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Jack Prelutsky

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Occupation  Poet
Role  Writer
Name  Jack Prelutsky
Nationality  American
Language  English

Jack Prelutsky httpswwwpoetsorgsitesdefaultfilesstyles2
Born  September 8, 1940 (age 75)Brooklyn, New York (1940-09-08)
Notable awards  U.S. Children's Poet Laureate (2006) (Poetry Foundation)Scandiuzzi Children's Book Award (2007) (Washington State Book Award)
Spouse  Carolynn Prelutsky (m. 1979)
Movies  A Pizza the Size of the Sun
Parents  Dorothea Prelutsky, Charles Prelutsky
Education  Hunter College, The High School of Music & Art
Books  It's Raining Pigs & Noodles, Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!, It's Halloween, Scranimals, Behold the bold umbrellaphant
Similar People  Shel Silverstein, Lane Smith, Maurice Sendak, Alma Flor Ada, Dr Seuss

Jack prelutsky

Jack Prelutsky (born September 8, 1940) is an American writer of children's poetry who has published over 50 poetry collections. He was named a U.S. Children's Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation in 2006.


Jack Prelutsky Jack Prelutsky The Poetry Foundation

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Early life

Jack Prelutsky was born on September 8, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York to Charles, an electrician, and Dorothea, a homemaker. While he was still a baby, a fire burned his family's apartment and he was saved by his Uncle Charlie, who was a stand up comedian who played the Borscht Belt.

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He attended local public schools in the Bronx, hated the experience, and was bored in class. Prelutsky claims to have hated poetry when he was younger. He stated that "sometime in elementary school I had a teacher who, in retrospect, did not like poetry herself. She was determined to inflict violent punches and deadly blows so you can believe her views on her captives that were locked in the basement. The syllabus told her she had to recite a poem once a week. She would pick a boring poem from a boring book and read it in a boring voice, looking bored while she was doing it."

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After teachers discovered he had musical talents, they suggested that he attend The High School of Music & Art. The moment he was there, he was happy and was able to train his beautiful singing voice and even took part in the musicals. He graduated in 1958, and went on to Hunter College for two years. He studied philosophy, psychology, and flunked English three times before dropping out.

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Before becoming a writer, he worked odd jobs including driving a cab, moving furniture, busboy, potter, woodworker, and door-to-door salesman. In the late 1960s, he was working in a bookstore in Greenwich Village and singing in coffeehouses, and while doing the latter he met Bob Dylan, became friends, and Dylan even stated that Prelutsky sounded "like a cross between Woody Guthrie and Enrico Caruso."

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Prelutsky also loved to draw imaginary animals, and a friend of his encouraged him to send it to a publisher in New York. He wrote poems to go with the drawings last minute. He met with Susan Hirshman, and was amazed when they wanted his work; not the drawings that took six months to draw, but the poems which took two hours. He was 24 at the time, and the poems appeared in his first book, A Gopher in the Garden and Other Animal Poems, in 1967. Hirshman told him he was a natural poet, published his book, and remained his editor until she retired 37 years later.


Prelutsky has written more than 50 poetry collections, including Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep (1976), It's Halloween (1977), The Mean Old Mean Hyena (1978), and Something BIG Has Been Here (1990). Nilsen, A. P. and Nilsen, D.L.F. (2000). Encyclopedia of 20th-Century American Humor [Electronic version]. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press. He has also compiled numerous children's anthologies comprising poems of others.

He has also set his poems to music on the audio versions of his anthologies. He often sings and plays guitar on them.

In 2006, the Poetry Foundation named Prelutsky the inaugural winner of the Children's Poet Laureate award.

He appeared on the popular animated television series Arthur, in the episode "I'm a Poet."

His book Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant and Other Poems (illustrated by Carin Berger) won the 2007 Scandiuzzi Children's Book Award of the Washington State Book Awards in the Picture Book category.

In 1993, his poetry collection "The New Kid on the Block" was made into an interactive story book by Brøderbund's Living Books series.

Jack Prelutsky has garnered many awards in his long career including citations as: New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year, School Library Journal Best of the Best Book, International Reading Association/Children's Book Council Children's Choice, Library of Congress Book of the Year, Parents' Choice Award, American Library Association Notable Children's Recording, an Association for Library Services to Children Notable Book and Booklist Editor's Choice, among others. His combined works have sold over a million copies and been translated into many languages.

Personal life

Prelutsky married his wife, Carolynn, in 1979. They met when he was on a book tour in Albuquerque, New Mexico and she was a children's librarian who was tasked with showing him around town. He claims it was love at first sight and even asked for her hand in marriage the first day he met her. They have lived in Arizona, Boston, New York City, and Olympia, Washington. They currently live in downtown Seattle and have an apartment on Bainbridge Island.


Jack Prelutsky Wikipedia