Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934 to a family of Irish and Italian background. By the time he could hold a pencil, he knew what his life's work would be. His determination to create books for children led to a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California.It drove him through the years of teaching, designing greeting cards and stage sets, and painting church murals until 1965, when he illustrated his first children's book, Sound, by Lisa Miller for Coward-McCann. Eventually, freed of other obligations, he plunged full time into both writing and illustrating children's books.
Tomie dePaola has published almost 200 children's books in fifteen different countries. He remains one of the most popular creators of books for children, receiving more than 100,000 fan letters each year. Tomie lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.
On Monday, Cookiea catfalls into the toilet. ``There was water everywhere!'' On Tuesday, she knocks a plant off the windowsill. ``There was water everywhere!'' And so Cookie undergoes a week of disasters that dePaola illustrates with his usual skill, so that even the garbage Cookie strews over the floor looks great. Four scrapes later, the text ends with ``Tomorrow is Sunday. Maybe Cookie will rest.'' But Cookie, half-asleep on the rug, already has one eye on a bumblebee. This is a perfect choice for very young children, and extra-large print makes it even more accessible. Part of the fun of the illustrations is what is barely glimpsed: a tail extending from behind a curtain, very wet haunches exiting the bathroom or the same tail drifting over muddy footprints through the flower pots. Cookie appears in only three full-body shots throughout the book; the rest of the time she is almost out of the frame of her most recent disaster. Lively pastels with plenty of white offset the black cat's mischief. Ages 1-6. (April)