Sneed, Brad

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Sneed, Brad

Personal

Born in Newton, KS; married; wife's name Dena; children: one daughter. Education: University of Kansas, B.A., 1989. Hobbies and other interests: Remodeling.

Addresses

Home—Prairie Village, KS. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Author and illustrator.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Lucky Russell, Putnam (New York, NY), 1992.

Picture a Letter, Fogelman (New York, NY), 2002.

(Reteller) Aesop's Fables, Dial (New York, NY), 2003.

(Adapter) Thumbelina, Dial (New York, NY), 2004.

Deputy Harvey and the Ant Cow Caper, Dial (New York, NY), 2005.

ILLUSTRATOR

Tony Johnston, Grandpa's Song, Dial (New York, NY), 1991.

Ellin Greene, The Legend of the Cranberry: A Paleo-Indian Tale, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1993.

Barbara Shook Hazen, Turkey in the Straw, Dial (New York, NY), 1993.

Lisa Westberg Peters, When the Fly Flew In …, Dial (New York, NY), 1994.

Polly Berrien Berends, I Heard, Said the Bird, Dial (New York, NY), 1995.

Lyn Littlefield Hoopes, The Unbeatable Bread, Dial (New York, NY), 1996.

Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Higgins Bend Song and Dance, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1997.

Alan Schroeder, Smoky Mountain Rose: An Appalachian Cinderella, Dial (New York, NY), 1997.

Marsha Diane Arnold, The Pumpkin Runner, Dial (New York, NY), 1998.

Steven Bauer, The Strange and Wonderful Tale of Robert McDoodle: The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Dog, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.

Ferida Wolff, Watch Out for Bears!: The Adventures of Henry and Bruno, Random House (New York, NY), 1999.

Marsha Diane Arnold, The Bravest of Us All, Dial (New York, NY), 2000.

Jean Van Leeuwen, Sorry, Fogelman (New York, NY), 2001.

Sharon Addy, When Wishes Were Horses, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2002.

Carla D. Morris, The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians, Peachtree (Atlanta, GA), 2007.

Stephen Krensky, Big Bad Wolves at School, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2007.

Sidelights

Brad Sneed's illustrations are often noted for their interesting use of perspective and elongated characters. Discussing his contribution to Marsha Diane Arnold's picture book The Pumpkin Runner, a Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that "Sneed's cleverly skewed perspectives and Arnold's engaging style make this book … an easy winner." Elizabeth Drennan, writing in Booklist, noted of the same title that Sneed's "oil-on-canvas illustrations … will really grab [readers'] … attention." Reviewing Alan Schroeder's Smoky Mountain Rose: An Appalachian Cinderella in Booklist, Ellen Mandel noted that "Sneed's watercolors are rich and intense; his angular lines draw readers into the action." In School Library Journal, Susan L. Rogers wrote that the illustrations in Jean Van Leeuwen's Sorry "appear to move to the lively rhythms of the fiddle and harmonica that the brothers play, even stretching out of their own borders." Discussing the same title in Booklist, Shelle Rosenfeld cited the artwork for its "exaggerated expressions and perspectives and surreal, rounded country" setting.

Sneed "has a knack for perspective," a Kirkus Reviews contributor commented in a review of Sharon Addy's When Wishes Were Horses. Louise L. Sherman wrote in a School Library Journal review that Addy's story is "greatly enhanced by Sneed's watercolor illustrations." Discussing the illustrator's work for Stephen Krensky's humorous picture book Big Bad Wolves at School, Booklist critic Ilene Cooper dubbed Sneed's cartoon art "full of energy and extremely funny." In The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians, a story by Carla D. Morris, Sneed's "humorously exaggerated yet playful color illustrations add the perfect touch," according to a critic for Children's Bookwatch, and Catherine Threadgill concluded in School Library Journal that the illustrator's "animated, startlingly accurate depictions of contemporary libraries … make the story engaging."

Picture a Letter, one of several original self-illustrated books by Sneed, is a wordless alphabet book that also includes an index. Each page features an array of objects that begin with the same letter of the alphabet, and there are puzzles and details to discover in each illustration. "Sneed plays with words and perspective in his stunning … illustrations," wrote Kathleen Whalin in her School Library Journal appraisal of the volume, and Engberg commented that the "wild, inventive alphabet book will attract a broad audience with its surreal dreamscapes and hunt-and-seek exercises." A Publishers Weekly critic described Picture a Letter as page after page of "tantalizing spreads chock-full of letter-coded objects," and a Kirkus Reviews contributor declared the title to be "original and offbeat."

