Children's Authors/Rick Walton

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Biographical Information[edit]

Rick Walton was born 1957, in Provo, Utah. He received his bachelor's degree in Spanish from Brigham Young University in 1980 and his master's degree in 1999.

Walton is the author of over sixty books for children. His works include joke books, picture books, a collection of poetry, activity books, mini-mysteries, and educational software. He loves to read, travel, play the guitar, study foreign languages, and write. Rick was raised in Utah, and lives in Provo, Utah with his wife Ann, and their five children. Ann is a computer programmer having worked for IBM, Novell, and WordPerfect, and now works with Rick maintaining his web site www.rickwalton.com.

Rick says, “I became a children’s writer because after trying almost every other career in the book I realized that writing for kids was one of the few things that I both enjoyed and I was good at”. Rick’s books have been featured on the IRA Children’s Choice list, on Reading Rainbow, and on CBS This Morning.

Rick claims the authors who have shaped his writing are: Jon Scieszka, Daniel Pinkwater, Roald Dahl, Dave Barry, Woody Allen, Monty Python, Robert Sheckley, Lemony Snicket, Robert Benchley, and others. Rick collects humor and comic strips. He claims his favorite authors are anyone who is “really funny”.

In 2005, just before Thanksgiving, Rick and Ann’s then four year-old son was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes. Less than a month later Rick was diagnosed with Parkinson’ disease. Rick and his wife are advocates of finding a cure and strongly support The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International.

More information can be found on Rick and his writings on his website.

Books of Interest[edit]

There Once Was a Bullfrog plays on compound words. The Bullfrog has lost his hop and doesn’t know where it is. He spends the whole book looking for it. He looks under a toad, then the page is turned to see it was a toadstool. He looks by the dog, then the page is turned to see a doghouse. He looks by the cow, then the page is turned to see a cowboy. He finally finds his hop, but after all the looking he is now hungry. Every page is a surprise. The illustrations are done by Greg Hally.

Why the Banana Split is a fun western story about T-Rex dinosaur who comes to town. The townspeople are petrified and flee. Then the play on words such as the jump rope skips town, the train made tracks, and of course the banana splits. Rex explains he just eats fruit, so everyone comes back…all except the bananas (being fruit). The pictures explain the play on words. The illustrations are done by Jimmy Holder.

The inside cover of How Can You Dance is inviting, showing a conga line of animals dancing across the page. It is a great book for younger children who have the wiggles because it tells the reader different ways to move. It is a rhyming story in black and red text. The red text is part of the story, but tells readers how to move. The illustrator, Ana Lopez-Escriva, uses acrylics to make brightly colored pictures.

In Bertie Was a Watchdog a watchdog is alone in the house at night. He’s called a watchdog because he is tiny—the size of a wristwatch. A burglar comes into the house and laughs about how ineffective and small he is. The dog eventually turns the tables on the burglar by getting him to bark, then bark louder, until the police hear the barking and come to arrest the burglar. The watchdog is given a medal. The illustrator, Arthur Robins, used watercolor and ink.

Bunnies On the Go is a rhyming book about a rabbit family who packs and goes on vacation. Readers are able to guess the mode of transportation because it’s the last word that fits in the rhyme. Then the page is turned to see if they are correct. The various modes of transportation are by car, train, wagon, tractor, hot-air balloon, boat, bikes, truck, bus, ferry, cab, plane, and then home. Beautifully colored full illustrations are done by Paige Miglio.

In A Very Hairy Scary Story, young Sarah leaves Ann’s house to go home in the dark night. As she walks home, she encounters giant, scary monsters: spider, bat, skunk, bear, ape, and lion. The reader doesn’t know what she will run into until the page is turned. She comes across her dad who takes her the rest of the way home. Sarah realizes she left her friend’s house too late and won’t do that again. The illustrations are done in pen & ink and watercolors by David Clark.

References[edit]

Rick Walton Biography: Rick Walton's website

Walton, R. (1995). There once was a bullfrog. Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith.

Walton, R. (1998). Why the banana split. Layton, Utah. Gibbs Smith.

Walton, R. (2001). How can you dance. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Walton, R. (2002). Bertie was a watchdog. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press.

Walton, R. (2003). Bunnies on the go. New York: Harper Children.

Walton, R. (2004). A very hairy scary story. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.