Stevenson, Suçie 1956-

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Stevenson, Suçie 1956-

Personal

Born Susan Stevenson, 1956, in Greenwich, CT; daughter of James (a journalist, playwright, novelist, cartoonist, and children's book author) and Jane (an artist) Stevenson.

Addresses

Home—Cape Cod, MA. Agent—Liza Pulitzer-Voges, Kirchoff/Wohlberg, Inc., 866 United Nations Plaza, Ste. 525, New York, NY 10017.

Career

Illustrator and author of children's books. Has also worked as a manual laborer, shellfisher, housepainter, mason's helper, theater technician, set painter, mural painter, and flower-delivery-truck driver.

Awards, Honors

Parent's Choice Award, 1994, for Baby-O, written by Nancy White Carlstrom. All with author Cynthia Rylant: Garden State Children's Book Award, 1990, for Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble, 1992, for Henry and Mudge Get the Cold Shivers, 1993, for Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat, 1994, for Henry and Mudge and the Bedtime Thumps, 1995, for Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend, 1996, for Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind, and 1997, for Henry and Mudge and the Careful Cousin; Parenting magazine Reading Magic Award, 1992, for Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend, and 1994, for Henry and Mudge and the Careful Cousin; 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing designation, New York Public Library, 1994, for Henry and Mudge and the Careful Cousin; Garden State Children's Book Award in easy-to-read category, New Jersey Library Association, 2000, for Henry and Mudge in the Family Trees; Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, Association for Library Service to Children, 2006, for Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN'S BOOKS

Do I Have to Take Violet?, Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1987.

I Forgot, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1988.

Christmas Eve, Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1988.

Jessica the Blue Streak, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1989.

(Reteller) The Princess and the Pea, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1992.

(Reteller) The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Yearling (New York, NY), 1995.

(Reteller) Hans Christian Andersen, The Emperor's New Clothes, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1997.

ILLUSTRATOR

Cynthia Rylant, Birthday Presents, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1987.

David A. Adler, I Know I'm a Witch, Holt (New York, NY), 1988.

Niki Yektai, Crazy Clothes, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1988.

Barbara Ann Porte, Ruthann and Her Pig, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1989.

Frieda Wishinsky, Oonga Boonga, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.

Elvira Woodruff, Tubtime, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1990.

Nancy White Carlstrom, Baby-O, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1992.

Joyce Champion, Emily and Alice, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1993.

Joyce Champion, Emily and Alice Again, Gulliver Books (San Diego, CA), 1995.

Mary Small, A Pony Named Shawney, Mondo Publishing (Greenvale, NY), 1996.

Anne Rockwell, Once upon a Time This Morning, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1997.

Joyce Champion, Emily and Alice, Best Friends Harcourt (New York, NY), 2001.

Cynthia Rylant, Puppy Mudge Wants to Play, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.

Cynthia Rylant, Puppy Mudge Finds a Friend, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.

ILLUSTRATOR; "HENRY AND MUDGE" CHILDREN'S BOOKS; ALL WRITTEN BY CYNTHIA RYLANT

Henry and Mudge: The First Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble: The Second Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Henry and Mudge in the Green Time: The Third Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Henry and Mudge under the Yellow Moon: The Fourth Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1988.

Henry and Mudge in the Sparkle Days: The Fifth Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1988.

Henry and Mudge and the Forever Sea: The Sixth Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Henry and Mudge Get the Cold Shivers: The Seventh Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1989.

Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat: The Eighth Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1990.

Henry and Mudge and the Bedtime Thumps: The Ninth Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Henry and Mudge Take the Big Test: The Tenth Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1991.

Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend: The Eleventh Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1992.

Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind: The Twelfth Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1993.

Henry and Mudge and the Careful Cousin: The Thirteenth Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1994.

Henry and Mudge and the Best Day of All: The Fourteenth Book of Their Adventures, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1994.

Henry and Mudge in the Family Trees: The Fifteenth Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.

Henry and Mudge and the Sneaky Crackers: The Sixteenth Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.

Henry and Mudge and the Starry Night: The Seventeenth Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.

Henry and Mudge and Annie's Good Move: The Eighteenth Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.

Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan: The Nineteenth Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1999.

Henry and Mudge and Annie's Perfect Pet: The Twentieth Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

Henry and Mudge and a Very Merry Christmas: The Twenty-fifth Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.

Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas: The Twenty-sixth Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2005.

Henry and Mudge and the Big Sleepover: The Twenty-eighth Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.

Some of the "Henry and Mudge" books have been translated into Spanish.

ILLUSTRATOR; "ANNIE AND SNOWBALL" CHILDREN'S BOOKS

Cynthia Rylant, Annie and Snowball and the Dress-up Birthday: The First Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2007.

Cynthia Rylant, Annie and Snowball and the Prettiest House: The Second Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2007.

Cynthia Rylant, Annie and Snowball and the Teacup Club: The Third Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2008.

