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Seeger, Laura Vaccaro

Seeger, Laura Vaccaro

Personal

Married Chris Seeger; children: Drew, Dylan.

Addresses

HomeLong Island, NY. Agent—Frank Weimann, Literary Group International, The Stanford Building, 51 E. 25th St., New York, NY 10010. E-mail[email protected]

Career

Animator, writer, and illustrator.

Awards, Honors

Emmy Award, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, for network television animations and show openings; Notable Book designation, American Library Association (ALA), Best Book of the Year designation, Child magazine, and New York Public Library Best Book for Giving and Sharing designation, all 2004, all for The Hidden Alphabet; ALA Notable Book designation, Best Book of the Year designation, Child magazine, and New York Public Library Best Book for Giving and Sharing designation, all 2005, all for Lemons Are Not Red; Best Book of the Year designation, Child magazine, ALA Notable Book designation, and Children's Choice designation, International Reading Association, all 2006, all for Walter Was Worried.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

I Had a Rooster: A Traditional Folk Song, foreword by Pete Seeger, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2001.

The Hidden Alphabet, Roaring Brook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2003.

Lemons Are Not Red, Roaring Brook Press (Brookfield, CT), 2004.

Walter Was Worried, Roaring Brook Press (New Milford, CT), 2005.

Black? White! Day? Night!, Roaring Brook Press (New Milford, CT), 2006.

Dog and Bear, Roaring Brook Press (New Milford, CT), 2006.

Sidelights

Laura Vaccaro Seeger's children's books have been recognized by several literary organizations, including the American Library Association and the International Reading Association. Before venturing into the world of children's literature, Seeger animated countless television-show openings and children's videos, and earned an Emmy award for her animation work. Now exclusively dedicated to writing and illustrating children's publications, Seeger has been praised by critics for her inventive and elegant, yet simple, illustrations.

I Had a Rooster: A Traditional Folk Song includes a foreword by well-known folk singer Pete Seeger, who is the author/illustrator's uncle through marriage. Her uniquely designed children's book features the verses of one of Pete Seeger's folk songs, includes a sing-along CD, and is published in a spiral-bound format. Seeger also allows young readers to see the verse on each page simultaneously by progressively shortening the book's pages. Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor Deborah Stevenson noted that "youngsters will get a kick out of turning the cleverly formatted pages as well as singing along." The verses found in I Had a Rooster describe how different animals make different sounds and give examples of the distinctive noises of a rooster, a cat, a lion, a duck, a cow, a sheep, and a baby. In her illustrations, Seeger creates oil paintings that imitate folk art and utilize bold, opaque colors. Lolly Robinson, writing in Horn Book, claimed that while the book "suffers from a static feeling," Seeger's "cut-paper design is innovative."

The Hidden Alphabet reinforces the author/illustrator's talent for creating pioneering children's books. In describing the cover of The Hidden Alphabet, Horn Book reviewer Robinson commented that Seeger's alphabet book "is a concept book with a capital C." Seeger uses positive and negative space to create "hidden" letters of the alphabet. The Hidden Alphabet, is also interactive; a game included in the book requires young readers to unveil each alphabet letter by opening a cut-out window. "This is great bookmaking," concluded Robinson, "and a snazzy—though sophisticated—addition to the alphabet bookshelf." Beyond the design, Seeger's selection of objects and words in representing the alphabet are just as unique and includes objects such as quotation mark, inkblot, and arrow head. "Seeger's interesting choice of words … and her sophisticated paintings," noted School Library Journal reviewer Laurie Edwards, "make this a fascinating artistic experience as well as a learning opportunity." Similarly, a reviewer for Kirkus Reviews acknowledged the book for its ability to "inge-nious[ly] surprise" its readers, dubbing The Hidden Alphabet "beautifully designed, fascinating to browse, and eminently successful."

Following the tradition of The Hidden Alphabet, Lemons Are Not Red requires children to read interactively by incorporating die-cuts which need to be manipulated in order to reveal the true color of items listed in the title. In reviewing Lemons Are Not Red in Publishers Weekly, a critic remarked that Seeger "once more delivers a compositionally faultless primer." In this work her illustrations include an array of colors and represent each hue through an objects, including a red apple, a yellow lemon, a blue sky, and a silver moon. In Kirkus

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Reviews a contributor noted that Seeger's "handful of brilliant colors and a bewitching idea will enchant the youngest of book lovers." School Library Journal reviewer Robin L. Gibson dubbed the text "appropriately spare" and concluded that Lemons Are Not Red "will delight preschoolers."

In Walter Was Worried Seeger employs alliteration to express the many expressions of children as they each wait for an oncoming storm. Seeger adds an extra element of intrigue by taking the adjective that describes each child's reaction—for instance worried, puzzled, shocked—and using the letters to form the expressions on the child's face. For example, in the adjective "puzzled" Seeger takes the letter U to represents the child's nose, while the letter L represents the mouth, and letters P and D represent the eyes. "With only one sentence per page," noted School Library Journal re-viewer Jane Marino, "there is surprising depth in this wonderful collaboration of art and story." A Kirkus Reviews contributor cited Walter Was Worried for allowing many "opportunities for read-aloud interaction" and giving children the opportunity to explore the emotions that come to the surface during a thunderstorm.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 2002, Deborah Stevenson, review of I Had a Rooster: A Traditional Folk Song, p. 185.

Horn Book, January-February, 2002, Lolly Robinson, review of I Had a Rooster, p. 91; January-February, 2004, Lolly Robinson, review of The Hidden Alphabet, p. 72.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2003, review of The Hidden Alphabet, p. 1078; October 1, 2004, review of Lemons Are Not Red, p. 969; July 15, 2005, review of Walter Was Worried, p. 796.

Publishers Weekly, November 15, 2004, review of Lemons Are Not Red, p. 58.

School Library Journal, November, 2003, Laurie Edwards, review of The Hidden Alphabet, p. 129; December, 2004, Robin L. Gibson, review of Lemons Are Not Red, p. 122; August, 2005, review of Walter Was Worried, p. 106.

ONLINE

Laura Vaccaro Seeger Home Page, http://www.studiolvs.com (June 5, 2006).

Literary Group International Web site, http://www.theliterarygroup.com/ (June 5, 2006).

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