Two of Sneed's self-illustrated titles retell fables and fairy tales. Aesop's Fables collects new versions of time-honored moral tales that are accompanied by Sneed's caricatured animals. "The animals, while realistically proportioned, are endowed with … character and personality," noted Grace Oliff in School Library Journal. Thumbelina is a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale of the same title and features a tiny girl who is threatened with marriage to a variety of forest creatures. "Sneed uses perspective to great advantage," commented a Kirkus Reviews writer, and Jennifer Mattson wrote in Booklist that Sneed's "dramatic watercolors don't sweep the story's cautionary aspects under the rug."

Deputy Harvey and the Ant Cow Caper is an original tale in which Sneed combines an Old West adventure with life as it is lived at ground level. Aphids and ants are cast as cows and cowboys, and an ant named Deputy Harvey must go after a herd of aphids that have been stolen by rustlers. "There'll be no problem corralling little dogies for this caper," a Kirkus Reviews contributor predicted in a review of the book. In School Library Journal, Helen Foster James considered Sneed's tale "a rip-roaring western mystery."

In addition to writing and illustrating, Sneed often visits schools to help students learn about the process of creating a book. "I enjoy visiting schools to talk with students and teachers about illustrating and writing picture books," he wrote on his home page. "School visits provide a wonderful opportunity to interact with children and to shed light on how a book is created. It is very satisfying to hear from a teacher that after my presentation, her students couldn't wait to return to their desks to write a story and draw a picture!"

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 1997, Ellen Mandel, review of Smoky Mountain Rose: An Appalachian Cinderella, p. 1578; November 1, 1998, Elizabeth Drennan, review of The Pumpkin Runner, p. 501; September 1, 1999, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of The Strange and Wonderful Tale of Robert McDoodle: The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Dog, p. 137; May 1, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of The Bravest of Us All, p. 1676; June 1, 2001, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Sorry, p. 1896; August, 2002, Gillian Engberg, review of Picture a Letter, p. 1968; December 1, 2002, Kay Weisman, review of When Wishes Were Horses, p. 671; December 1, 2003, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Aesop's Fables, p. 683; September 15, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Thumbelina, p. 254; April 1, 2007, Ilene Cooper, review of Big Bad Wolves at School, p. 57; May 1, 2007, Ilene Cooper, review of The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians, p. 100.

Children's Bookwatch, May, 2007, review of The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2002, review of Picture a Letter, p. 741; August 1, 2002, review of When Wishes Were Horses, p. 1120; September 15, 2003, review of Aesop's Fables, p. 1183; September 15, 2004, review of Thumbelina, p. 920; September 15, 2005, review of Deputy Harvey and the Ant Cow Caper, p. 1034; March 15, 2007, review of The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians; June 1, 2007, review of Big Bad Wolves at School.

Publishers Weekly, May 12, 1997, review of Smoky Mountain Rose, p. 76; August 18, 1997, review of Higgins Bend Song and Dance, p. 92; October 5, 1998, review of The Pumpkin Runner, p. 89; September 13, 1999, review of The Strange and Wonderful Tale of Robert McDoodle, p. 82; May 21, 2001, review of Sorry, p. 107; June 3, 2002, review of Picture a Letter, p. 87; October 27, 2003, review of Aesop's Fables, p. 68; July 9, 2007, review of Big Bad Wolves at School, p. 52.

School Library Journal, May, 2000, Kate McClelland, review of The Bravest of Us All, p. 126; May, 2001, Susan L. Rogers, review of Sorry, p. 138; June, 2002, Kathleen Whalin, review of Picture a Letter, p. 126; November, 2002, Louise L. Sherman, review of When Wishes Were Horses, p. 110; November, 2003, Grace Oliff, review of Aesop's Fables, p. 130; October, 2004, Susan Helper, review of Thumbelina, p. 108; November, 2005, Helen Foster James, review of Deputy Harvey and the Ant Cow Caper, p. 108; June, 2007, Mary Jean Smith, review of Big Bad Wolves at School, p. 110, and Catherine Threadgill, review of The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians, p. 116.

ONLINE

Brad Sneed's Home Page,http://www.bradsneed.com (July 1, 2008).

Simon & Schuster Web site,http://www.simonsays.com/ (July 1, 2008), "Brad Sneed."