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Each of Iza Trapani's books is filled with humor and expands on the original nursery rhyme with illustrations, settings and the addition of animals. At the back of each of the nursery rhymes, is the music and verses. The illustrations in every one of these books is simply delightful and playful. All of these books are highly recommended as an addition to your child's library.

Iza Trapani
|interview below|
In her own words...
Shoo Fly !

Ages 4-8 (2000)
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Iza Trapani, Children's Author/Illustrator In 1961, when I was seven years old, my mother and I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Poland to America. My father, sister and brother and my paternal grandmother all stayed behind in the tiny apartment in Warsaw where the six of us had resided. Under Communist rule entire families were not allowed to travel abroad so my mother took me, the youngest, hoping for the opportunity to bring the rest of the family over at a later time. Tragically, she died before fulfilling her dream. My father died shortly thereafter. Due to extenuating circumstances I was unable to return to Poland and twenty five years passed before I was re-united with my brother and sister. I spent three and a half years in a Catholic orphanage and then, after completing High School, moved to the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York.

In the ensuing years I worked as a nanny, short-order cook and waitress while studying art at the State University in New Paltz. After graduation I continued to work various jobs: rock climbing guide, real estate broker, caterer and free-lance illustrator. But all along I had one dream- to make picture books, and my portfolio bulged with stories and related art for children - just hoping for that lucky break. For many years when blowing out candles on my birthday cakes it was my wish to someday illustrate a children’s book. Often I recall an incident while taking a real estate motivational course. When asked by the teacher to state my primary goal, without blinking an eye I had replied, “to make books for children”. She wasn't looking for that answer but to me it was a personal affirmation of my real dream.

When my first book was published I jumped with joy. Now I am working on my fourteenth and still ecstatic. I have always loved children’s literature -from the wacky brilliance of Dr. Seuss to the timeless, love-filled classics of Margaret Wise Brown and a slew of others in between. The pure simplicity of words matched with enchanting illustrations is an irresistible combination and it has fascinated me all my life. As a child I spent hours reading books, immersed in their magic. These days I try to re-create some of that magic for others to enjoy.

Every day I thank my lucky stars for the life I have with my loving husband and stepson, our two overly affectionate dogs and cat, our new farm in Rifton, New York where we are building a new house, and a career that keeps me smiling. Looking back on my childhood in Poland, I feel that I owe my family gratitude for fostering a creative environment in our home and for instilling in me a love for books, language, art and music at a very early age. I have vivid memories of sitting at our dining table in that tiny apartment blanketing every scrap of paper, every newspaper margin with my art. For the brief time that I knew my parents, their encouragement and support left a lasting impression and contributed greatly to the realization of my lifelong dream.

(All books are published by Whispering Coyote Press, an imprint of Charlesbridge Publishing)

What Am I? An Animal Guessing Game (1992)
The Itsy Bitsy Spider (1993) ABA “Pick of the Lists” / featured on PBS “Storytime”
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star ( 1994)
Oh Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone? (1995)
I’m A Little Teapot (1996) ABA “Pick of the Lists”
How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? (1997)
Mary Had A Little Lamb (1998)
Row Row Row Your Boat (1999)
My Jack (1999)
Shoo Fly (2000)

Other books I have illustrated:

Tracy’s Mess by Elise Petersen (1996)
Tomorrow Is Mom’s Birthday by Carolyn Dorflinger (1994)
I Am Three/I Am Four by Alice Steed (1993)

Books in Progress:

Baa Baa Black Sheep (Fall 2001)

Row Row Row Your Boat

Row Row Row Your Boat 1999
Picture to follow
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Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
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An interview with Iza Trapani

Q. What made you choose to adapt and illustrate nursery rhymes?

A. It all started one day when I was brainstrorming with my publisher, editor and art director to come up with a project for my second book (What Am I ? was the first).

My publisher wanted me to do something well known, so we thought about fairy tales then nursery rhymes and we realized that The Itsy Bitsy Spider lent itself well to adaptation and that's the one that was selected. I have to admit I wasn't too keen on the idea for I'm a serious arachnaphobe - but needless to say I accepted the challenge! It turned out to be lots of fun working on it and we were all very excited.

When the book came out it became an instant hit and I received wonderful feedback especially from teachers and librarians. They love using the book in their classrooms and encouraged me to continue with these adaptations.

I chose Twinkle Twinkle Little Star because it's also well known and very sweet. In general, I try to pick songs that are well known because I think children will recognize the titles which will draw them into the book. Knowing the first verse will give them confidence and the rest of the verses follow the same rhyme scheme and can be sung for even easier learning.

I'm really happy that my books are so popular in schools. As a child I loved books (still do of course). It's interesting that when I arrived in the U.S. from Poland my relatives gave me a big illustrated book of Mother Goose nursery rhymes. I absolutely adored it and would spend hours immersed in its magic, and, in fact, I learned English through these rhymes! And even back then I dreamed of someday making picture books.

Q. Is music a big part of your life?

A. I guess my life has come full circle. Music has also been a very important part of my life. My parents gave me a great appreciation for music and taught me songs. I've sung all my life and I'm now studying piano.

When I visit schools I'll often sing my books to the children and we always sing at least the first verses together. I'm really happy to be helping to keep these traditions alive.