As with all great discoveries, Mark Teague's eureka moment materialized from something seemingly unrelated when a move from San Diego to New York City planted the seed for his first picture book, The Trouble with the Johnsons. His debut earned him a feature in Publisher's Weekly as one of eleven prominent new authors of 1989 and secured his place among beloved children's authors.
Each of Teague's books starts as “notebooks full of sketches and scribbles, strange little drawings, and phrases that seem mostly cryptic that suddenly come together,” he explains. And though Teague developed his writing and painting talents without formal training, his boundless imagination has earned him a permanent place in the hearts of children.
His books tackle common childhood fears — imaginary monsters living in closets, being late for school, or meeting a new baby-sitter. Mark admits that his own daughter was pretty calm in comparison to the Eggmont children in Baby Tamer, but the idea for the book came from her. One Halloween Night sprung from his love for the holiday — the way a costume can give a person a whole new identity and how everything is transformed into something mysterious and spooky.
Teague has also collaborated with critically acclaimed authors Audrey Wood, Cynthia Rylant, and Jane Yolen. He has worked with Shana Corey on First Graders From Mars, a hilarious series that follows the trials and tribulations of kids on another planet. In the Poppleton series, Teague and Rylant bring to children stories about Poppleton the pig and his engaging community of friends. Teague has also worked with several other award-winning artists in Tales from Shakespeare. This text features the collection of ten Shakespearean stories, which are brought to life by illustrations by twelve acclaimed illustrators.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? is Teague's critically acclaimed collaboration with Jane Yolen. The book was named a New York Times, Publishers Weekly and BookSense bestseller. It also picked up numerous awards, including the Christopher Medal. The sequel, How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? was published to critical acclaim as well. Can you guess what it's about? The dinosaur children are in bed again — but this time it's with the flu! The critically acclaimed team of Yolen and Teague have again joined forces to bring the dinosaurs to life in two board books How do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? and How do Dinosaurs Count to Ten?
For his book, Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School, Teague tells the story of Ike, a dog who has been banished to the Igor Brotweiler Canine Academy — which is a nightmarish experience, according to the letters that Ike writes to his owner. But is Ike telling the truth? What is obedience school really like? Using the clever illustrations as clues, readers get to make the final decision. It was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and received numerous other accolades. In the hilarious sequel, Detective LaRue: Letters from the Investigation, Ike finds himself in jail, unfairly accused of terrorizing Hibbins’ cats. To save himself, he once again pleads his case through letters to Mrs. LaRue.
Mark Teague currently lives in Coxsackie, New York, with his wife, Laura, and their two daughters, Lily and Ava.
Watch a video interview with Mark Teague.