New York, NY; freelance illustrator, 1983—; clients in- clude AT&T and McCann-Erickson. Creator of Earth 2U (traveling exhibition on geography for children), with Smithsonian Institution and National Geographic Society.



Phooey!, Joanna Cotler Books (New York, NY), 2007.


Paul Rosenthal, Where on Earth: A Geografunny Guide to the Globe, Knopf (New York, NY), 1992.

Kate Banks, Peter and the Talking Shoes, Knopf (New York, NY), 1994.

Mem Fox, The Straight Line Wonder, Mondo (Greenvale, NY), 1996.

Daniil Kharms, First, Second, translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1996.

Paul Rosenthal, Yo, Aesop!: Get a Load of These Fables, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.

David Schiller, The Runaway Beard, Workman Publishing (New York, NY), 1998.

Samuel Marshak, The Absentminded Fellow, translated from the Russian by Richard Pevear, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1999.

Michael Abrams and Jeffrey Winters, Dr. Broth and Ollie's Brain-boggling Search for the Lost Luggage: Across Time and Space in Eighty Puzzles, Fireside (New York, NY), 2000.

Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha, Dig!, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2004.

Contributor to Little Lit Two: Strange Stories for Strange Kids, edited by Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly, RAW (New York, NY), 2001. Contributor to periodicals, including Time, Newsweek, Fortune, New Yorker, and Atlantic Monthly.


Marc Rosenthal is a designer, sequential artist, and illustrations whose work has appeared in such publications as Time, Newsweek, and the New Yorker. He has also provided the art for several critically acclaimed children's books, including First, Second by Russian author Daniil Kharms and Dig! by the husband-and-wife team of Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha. Rosenthal has also produced a self-illustrated title, Phooey!

Rosenthal's first picture book, Where on Earth: A Geografunny Guide to the Globe, was a collaboration with his brother, author Paul Rosenthal. The work features a variety of humorous mnemonic devices to help young readers learn geographical terms. "Cartoony illustrations extend the academic antics," a contributor in Publishers Weekly observed. The duo have also teamed up on Yo, Aesop!: Get a Load of These Fables, which includes zany retellings of well-known tales. Rosenthal's "pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations elevate the tales with a 1940s color scheme and imaginative perspectives," remarked a Publishers Weekly critic, and Susan Dove Lempke, writing in Booklist, stated that Rosenthal's "illustrations are zippy and bold in shades of green, orange, and yellow, accentuated with black ink lines."

Rosenthal served as the illustrator for Peter and the Talking Shoes, a cumulative tale by Kate Banks. According to Ilene Cooper in Booklist, "Gasoline Alley-style cartoon characters cavort through a funny retro-world where unusual shapings and offbeat perspectives will catch kids' attention." Mem Fox addresses themes of individuality and identity in The Straight Line Wonder, about a straight black line that decides to experiment with curves, much to the shock of its friends. "Rosenthal's bouncy artwork catches the story's frisky flavor," observed Lempke, and a Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that the illustrator "succeeds in attributing the thick black lines with personality through a shock of wild hair, wire-rim spectacles or a bright baseball cap."

Originally published in a Russian children's magazine in the 1930s, Kharms's text for First, Second follows a group of companions traveling through a fantastical landscape. Booklist contributor Hazel Rochman praised the "brightly colored cartoon-style pictures that extend the exaggeration and cheerful innocence of the non-sense world." The Absentminded Fellow, a story by Russian author Samuel Marshak that was first published in 1928, follows the misadventures of an amusing but befuddled soul. "Defying gravity and exuding antic glee, Rosenthal's figures hurl themselves across [the] pages" of this story, Joanna Rudge Long announced in a Horn Book review.

In Dig!, Zimmerman and Clemesha depict a day in the life of Mr. Rally, a construction worker, and his loyal dog, Lightning. According to New York Times Book Review critic Jess Bruder, in Dig! Rosenthal's "illustrations in ink and watercolor are full of action and small surprises," and a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the book's "simple, good-humored art harks back to classic picture books with the appealing old-fashioned feel of Margaret Bloy Graham or Virginia Lee Burton."

Rosenthal's authorial debut, Phooey! centers on a bored youngster who unwittingly triggers a series of riotous events in his town. The action is more old-time movie than modern picture book," noted Robin Smith in her Horn Book review of the original work. "In his pliable line drawings, sunny watercolor palette and quaint town setting," a Publishers Weekly critic wrote, "Rosenthal salutes '30s and '40s comic strips and children's classics."

Rosenthal, who worked for designer Charles Eames and illustrator Milton Glaser earlier in his career, believes that those artists greatly influenced his own aesthetic. As he told an interviewer on the HarperCollins Web site, "I feel that all of our experiences shape us, and enrich our creative life. For example, in college, I studied architecture, and, at one point in my life, worked as a carpenter. The appreciation I developed for building, and for how things fit together, can be seen directly in Phooey! I studied design and was involved with filmmaking. Both of these disciplines are present in all of my work."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, April 1, 1994, Ilene Cooper, review of Peter and the Talking Shoes, p. 1457; April 15, 1996, Hazel Rochman, review of First, Second, p. 1445; October 15, 1997, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Straight Line Wonder, p. 414; April, 1998, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Yo, Aesop!: Get a Load of These Fables, p. 1322; July, 1999, Susan Dove Lempke, review of The Absentminded Fellow, p. 1952; May 15, 2004, Gillian Engberg, review of Dig!, p. 1627; July 1, 2007, Hazel Rochman, review of Phooey!, p. 66.

Horn Book, September-October, 1996, Lauren Adams, review of First, Second, p. 580; March-April, 1999, Joanna Rudge Long, review of The Absentminded Fellow, p. 198; September-October, 2007, Robin Smith, review of Phooey!, p. 561.

New York Times Book Review, September 19, 2004, Jess Bruder, review of Dig!, p. 16.

Publishers Weekly, November 9, 1992, review of Where on Earth: A Geografunny Guide to the Globe, p. 88; March 11, 1996, review of First, Second, p. 62; August 18, 1997, review of Straight Line Wonder, p. 93; March 23, 1998, review of Yo, Aesop!, p. 99; May 3, 1999, review of The Absentminded Fellow, p. 75; May 10, 2004, review of Dig!, p. 57; July 23, 2007, review of Phooey!, p. 66.

School Library Journal, July, 2004, Marian Creamer, review of Dig!, p. 90; September, 2007, Julie R. Ranelli, review of Phooey!, p. 174.


HarperCollins Web site, (September 10, 2008), "A Q&A with the Creator of Phooey!"

Marc Rosenthal Home Page, (September 10, 2008).

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Rosenthal, Marc 1949–

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