Cynthia Rylant, Annie and Snowball and the Pink Surprise: The Fourth Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2008.

Cynthia Rylant, Annie and Snowball and the Cozy Nest: The Fifth Book of Their Adventures, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2009.

OTHER

Also contributor of articles to magazines, including New Yorker.

Sidelights

The daughter of famous cartoonist, illustrator, and author James Stevenson, Suçie Stevenson has gained a large measure of fame herself as the illustrator of Cynthia Rylant's popular "Henry and Mudge" and "Annie and Snowball" beginning readers. A gifted writer as well as artist, Stevenson has also received critical praise for her original picture books, such as Do I Have to Take Violet?, I Forgot, Christmas Eve, and Jessica'sBlue Streak. As Stephanie Zvirin asserted in a Booklist review, "Stevenson's exuberant art adds a great touch of comedy" to Rylant's series installment Henry and Mudge and Annie's Good Move The Eighteenth Book of Their Adventures, while the whimsical and energetic pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations she contributes to Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan: The Nineteenth Book of Their Adventures "lend a gentle and simple touch" to Rylant's "gentle adventure," according to School Library Journal critic Selene S. Vasquez.

Despite growing up in the home of a celebrity author and artist, Stevenson was not certain she would ever follow in her father's footsteps. Although she enjoyed drawing, she once recalled in a Publishers Weekly interview with Diane Roback, "I didn't have any faith that I was any good." So, instead of pursuing more creative endeavors, Stevenson tried a number of odd jobs, including shellfisher, mason's helper, and truck driver. Eventually, however, she determined to put her artistic skills to use. She found her first success publishing articles in the New Yorker magazine, and later tried her hand at illustrating children's books. Submitting two works for publication to a variety of publishers, she was told that she had talent as an illustrator, but not as a children's author. Nevertheless, Stevenson soon published several of her own picture books in addition to illustrating the texts of other children's writers.

Stevenson found an agent, then gained the support of publisher Richard Jackson at Orchard Books. This led to her well-known collaboration with Rylant on the "Henry and Mudge" series, which has expanded into dozens of books as well as a spin-off series featuring Henry's neighbor Annie and her pet bunny Snowball. Stevenson's father, who was best known for his New Yorker cartoons, also had an important influence on her artistry. "What I aim for is a really loose style—simple, cartoony. I try to make things look the way they feel to me instead of how they actually look," she said in Publishers Weekly. This style has served as the perfect complement to Rylant's stories, which have earned both author and illustrator the first-annual Theodore Seuss Geisel Award, among others.

In her first original picture book, Do I Have to Take Violet?, Stevenson addresses a scenario that is very familiar to most siblings: an older sister, in this case a bunny named Elly, is forced by her mother to take her little sister, Violet, on a bike ride. Elly teases Violet with stories of monsters, and Violet tries to trick her sister, but the two eventually decide to get along. School Library Journal contributor Luann Toth wrote that the tale is "nicely done and certainly enhanced by Stevenson's … paintings." Elly and Violet appear again in Christmas Eve, squabbling while trying to prepare a holiday gift for their parents. Diane Roback, writing in Publishers Weekly, praised Stevenson for making the childish rivalry in both books "uncanny and real," and called Christmas Eve "funny and dear."

Stevenson creates another endearing character in Arthur Peter Platypus, Jr., the star of I Forgot. Arthur's problem is that he cannot seem to remember anything. For example, he wears the wrong hat when it rains and forgets to take his lunch box to school. Then, one day, while pondering his troubles, he realizes that he remembers important things, such as his address and his mother's birthday, which is that very day. He takes balloons, banners, and flowers to his mother as a gift, and Arthur is happy to conclude that at least he remembers the most important things in life. Stevenson adds interest to the story by having Arthur try various methods to improve his memory, and her colorful art "captures the little platypus' movements and moods," according to a Booklist critic. Comparing I Forgot to Robert Kraus's Leo the Late Bloomer, School Library Journal contributor Pamela Miller Ness called Stevenson's story "a little book with a big, comforting message."

