Schneider, Howie 1930–2007
Schneider, Howie 1930–2007
Born 1930, in New York, NY; died from complications due to heart surgery, June 28, 2007, in MA; married Susan Seligson (a writer), 1992; children: Peter, Evan. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, community activism.
Editorial cartoonist and sculptor. Providence Banner, Providence, RI, editorial cartoonist, beginning 2000. Cofounder of Yearrounders Festival, Provincetown, MA. Member of board, Newspapers Features Council and National Cartoonists Society.
Two New England Press Association Awards for Best Editorial Cartoon, for work on Provincetown Banner.
FOR CHILDREN; SELF-ILLUSTRATED
(With wife, Susan Seligson) Amos: The Story of an Old Dog and His Couch, Joy Street Books (Boston, MA), 1987.
(With Susan Seligson) The Amazing Amos and the Greatest Couch on Earth, Joy Street Books (Boston, MA), 1989.
(With Susan Seligson) Amos, Ahoy!: A Couch Adventure on Land and Sea, Joy Street Books (Boston, MA), 1990.
(With Susan Seligson) Amos Camps Out: A Couch Adventure in the Woods, Joy Street Books (Boston, MA), 1992.
Uncle Lester's Hat, Putnam (New York, NY), 1993.
No Dogs Allowed, Putnam's (New York, NY), 1995.
Chewy Louie, Rising Moon (Flagstaff, AZ), 2000.
Wilky the White House Cockroach, Putnam (New York, NY), 2006.
The World Is No Place for Children, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1960.
The Deceivers, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1961.
Mom's the Word: Some Unlikely Admonitions from Mothers of Famous People to Their Offspring, World Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 1968.
Creator of comic strips "Eek and Meek," 1965-2000, "The Sunshine Club: Life in Generation Rx," 2003-06, "Unshucked," "Percy's World," and "Bimbo's Circus."
Olga Cossi, Gus the Bus, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1989.
Jean Davies Okimoto, Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat, Joy Street Books (Boston, MA), 1990.
Cartoons appeared in numerous periodicals, including New Yorker, Esquire, Redbook, Playboy, and McCall's.
Although Howie Schneider spent much of his career as an editorial cartoonist and creator of the long-running comic strip "Eek and Meek," he led something of a dual life as the author and illustrator of humorous books for children. His first three picture books, written between 1987 and 1990 and beginning with Amos: The Story of an Old Dog and His Couch, were coauthored with his wife, writer Susan Seligson and feature the adventures of a sedentary Irish setter. Schneider's subsequent self-illustrated books for children included Uncle Lester's Hat, Chewy Louie, and Wilky the White House Cockroach. He occasionally collaborated with other writers, producing illustrations for Olga Cossi's Gus theBus and Jean Davies Okimoto's Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat, the latter book a humorous tale about a curmudgeonly man and a persistent pussycat that is enlivened by what a Publishers Weekly reviewer described as "winsome, nostalgic illustrations."
Born in 1930, Schneider started his "Eek and Meek" comic, about a pair of darkly philosophical mice, in 1965. Picked up by United Media, the strip grew in popularity, appearing in syndication in over 400 newspapers before its author decided to call it quits in 2000. Three years later, Schneider returned to newspapers via "The Sunshine Club: Life in Generation Rx," a strip geared for ageing baby boomers. Highlighting a host of senior moments via its cast of ageing animal characters—including Uncle Bunty, George, Edna, Willard, unhappily widowed Fran, the happily married Bovines, the television-addicted Badgers, and elder statesman Professor Noodle—"The Sunshine Club" was syndicated in dozens of newspapers before ending shortly before Schneider's death in 2007. Making his home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Schneider also worked as an editorial cartoonist for the Provincetown Banner. In a 2004 interview with Editor & Publisher contributor Dave Astor, Schnieder noted of his return to comics following the end of his "Eek and Meek" series: "You get in the habit of looking at the world through these little droplets of humor. If you don't have characters' mouths to put observations in, you feel frustrated. It's like taking away a ventriloquist's dummy."
