[DRUM ROLL.....] PRESENTING THE ONE AND ONLY JON SCIESZKA!
Jon Scieszka was born in Flint, Michigan on September 8th, 1954. He grew up with five brothers, has the same birthday as Peter Sellers and the Virgin Mary, and a sneaking suspicion that the characters in his Dick and Jane reader were not of this world. Those plain facts, plus his elementary school principal dad, Louis, his registered nurse mom, Shirley (who once took Jon's Cub Scout den on a field trip to the prenatal ward), Mad Magazine, four years of pre-med undergrad, "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show", an M.F.A. in Fiction from Columbia University, Robert Benchley, five years of painting apartments in New York City, his lovely wife Jeri Hansen who introduced him to Molly Leach and Lane Smith, Green Eggs and Ham, his teenage daughter Casey and almost teenage son Jake, ten years of teaching a little bit of everything from first grade to eighth grade, and the last twenty years of living in Brooklyn...are just some of Jon's answers to the questions, "Where do you get your ideas?" and/or "How did you become a writer?" I don't know, just because, none of your beeswax, and flapdoodle poppycock and balderdash are some more of Jon's answers to questions you can imagine on your own. Jon met up with Lane Smith around 1986 or so, and nothing has been the same since. Their first book, the wiseguy fairy tale retelling, The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! was initially rejected by most publishers as "too weird" and "too sophisticated". Published by Viking in 1989, The True Story has now sold over a million copies, been translated into ten languages, and been called a "classic picture book for all ages". Jon and Lane's The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (1992) took the world of the picture book a few steps further. Goofing with the conventions of fairy tales and even being a book, The Stinky Cheese Man became a household word, sold another mess of copies in multiple languages, offended a few purists, and still managed to win a Caldecott Honor medal. Math Curse (1995) further stretched the notion of what subjects make good picture books, selling more books faster than either 3 Little Pigs or Stinky Cheese, and winning a whole slew of awards --all for a book full of mathematics.More recently, Jon and Lane have resurrected fables (in the smart, funny, and a little bit wicked way Aesop would have wanted them) in their latest collaboration, Squids Will Be Squids (1998). No telling where they might take the picture book next. Someone once wrote, "Jon Scieszka has forever changed the face of children's literature." And while there is still some confusion over exactly who that someone was, and whether children's literature does, in fact, have a face, most would agree-from The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! to Squids Will Be Squids, since Scieszka put pen to paper, children's literature sure has been...different.