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 Picture Books Author of the Month
James Marshall
(a.k.a. Edward Marshall)

10 October 1942 -- 13 October 1992

James Edward Marshall was born on October 10, 1942 in San Antonio, Texas to George E. and Cecile (Harrison) Marshall. His father was an insurance salesman and had a dance band.

Marshall grew up on a large farm miles from the nearest town. As a result, he spent a good deal of his childhood alone. He was encouraged by his mother to read, and that activity became a popular form of entertainment for the future writer. The novels of Charles Dickens and a twenty-four volume history of England were among his favorites.

His family later moved from their farm, which was outside of San Antonio, Texas, to Beaumont, Texas. "Beaumont is deep south and swampy and I hated it," Marshall once said in an interview for Something About the Author. "I knew I would die if I stayed there so I diligently studied the viola, and eventually won a scholarship to the New England Conservatory in Boston." [3]

With his scholarship, Marshall began attending the conservatory after graduating from high school in 1960. He completed his studies in 1961. Unfortunately, a hand injury cut short his musical studies.

"I flew out of my seat on a plane and injured my hand, but ignored the injury and continued to play," he once said. "As a result, I developed a condition which forbade me to play more than twenty minutes a day ... Looking back, I think this turn of events was all for the good. It helped me realize something that had before been only subconscious. That is, I did not want to be a professional musician, and having the injury made it easier for me to stop." [3]

Marshall returned to Texas to pursue an academic degree. After attending several institutions, Marshall received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and French from Southern Connecticut State College in New Haven, Connecticut in 1967. He also continued his studies until 1968 at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

In 1968, Marshall returned to Boston, Massachusetts to teach Spanish and English at Cathedral High School, a private school. Not having previously studied Spanish, Marshall learned the language from a number of Puerto Rican students in his Spanish class. He taught at the school until 1970.

Marshall had always had an interest in drawing. He had given up the practice in the second grade when a teacher had laughed at his artwork. While he was teaching, he picked up the hobby once again. One day a friend saw his sketches and brought them to a neighbor who worked in publishing. That neighbor contacted the director of children's books at Houghton-Mifflin, and advised him of Marshall's skills. The director offered Marshall a contract for his first assignment. This first book, Byrd Baylor's Plink, Plink, Plink, was published in 1971. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a commercial failure.

This result did not persuade Marshall to give up his interest in drawing. In fact, he became convinced that book illustration was the career he wanted to pursue. In 1972, Marshall wrote and illustrated George and Martha, the first book in a widely acclaimed series featuring a pair of hippopotamus friends. The book was not only a commercial success, but a critical one. George and Martha was chosen as one of the New York Times' ten best illustrated children's books for 1972, was included in the 1973 Children's Book Showcase, and became an ALA Notable Book.

Marshall took the names of the two hippos from Edward Albee's play Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?, which was broadcast on television at the time he was making sketches for the book.

Marshall also coauthored and illustrated a series of books about "the Stupids," described by Marcus as "a family of noodle-heads whose talent for getting backwards what every four-year-old can plainly understand is matched only by their boundless joie de vivre." The books "satirize the antics of the nuclear American family in the mass media of the 1950's." wrote Twentieth-Century Children's Writers.

Under the pen name "Edward Marshall", Marshall began to produce his "Fox" books, which is a popular easy-to-read series. Once when asked why he created the pseudonym, Marshall answered," I wanted to do an easy-to-read book, but I was under an exclusive contract at a publishing house so I made up Edward, supposedly a cousin of mine from San Antonio. One day an editor called me and said 'we're having so much trouble reaching your cousin to get publicity material, could you tell me something about him?' 'Well,' I said, 'It's very difficult for him living way out there near the crematorium with his eighteen children....' I just spun a whole yarn about this so-called cousin, and before I knew it, it was printed in a publication." [3]

Marshall is also the illustrator of Harry Allard's "Miss Nelson" series about a nice teacher who disguises herself as a mean substitute teacher named Miss Swamp in order to bring her class under control.

Tragically, Marshall's life and career was cut short. He died at the age of 50 on October 13, 1992. At the time of his death, Marshall had written, co-written, and illustrated more than forty books for children, both under his own name and that of his pseudonym, Edward Marshall. He also illustrated more than twenty-five books for other authors.

Information for this biography was taken from:
1) Anne Commire (ed.).  Something About the Author, #8; Gale Research Company: Detroit, Mich., 1976.
2) Carol Hurst and Rebecca Otis. "Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Newsletter Spring. Page 5.", Carol Hurst's Literature Site;http://www.carolhurst.com/newsletters/42enewsletters.html.
3) "James Marshall", Gale Literary Databases; http//www.galenet.com.
4) "James Marshall", Kidstamps - Featured Illustrators;http://www.kidstamps.com/show_illustrator.asp?James_Marshall.
5)"James Marshall Interviewed by Anita Silvey", Horn Book Radio Review;http://www.hbook.com/exhibit/marshallradio.html.
6)"James Marshall Papers", deGrummond Collection;http://www.lib.usm.edu/~degrum/findaids/marshall.htm.
7) Maurice Sendak. "James Marshall, Wicked Angel", The New York Times on the Web; http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/11/16/bookend/bookend.html.
8) Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast (eds.). St. James Guide to Children Writers; St. James Press: Detroit, Mich., 1999.

E-Marshall The Cut-Ups Crack Up (1992) -- When Spud and Joe get behind Principal Lamar J. Spurgle's prized sports car, things quickly get out of control.

