Humor

Margret Rey and Curious George

Margret Rey and her husband, H.A. Rey, had no children themselves, but thousands of kids across the world have made friends with their little monkey, Curious George.

Margret was born in Hamburg, Germany, in May of 1906. She studied art at the famous Bauhaus School and elsewhere before moving to Brazil in 1935. Margret married a fellow German artist, Hans Augusto (H. A.) Rey, and together they started the first advertising agency in Rio de Janeiro. They came back to Paris during some of its cruelest days, just before the Nazi occupation. Somehow, funny and delightful Curious George was created during those difficult times.

The Strange Stories of Jon Scieszka

Jon Scieszka (pronounce that SHESH-ka) is a wild and crazy guy. Don't leave the man alone in a room with an old-fashioned story. He'll twist it and bend it around 'til it looks like something that should be dripping with cheese and sold at the shopping mall.

His takes on classic tales are so off-the-wall you'll wonder what it would have been like to have him in your class. Let me tell you: it would have been dangerous-for you. He'd sit quietly, and then he'd crack up the other kids without making a sound. THEY would be the ones to get into trouble. Not Jon.

Barbara Park: Still Clowning Around

Barbara Tidswell was born in Mount Holly, New Jersey, on April 21, 1947. Mount Holly was a small town, surrounded by farms. Young Barbara was the class clown in elementary school. Whenever she thought of something funny, she would just blurt it out to share with everyone in the room. In fact, she got sent to the principal's office for talking too much. This was not a cool thing to have happen as her dad was then president of the school board! She also loved to read comic books. In high school and college, she studied to be a teacher. She thought she might be able to add some humor to dull science classes. Barbara never thought back then that she would be a writer.

Helen Oxenbury: On the Side of the Child

"One of the most important things is to laugh with your children and to let them see you think they're being funny when they're trying to be. It gives children enormous pleasure to think they've made you laugh. They feel they've reached one of the nicest parts in you.... As a picture book artist, I don't think one can be too much on the side of the child."

Helen Oxenbury, from Ways of Telling: Conversations on the Art of the Picture Book, by Leonard S. Marcus.

Helen Oxenbury understands babies. She knows that they are messy, cranky, and wonderful. She knows that few things fascinate a baby like, well, another baby. In the world of board books, those sturdy first books that are impervious to drool and can survive a few tasty chews, Helen Oxenbury reigns supreme.

Bountiful Betsy Byars

When Betsy Cromer was a young girl, someday being a famous author never crossed her mind. To her way of thinking, book writers led dull lives, shut away in some quiet room without company, just typing and typing. There was no way she wanted to live that kind of life. Yet years later, Betsy has written dozens of books. Unlike the authors she imagined, Betsy's ability to understand and work with people was absolutely essential to making her books a success.

William Joyce: The Reel Deal

Born December 11, 1957, William (Bill) Joyce's dream is to be remembered for "a significant contribution to the cause of global silliness." (Publisher's Weekly)
His books, TV shows and movies, from George Shrinks to Robots, have amazed and amused audiences for over 20 years.

Bill got an early start writing and illustrating his own stories. "Billy's Booger" was a popular picture book with his elementary school classmates. The plot is simple enough but guaranteed to get yucks: Billy sneezes out a slimy, smart-aleck booger who becomes his friend. The kids did love it, but unlike his later work, all it earned Bill was a trip to the principal's office. But the booger's adventures continue. These days Bill uses those stories and pix to break the ice at his school visits, which they do with cheerful grossness. There's even talk of reincarnating Billy's Booger as a genuine picture book.

Paula Danziger Was Always a Kid at Heart

Paula Danziger sometimes said she wished she had had her own books to read when she was growing up. As the nerdy, clueless daughter in a family where Dad yelled and Mom just tried to make Dad happy, life was not fun. When her dad said mean things to her, Paula would tell herself that someday she would put it in a book. And she did.

Read-along, Play-along with David Shannon

When David Shannon was five-years-old, he wrote a book about himself. On each page, there were different pictures of that showed the story of how he was so very good at getting into trouble. Each page had the words, "No, David!"