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Meet the Barkers


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About the Author

Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934, to a family of Irish and Italian background. 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.

His particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal for his "continued distinguished contribution," and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration, and received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lifetime contribution to children's literature in 2011.

DePaola has published almost 200 children's books in 15 different countries over the past 30 years. Among his most well-known titles are the Strega Nona series, 26 Fairmount Avenue, and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush.

DePaola lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.


In DePaola's (26 Fairmount Avenue) first book in a planned series, inspired by dePaola's beloved English terriers, excitement builds for twin pups Morgan and Moffat Barker as their first day of school approaches. Moffie, who was born 10 minutes ahead of her brother Morgie, takes her role as the "oldest" to heart, acting bossy, competitive and precocious. Her over-achieving manner initially earns her plenty of gold stars in Ms. Shepherd's class, but few friends. Morgie, meanwhile, finds his own understated ways to shine and makes several pals along the way. Before long, the siblings learn a few valuable lessons from each other and come to agree on one important thing: they love school. DePaola's text introduces two amusing foils in Moffie and Morgie, but the story loses its delicate balance of humor and heart when Moffie's bratty behavior temporarily monopolizes the plot. Unfortunately, a few rough transitions trip up the story's rhythm and detract from the sweet denouement. Still, many of the situations here will strike a chord with young children and their parents and dePaola's sunny, gently humorous acrylic paintings are as winning as ever. Ages 4-7. (July) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

PreS-Gr 1-A heartwarming story about two dogs starting school. Moffie is smart, outspoken, and always has to be first. She knows her colors, can count to 10, and is first to answer all of the teacher's questions. She is proud of her gold stars while her twin brother, Morgie, is proud of making a new friend who also likes dinosaurs. After the teacher has a talk with Moffie about not giving other children a chance to answer, the little pup realizes she does not have any friends, a situation that comes to a satisfying conclusion. Genuinely expressive, lovable characters, depicted in warm tones on handmade watercolor paper, make this a great read-aloud to calm first-day, first-week, or even first-month-of-school jitters.-Wanda Meyers-Hines, Ridgecrest Elementary, Huntsville, AL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"DePaola's illustrations are full of his characteristic charm and humor. This fresh approach to first-day-of-school stories will entertain, reassure, and enlighten new students." -Booklist

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