E-Marshall George and Martha (1972) -- This book relates several episodes in the friendship of two hippopotami.

E-Marshall George and Martha Back in Town (1984) -- Though their friendship is often tested, George and Martha survive with a sense of humor.

E-Marshall George and Martha Encore (1973) -- Two hippopotamuses reinforce their friendship in five brief episodes.

E-Marshall George and Martha Rise and Shine (1976) -- In five brief episodes two hippos confirm their friendship

E-Marshall George and Martha 'Round and 'Round (1988) -- Five episodes chronicle the ups and downs of a special friendship.

E-Marshall George and Martha, Tons of Fun (1980) -- Two ludicrously buoyant hippos overcome misunderstandings, twinges of guilt, petty deceptions, and the loss of a birthday gift in these five brief tales.

E-Marshall Goldilocks and the Three Bears (1988) -- Three bears come home from a walk to find a little girls sleeping in Baby Bear's bed.

E-Marshall Space Case (1980) as Edward Marshall -- When the thing from outer space visits earth, it is taken first for a trick-or-treater and then a robot.

ABC-Marshall Fox All Week (1984) as Edward Marshall -- Fox and his friends have different adventures every day of the week.

ABC-Marshall Fox and His Friends (1982) as Edward Marshall -- In three separate episodes, Fox wants to play with his friends, but duty in one form or another interferes.

KIT-Marshall Fox at School (1983) as Edward Marshall -- Starring in the school play means hard work, and being left in charge means keeping the class under control. Fox thinks there's nothing to it. And then, he's put to the test.

ABC-Marshall Fox Be Nimble (1990) -- Fox baby-sits for the miserable Ling children, makes a big scene when he slips on a skate and hurts himself, and gets to lead the band in the big parade.

ABC-Marshall Fox in Love (1982) as Edward Marshall -- Fox falls in love with several girls and then enters a dance contest with his sister.

ABC-Marshall Fox on the Job (1988) -- Fox tries to earn the money he needs for a new bicycle with a number of different jobs.

ABC-Marshall Fox on Wheels (1983) as Edward Marshall -- Fox baby-sits for his sister Louise, learns to climb a tree for some grapes, and wins a shopping cart race.

ABC-Marshall Fox Outfoxed (1992) -- Fox competes in a big race, gives away his comic books, and goes trick-or-treating on Halloween with his friends.

ABC-Marshall Three Up a Tree (1986) -- Sam and Spider build a tree house and go there with Lolly to tell stories.

Titles Illustrated by James Marshall
E-ALL/KIT-Allard Miss Nelson Has a Field Day (1988) by Harry Allard -- The Notorious Miss Swamp reappears at the Horace B. Smedley School, this time to shape up the football team and make them win at least one game.

E-ALL Miss Nelson Is Back (1982) by Harry Allard-- When their teacher has to go away, the kids in Room 207 plan to really "act up."

E-Allard Miss Nelson Is Missing (1977) by Harry Allard -- The kids in Room 207 take advantage of their teacher's good nature until she disappears and they are faced with a vile substitute.

E-ALL The Stupids Step Out (1974) Harry Allard -- The Stupid family and their dog Kitty have a fun-filled day doing ridiculous things.

E-ALL The Stupids Take Off (1989) by Harry Allard -- In an attempt to avoid a visit from Uncle Carbuncle, the Stupids fly off in their plane and visit several other relatives who are as stupid as they are.

E-ALL Mary Alice, Operator Number 9 (1975) by Jeffrey Allen -- When an efficient duck who gives the time over the phone gets sick, other animals, believing the job to be easy, try to take her place.

E-Pomerantz The Pig in the Puddle (1974) by Charlotte Pomerantz -- Unable to persuade a young pig from frolicking in the mud, her family finally joins her for a mud party.

J-398.2-WOL Lazy Stories (1976) by Diane Wolkstein -- Three delightful tales from Japan, Mexico, and Laos that capture the essence of laziness, it problems, and its pleasures.

Carol Hurst and Rebecca Otis. "Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Newsletter Spring. Page 5.", Carol Hurst's Literature Site(http://www.carolhurst.com/newsletters/42enewsletters.html) -- Besides providing a very brief biography of Marshall, this site is also a great teacher's tool. It discusses a number of his works and provides activities that teachers could use for their classes.

"James Marshall", Gale Literary Databases (http://www.gale.com) -- This site provides access to information about authors such as Marshall and their works collected from a number of Gale products.

"James Marshall", Kidstamps - Featured Illustrators (http://www.kidstamps.com/show_illustrator.asp?James_Marshall) -- This site provides a very brief biography of James Marshall.

"James Marshall Interviewed by Anita Silvey", Horn Book Radio Review (http://www.hbook.com/exhibit/marshallradio.html) -- This site is a transcript from a radio interview of James Marshall completed by Anita Silvey. Marshall discusses some of his own life and his works.

"James Marshall Papers", deGrummond Collection (http://www.lib.usm.edu/~degrum/findaids/marshall.htm) -- This site created by the University of Southern Mississippi's McCain Library provides a brief biography of Marshall and discusses some of his works as well as providing a list of the items in their special collection that had been donated to the school after his death in 1992.

Maurice Sendak. "James Marshall, Wicked Angel", The New York Times on the Web (http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/11/16/bookend/) -- This article, which provides a great deal of insight into the person who was James Mar

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