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Van Dusen, Chris

Van Dusen, Chris


Personal


Born in Portland, ME; married, 1989; wife's name Lori; children: Ethan, Tucker. Education: University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, B.F.A., 1982. Hobbies and other interests: Collecting toys; biking and hiking with family.

Addresses


Home—Camden, ME. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Candlewick Press, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140. E-mail—[email protected]

Career


Author and illustrator. Worked previously as an art director and cartoon editor for a teen magazine.

Awards, Honors


Read with Me/Maine Reads selection, 2005, for Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee; E.B. White Read-Aloud Award, Association of Booksellers for Children, 2006, for If I Built a Car.

Writings


SELF-ILLUSTRATED


Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2000.

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2003.

If I Built a Car, Dutton Children's Books (New York, NY), 2005.

ILLUSTRATOR


Karen Trella Mather, Silas, the Bookstore Cat, Down East Books (Camden, ME), 1994.

Kate DiCamillo, Mercy Watson to the Rescue, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

Kate DiCamillo, Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Kate DiCamillo, Mercy Watson Fights Crime, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Sidelights


Author and illustrator Chris Van Dusen often uses rhyming couplets in his self-illustrated children's books, engaging young readers with lively words and boisterous illustrations in works such as Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee and If I Built a Car. As a child, Van Dusen was influenced by the works of Dr. Seuss and author/illustrator Robert McCloskey. Besides writing and illustrating his own children's books, he has also contributed artwork to children's-book texts by other writers, such as the "Mercy Watson" series by award-winning author Kate DiCamillo.

Van Dusen's first self-illustrated picture book, Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, was cited as a "strong debut" by School Library Journal critic Hennie Vaandrager. The amusing book centers on the boating adventure of Van Dusen's titular hero and Magee's dog Dee. While at sea the duo encounters a playful whale that accidentally shipwrecks their boat into a spruce tree. "The momentum of the story is fast, and the rhyming text is sure to delight children," noted School Library Journal critic Hennie Vaandrager, while Michael Cart wrote in Booklist that Van Dusen creates a "sing-song, rhyming story," while the accompanying "cheerful, candy-colored cartoon illustrations provide equal fun for the eye." Likewise, a contributor to Publishers Weekly noted that "Van Dusen's exacting verse and kitschy, perfectionistic gouaches make this one whale of a tale."

In his self-illustrated If I Built a Car Van Dusen utilizes rhyming couplets to portray an imaginative young lad who describes his dream car: one that is chauffeured by a robot and even includes a swimming pool and a fire place! The text of If I Built a Car is highlighted by

double-page paintings embellished with vibrant, compelling colors. "The brightly colored, crisp, cartoon-style illustrations, reminiscent of the Jetsons, are likely to keep viewers' attention," noted School Library Journal reviewer Amy Lilien-Harper. Equally enthusiastic about the book, a Publishers Weekly writer noted that Van Dusen's "energetic verse and jubilant, action-packed artwork make this tale of a young inventor's fantastic daydream a joy ride."

Biographical and Critical Sources


PERIODICALS


Booklist, February 1, 1995, Mary Harris Veeder, review of Silas, the Bookstore Cat, p. 1010; June 1, 2000, Michael Cart, review of Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, p. 1911; May 15, 2005, Todd Morning, review of If I Built a Car, p. 1667.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 2005, review of If I Built a Car, p. 513.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2005, review of If I Built a Car, p. 584.

Publishers Weekly, December 5, 1994, review of Silas, the Bookstore Cat, p. 77; March 6, 2000, review of Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, p. 110; June 20, 2005, review of If I Built a Car, p. 75.

School Library Journal, May, 2000, Hennie Vaandrager, review of Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, p. 156; July 25, 2005, Amy Lilien-Harper, review of If I Built a Car, p. 84.

ONLINE


Chris Van Dusen Home Page,http://www.chrisvandusen.com (September 11, 2006).

Chronicle Books Web site,http://www.chroniclebooks.com/ (September 11, 2006), "Chris Van Dusen."

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