Sheban, Chris

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Sheban, Chris

Personal

Married; children: two daughters. Education: Kent State University, B.A.

Addresses

Home and office—2861 Shannon Court, Northbrook, IL 60062. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Artist and illustrator.

Awards, Honors

Silver Medals, Society of Illustrators; Gold Medal, Society of Illustrators, for I Met a Dinosaur; Gold Medal, Society of Illustrators, iParenting Media Award, and Children's BookSense 76 Selection, all for The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly.

Illustrator

FOR CHILDREN

Christmas Magic, Kingfisher (New York, NY), 1994.

Jan Wahl, I Met a Dinosaur, Creative Editions (Mankato, MN), 1997.

J. Patrick Lewis, The Shoe Tree of Chagrin, Creative Editions (Mankato, MN), 2001.

Luis Sepúlveda, The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly (translation by Margaret Sayers Peden of Historia de una gaviota y del gato que le enseñó a volar), Arthur A. Levine (New York, NY), 2003.

Brian J. Heinz, Red Fox at McCloskey's Farm, Creative Editions (Mankato, MN), 2006.

Myla Goldberg, Catching the Moon, Arthur A. Levine (New York, NY), 2007.

Stephanie Greene, Christmas at Stony Creek, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2007.

Sidelights

Beginning his career in children's-book publishing as a jacket artists for novels by Kate DiCamillo, A. LaFaye, Jenny Nimmo, and others, Chris Sheban has gone on to illustrate a number of picture books for young readers. Including Christmas Magic, which features a pop-up Christmas tree, his work has earned gold and silver medals from the prestigious Society of Illustrators. Although he had worked as an artist prior to moving to book illustration, Sheban was initially intimidated by the idea of becoming a children's book illustrator. "When you walk into a bookstore, there are just tons of wonderful, wonderful picture books," he told Heather Vogel Frederick in Publishers Weekly. "Although it's inspiring to see all the different styles, it can be pretty overwhelming."

For Sheban's first picture-book project, Jan Wahl's I Met a Dinosaur he developed a soft-focused style. "This slightly dreamy visual style seamlessly unites fact and

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fiction," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor of the book. In Booklist Michael Cart called the illustrations "lavish—and occasionally witty." Sheban's second title, The Shoe Tree of Chagrin Falls, is an original tall tale by J. Patrick Lewis that is set in the Ohio Valley. "The luminous illustrations, done in a fine line and misty palette, allow tans and browns to dominate each landscape," wrote Jane Marino in her review of the book for School Library Journal. Discussing the story's main character, a Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that "brawny, gray-haired Susannah towers as convincingly in Sheban's dusky scenes." The illustrator's "comical visual characterizations carry the day" in Red Fox at McCloskey's Farm, according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Carolyn Janssen, writing in School Library Journal, predicted that Sheban's "illustrations will bring on belly laughs."

Along with picture books, Sheban's illustrations have also been featured in chapter books for older readers. In The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly his "delicate charcoal and pastel illustrations heighten the sense of magic," according to a Publishers Weekly critic. Shelle Rosenfeld, writing in Booklist, commented that Sheban's "black-and-white illustrations expressively portray the characters and settings," and Shawn Brommer concluded in School Library Journal that the illustrator's "soft-focus, black-and-white illustrations capture the action of the text." The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly won several awards, including a Society of Illustrators gold medal.

When asked about his career in children's books in an interview with Heather Vogel Frederick for Publishers Weekly, Sheban responded: "What I like about illustrating books is that the work is a little more enduring than your typical illustration job, which is printed once and you never see it again. I've really enjoyed the whole process, and I feel very, very fortunate."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 1, 1997, Michael Cart, review of I Met a Dinosaur, p. 485; December 15, 2001, Linda Perkins, review of The Shoe Tree of Chagrin Falls, p. 731; September 1, 2003, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly, p. 121.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2001, review of The Shoe Tree of Chagrin, p. 1295; August 15, 2006, review of Red Fox at McCloskey's Farm, p. 842.

Publishers Weekly, September 22, 1997, review of I Met a Dinosaur, p. 80; December 22, 1997, Heather Vogel Frederick, "Flying Starts"; August 18, 2003, review of The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly, p. 79.

School Library Journal, November, 1997, Pamela K. Bomboy, review of I Met a Dinosaur, p. 102; February, 2002, Jane Marino, review of The Shoe Tree of Chagrin, p. 108; December, 2003, Shawn Brommer, review of The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly, p. 125.

ONLINE

Arthur A. Levine Books Web site,http://www.arthuralevinebooks.com/ (August 6, 2007), "Chris Sheban."

Emily Inman Agency Web site,http://emilyinman.com/ contact.htm (August 6, 2007), "Chris Sheban."

HarperCollins Web site,http://www.harpercollins.com (August 6, 2007), "Chris Sheban."

Scholastic Web site,http://content.scholastic.com/ (August 6, 2007), "Chris Sheban."

Workbook Web site,http://www.workbook.com/ (August 6, 2007), "Chris Sheban.