When my three sisters and I were growing up near Erie, Pennsylvania, our grandmother Thora told us the most wonderful stories. Back then I never dreamed I would grow up to tell stories of my own," says Marc Brown. "But when my first son, Tolon, was born, I started telling him stories every night before he went to sleep. Most of the stories were about animals. One night our story was about an aardvark who hated his nose. The aardvark, of course, was named Arthur, and that story became Arthur's Nose, the first book in the Arthur Adventure series." Now, there are more than twenty books in the series. And, out of the Arthur series grew a series of books based on Arthur's little sister, D.W.
What began as a simple family ritual soon grew into a full-time profession for best-selling children's author and illustrator Marc Brown. Trained at the Cleveland Art Institute, he went on to create more than one hundred picture books for children. Before his current success, however, Marc worked at many jobs, including stints as a truck driver, soda jerk, actor, chicken farmer, television art director, short order cook, and college professor!
Most of the characters in Marc Brown's books are modeled after one person or a combination of people from his life. Many characters were inspired by people he knew when he was growing up and going to school in Milcreek, Pennsylvania. Mr. Ratburn is based on the "meanest algebra teacher ever," and Grandma Thora is based on Brown's real grandmother Thora, "the best storyteller ever." Says Brown, "Buster is modeled after my best friend in elementary school, Terry Johnson, who was a real practical joker. Terry spent a lot of time in the principal's office. In third grade, I spent a lot of time watching a girl named Patricia DelPorto instead of doing my math. She had curly hair and long eyelashes. On Valentine's Day, I remember waiting to get a valentine from her. She is, of course, Sue Ellen, and that's where I got the idea for Arthur's Valentine. His sisters, Bonnie, Colleen, and Kimberly have all served as role models for characters in his books--especially D.W. and Francine.
As for story ideas, Marc Brown looks to his own three children, Tolon, Tucker, and Eliza, for inspiration (by the way, look for these three names hidden in Arthur Adventure books, along with the names of people and places Marc has visited). He also gets many suggestions from children he meets in schools, libraries, and bookstores around the country. "The most interesting--and the funniest--things," says Brown, "happen in real life."
Now, for Arthur fans who are ready to read on their own, there are longer Arthur Adventures in brand new chapter book format. Whether entering a jingle contest, acting like a klutz at Little League, or joining his friends to save a beloved book series from being banned, Arthur is in top form. Arthur fans will want to read and collect all of these new chapter books.
Don't forget to watch Arthur in the #1 rated children's television show on PBS! Arthur and the gang can be seen in a daily animated half-hour series. The television show features stories about the challenges of childhood, many based on Marc Brown's bestsellers.
Marc Brown lives in Hingham, Massachusetts and Martha's Vineyard, with his wife, illustrator and author Laurie Krasny Brown, and their daughter Eliza. Marc and Laurie are the creators of the path-breaking nonfiction Dino Life Guides for Families series.
Copyright 2000 by Time Warner Bookmar