Children's Authors/Tedd Arnold
Early life Tedd Arnold was born in Elmira, New York in 1949. He grew up in a family of six, and had three older brothers. He first started drawing when he was child, and eventually graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts.
Family His wife Carol, a Master’s in Education, taught Kindergarten during the early years of their marriage, and Mr. Arnold became interested in the books she shared with her students. He began to study the books she shared with her students, and became interested in writing children's stories.
Publishing He began submitting stories to publishers after Walter, his first son, was born. Shortly after William, their second child was born, he wrote a book titled No Jumping on the Bed! which was inspired by Walter’s bed jumping. In fact, the principle character is named Walter, after his son. The book was accepted and published, and became an IRA-CBC Children's Choice book. Mr. Arnold went on to have several other stories accepted for publishing including Green Wilma, Parts, Fly High! Fly Guy! and many others. Many of these also received prestigious awards.
Mr. Arnold is currently the author of over 60 books.
Throughout his many books, Mr. Arnold seems to have a good understanding of what sorts of things children imagine despite the improbability or impossibility of those things happening.
For example, Green Wilma explores the idea that many children have imagined, about what would happen if a child woke up changed into something else. Children imagine how their families and friends would react to this inexplicable change, and Green Wilma helps them with that, taking them on the journey of a girl who wakes up turned into a frog. Mr. Arnold's books also help children go on journeys with characters who experience other adventures implausible in the real world, like what would happen if a child jumped so hard, his bed fell down through all the stories of his apartment building. These issues Mr. Arnold approaches in a fun, light hearted way that children can relate to, and connect with.
According to the website Books 4 Boys, boys like Mr. Arnold’s books because “Tedd approaches the subjects of body parts and figures of speech from a child's point of view and makes these topics understandable—and hilarious—for them.”
In talking about visiting elementary schools, Tedd Arnold said, “…meeting and talking with young readers in classrooms and libraries is something that I love.”
Just reading his books gives the impression that Mr. Arnold finds satisfaction in meeting with young kids and getting to know them. He clearly enjoys exploring the imaginations of children in his books. And he does so in a way that is on the level of children, so that they can relate to and enjoy his stories as they are experiencing them.
Books of Interest
No Jumping on the Bed! by Tedd Arnold uses words and pictures together, to tell a story about a topic that children are familiar with- jumping on the bed, and gives the story a fantastical twist. The illustrations, which are fairly realistic, combine with the written text of the story that together help to create the mood of the story. The story itself, following the main character as he goes on an unexpected adventure down through the floors, flows smoothly, and is written on a child’s level (but is not condescending to children). Despite the story being almost a fantasy, it is still something that children can relate to, because it appeals to children’s imaginations about an everyday activity. The book will interest young readers, because it appeals to their imaginations of what could happen if one’s bed really did fall through the floor. The reader follows Walter on his journey down through the floor, sharing his adventure as he meets his various neighbors, and takes along with him on his downward adventure.
Green Wilma by Tedd Arnold uses a story told in rhyme, combined with his own familiar artwork to tell a fantastic story about a girl who wakes up changed into a frog. The mood uses descriptive language that relates with, and appeals to children. There is little written text, and much of the story is told through Mr. Arnold’s colorful pictures. The book explores what many children have imagined: the results of waking up, changed in some way, into something else, and how that child’s family and associates would react if such a change took place.
Parts by Tedd Arnold, using a playful rhyming words, similar to Green Wilma and combining them with Mr. Arnold’s artwork, tells a story about a boy who fears that his body is falling apart. Despite the boy’s worry, the story tells of his concerns in a simple, lighthearted way that uses language that children can understand and follow. The pictures help to tell the story of the boy’s worry, his mouth twisting crookedly, his eyes constantly bugged out, and drops of sweat flying from him as he contemplates the possibility that his body is falling to pieces.