Stevenson's self-illustrated books include retellings of traditional fairy tales. In her adaptations The Princess and the Pea, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and The Emperor's New Clothes, the main characters are animals. For example, in retelling Hans Christian Andersen's The Princess and the Pea, Stevenson casts bunnies in key roles, and she takes further liberties by setting her version of the well-known tale on a tropical island instead of in Europe. A Publishers Weekly critic dubbed The Princess and the Pea "accessible and entertaining," appreciating Stevenson's humor. The author/illustrator offers another humorous tale, this time with an all-dog cast, in her interpretation of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Calling this work "an entertaining interpretation" of the story first collected by the Broth- ers Grimm, Booklist critic Carolyn Phelan added that Stevenson's version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses features a "conversational text [that] is both upbeat and downhome."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 15, 1988, review of I Forgot, p. 1003; July, 1993, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind: The Twelfth Book of Their Adventures, pp. 1980-1981; January 1, 1996, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, p. 850; April 1, 1997, Hazel Rochman, review of Once upon a Time This Morning, p. 1339; August, 1997, Carolyn Phelan, review of Henry and Mudge in the Family Trees: The Fifteenth Book of Their Adventures, p. 1910; February 1, 1998, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Henry and Mudge and the Sneaky Crackers: The Sixteenth Book of Their Adventures, p. 928; May 1, 1998, Hazel Rochman, review of Henry and Mudge and the Starry Night: The Seventeenth Book of Their Adventures, p. 1526; July, 1998, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Henry and Mudge and Annie's Perfect Pet: The Twentieth Book of Their Adventures, p. 716; October 1, 1999, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan: The Nineteenth Book of Their Adventures, p. 366; May 15, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Puppy Mudge Wants to Play, p. 1667.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 1988, review of I Forgot, p. 189; April, 1997, review of Once upon a Time This Morning, p. 293; March, 1998, review of Henry and Mudge and the Sneaky Crackers, p. 258; May 1, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas: The Twenty-sixth Book of Their Adventures, p. 1587; August, 2005, Melinda Piehler, review of Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas, p. 105; August 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Henry and Mudge and the Big Sleepover: The Twenty-eighth Book of Their Adventures, p. 93; July-August, 2007, Hope Morrison, review of Annie and Snowball and the Dress-up Birthday: The First Book of Their Adventures, p. 484.

Horn Book, November-December, 1987, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of Henry and Mudge under the Yellow Moon: The Fourth Book of Their Adventures, p. 735; May-June, 1988, Margaret A. Bush, review of I Forgot, p. 347; July-August, 1988, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of Crazy Clothes, pp. 487-488; November-December, 1989, Elizabeth S. Watson, review of Henry and Mudge Get the Cold Shivers: The Seventh Book of Their Adventures, p. 795; May-June, 1990, Edith R. Twichell, review of Oonga Boonga, p. 356; November-December, 1991, Hanna B. Zeiger, review of Henry and Mudge Take the Big Test: The Tenth Book of Their Adventures, p. 759; July-August, 1992, Mary M. Burns, review of Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend: The Eleventh Book of Their Adventures, p. 449; March-April, 1994, Ellen Fader, review of Henry and Mudge and the Careful Cousin: The Thirteenth Book of Their Adventures, pp. 195-196; July, 1998, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Henry and Mudge and Annie's Good Move: The Eighteenth Book of Their Adventures, p. 1891.

Publishers Weekly, December 25, 1987, Diane Roback, "Flying Starts," p. 36; December 23, 1988, review of Christmas Eve, p. 81; January 13, 1989, review of Jessica the Blue Streak, p. 88; July 28, 1989, review of Ruthann and Her Pig, p. 222; August 3, 1992, review of The Princess and the Pea, p. 71; January 6, 1997, review of Once upon a Time This Morning, p. 72.

School Library Journal, June-July, 1987, Luann Toth, review of Do I Have to Take Violet?, pp. 90-91; March, 1988, Pamela Miller Ness, review of I Forgot, p. 177; July, 1989, Maria B. Salvadore, review of Henry and Mudge and the Forever Sea: The Sixth Book of Their Adventures, p. 76; May, 1990, Ellen Fader, review of Oonga Boonga, p. 93; April, 1992, Gale W. Sherman, review of Henry and Mudge and the Long Weekend, p. 100; May, 1995, Claudia Cooper, review of Emily and Alice Again, p. 94; March, 1996, Jan Shepherd Ross, review of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, p. 193; January, 1997, review of Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat, p. 37; March, 1997, Dina Sherman, review of Once upon a Time This Morning, p. 164; October, 1997, Dina Sherman, review of Henry and Mudge in the Family Trees, p. 109; March, 1998, Lisa Radmer, review of Henry and Mudge and the Bedtime Thumps, p. 157; April, 1998, Suzanne Hawley, review of Henry and Mudge and the Starry Night, p. 108; August, 1998, Nancy A. Gifford, review of Henry and Mudge and the Sneaky Crackers, p. 145; October, 1998, Gale W. Sherman, review of Henry and Mudge and Annie's Good Move, p. 113; March, 2000, Selene S. Vasquez, review of Henry and Mudge and the Snowman Plan, p. 212; April, 2000, Diane Janoff, review of Henry and Mudge and Annie's Perfect Pet, p. 113; July, 2006, Elaine Lesh Morgan, review of Henry and Mudge and the Big Sleepover, p. 87; April, 2007, Laura Scott, review of Annie and Snowball and the Dress-up Birthday, p. 115; November, 2007, Erika Qualls, review of Annie and Snowball and the Prettiest House: The Second Book of Their Adventures, p. 100.