Schneider's picture books often included dog characters. In Chewy Louie, for example, a growing puppy finds that his opportunities to chew expand as he grows, and from his toys and food bowl his nibble radius ex-
pands to his family's furniture, the family car, and even the family house. Try as they might, obedience trainers cannot break the fuzzy black pup of his destructive habit, so all must wait until he matures into a full-grown dog. Noting Schneider's upbeat cartoon drawings for the book, Booklist reviewer Todd Morning praised Chewy Louie as "a goofy tale with a lot of kid appeal." Also noting the book's lighthearted humor, Maryann H. Owen wrote in School Library Journal that "Chewy Louie's exuberance is almost palpable and his teeth marks are everywhere" in Schneider's "entertaining tale." No Dogs Allowed, another book by Schneider, also spins a silly story, this time focusing on a family's efforts to thwart a hotel's rule against pets by dressing their dog Mercer as an erudite Frenchman.
Schneider presented readers with a witty play on everything from high-tech security systems to bug behavior in Wilky the White House Cockroach. Illustrated with Schneider's characteristic spare cartoon drawings, a little cockroach named Willy hides in a pizza box leaving his family's pizza parlor home and winds up hitching a ride into the Oval Office, where the president and his staff are looking forward to lunch. When Wilky is spotted scuttling across the presidential desk and across the floor into the War Room in an effort to escape, he becomes the object of a hunt that spins out of control and eventually includes the Minister of Creepy Crawlies and the Exterminator General, as well as a representative of every national media outlet. Fortunately, recalling the advice of his wise and long-lived Uncle Julius, Wilky manages to survive his short stint as a national security threat. In Booklist Carolyn Phelan remarked on the book's appeal for both children and adults, and called Wilky the White House Cockroach "broadly comical in effect," and a Publishers Weekly writer noted that the author/illustrator's "clear drawings enable beginning readers to easily grasp the plot" of a "mischievous twist on a familiar story." While calling Schneider's tale "slight," Wendy Woodfill concluded in School Library Journal that Wilky the White House Cockroach contains "zany illustrations [that] are filled with sophisticated humor."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, September 1, 1992, Ellen Mandel, review of Amos Camps Out: A Couch Adventure in the Woods, p. 69; July, 1995, Ilene Cooper, review of No Dogs Allowed, p. 1884; August, 2000, Todd Morning, review of Chewy Louie, p. 2149; October 15, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Wilky the White House Cockroach, p. 55.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 2007, Elizabeth Bush, review of Wilky the White House Cockroach, p. 229.
Editor & Publisher, April 15, 2004, Dave Astor, interview with Schneider.
Horn Book, January-February, 1988, Ann A. Flowers review of Amos: The Story of an Old Dog and His Couch, p. 56; May, 1989, review of The Amazing Amos and the Greatest Couch on Earth, p. 391; July-August, 1990, Martha V. Parravano, review of Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat, p. 447.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2006, review of Wilky the White House Cockroach, p. 85.
Publishers Weekly, September 25, 1987, review of Amos, p. 108; December 9, 1988, review of Gus the Bus, p. 64; February 10, 1989, review of The Amazing Amos and the Greatest Couch on Earth, p. 70; May 11, 1990, review of Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat, p. 259; August 9, 1993, review of Uncle Lester's Hat, p. 477; June 19, 1995, review of No Dogs Allowed, p. 59.
School Library Journal, December, 1987, Susan Scheps, review of Amos, p. 76; April, 1989, Mary Lou Budd, review of The Amazing Amos and the Greatest Couch on Earth, p. 91; July, 1989, John Philborok, review of Gus the Bus, p. 63; July, 1990, John Peters, review of Blumpoe the Grumpoe Meets Arnold the Cat, p. 63; October, 1990, Luann Toth, review of Amos Ahoy!, p. 201; September, 1992, Anna Biagioni Hart, review of Amos Camps Out, p. 210; November, 1993, Mary Lou Budd, review of Uncle Lester's Hat, p. 90; August, 1995, Christina Dorr, review of No Dogs Allowed, p. 1289; November, 2000, Maryann H. Owen, review of Chewy Louie, p. 132; September, 2006, Wendy Woodfill, review of Wilky the White House Cockroach, p. 184.
Editor and Publisher, June 19, 2007.
Boston Globe Online,http://www.boston.com/ (July 1, 2007).
Provincetown Banner Online,http://www.provincetownbanner.com/ (June 28, 2007).