Children would be engaged by this book because of their own experiences with growing, and shedding skin and hair, and losing their baby teeth. They would be amused by the boy’s concerns, yet they would also be able to relate to his anxiety with change.
Huggly Goes to School by Tedd Arnold is another story that uses pictures to tell as much, or more of the story as the written words do. When Huggly and Grubble come out from under the bed in the nurse’s office at school, they don’t know what they’re seeing, and the written words corresponding to the pictures show that they don’t: “puffy white balls” for cotton balls, and “clanky contraption” for the instrument that measures height and weight, and “sticky things” for band-aids.” Children, however, know from the pictures combined with the words, exactly what is going on. The book is appealing to children, because it explores a few things that children are familiar with, namely school, and school work, and combines those familiar things with things that children imagine, like monsters under the bed, albeit, in this story friendly, harmless monsters, and puts them together.
Fly High, Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold is one of several stories that tells the story of Fly Guy through pictures combined with words. When Fly Guy is accidentally shut in the family’s trunk as they’re getting ready to go on their vacation, the words don’t say that he does, but the pictures clearly communicate that that is what happened. Throughout the story, the pictures, combined with the written words, tell the story of Fly Guy’s adventure as the family goes along, oblivious to the fact that Fly Guy has inadvertently joined them.
The book is highly appealing to children, because many can relate to having a pet, and the humorous idea of having an intelligent fly for a pet is entertaining and engaging. The anxiety they share with Fly Guy throughout this particular story keeps them interested as well.
No More Water in the Tub! by Tedd Arnold is a book written in a similar style, and with similar artwork to his first published work, “No More Jumping on the Bed!” Like his first book, he gives a normal occurrence in a child’s life, taking a bath, and adds what a child could imagine might happen if the water going into the tub went out of control, and filled the room and the house. Walter and William now go on an adventure in the water in a similar way to Walter’s adventure falling down through the apartment building.
The book is engaging for children in much the same way that No More Jumping on the Bed! is. Children love to imagine wonderful adventures that are related to every day occurrences, and are excited by Walter and William’s adventure, imagining themselves in the brothers’ places.
No More Jumping on the Bed!and No More Water in the Tub! are very similar to each other in writing style, and artwork. They are written in prose, rather than with rhyme and rhythm as Green Wilma and Parts are. There is also much more written text in them than there is in the other stories. Fly High Fly Guy! is written in prose, and is divided into short chapters. None of the other books above are written in this format. Huggly Goes to School is written in much the same style as No More Jumping on the Bed! and No More Water in the Tub! The artwork, however, is similar to the other four. It is less realistic, with more cartoonish characters having buggy eyes, and blobby bodies. All of the stories, however, have many similarities in that they all explore what children often imagine, and day dream about, and bring it to life in ways that are attractive and appealing to children. Huggly is a loveable, and harmless monster-under-the-bed, and children like his stories because he takes something that could be frightening to children, and makes the character approachable and non-threatening. No More Jumping on the Bed!, No More Water in the Tub!, and Green Wilma all explore what children often imagine what would follow if something that couldn’t happen in the real world, actually did happen. All of the artwork in the six books, no matter the style, appeals to children with vivid color and details. Some of the generalizations that I think students would draw from these books, is that the books are all about what children experience moving through life, so the children can relate to what they characters are experiencing, but the stories are given excited, unusual twists that make the adventures of the characters exciting and unexpected, so that the reader becomes interested, and wants to follow the story to see what happens.
“Tedd Arnold.” 2006. Tedd Arnold Books. 29 March 2012 http://www.teddarnoldbooks.com/
“Tedd Arnold.” Books 4 Boys. 2012 Penguin Group. 29 March 2012 <http://us.penguingroup.com/static/packages/us/yreaders/books4boys/author_teddarnold.php>
“Tedd Arnold.” Scholastic. 2011. Scholastic Inc. 29 March 2012 http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/contributor/tedd-arnold-0