Author and illustrator Frank Remkiewicz has illustrated children's books by many
authors, including Alma Flor Ada and Betsy Byars. His self-illustrated works have
met with positive critical reception, but he is perhaps best known as the illustrator
for the popular "Horrible Harry" the "Froggy" series, written by Jonathan London.
Remkiewicz's drawings have been described by Diane Roback of Publishers Weekly as
"bold swatches of color crisply outlined. n 1992 Remkiewicz teamed up with London
for Froggy Gets Dressed, the first book introducing readers to the misadventures
of Froggy and his friends. Froggy seems to mess up all the time, but everything manages
to turn out all right.
When Froggy tries to play soccer in Froggy Plays Soccer, for instance, he manages to get knocked over by flying balls, miss important plays, and catch the ball with his hands. Even so, he manages to redeem himself by scoring a winning goal. In Booklist, Kay Weisman commented, "Remkiewicz's brightly colored artwork enhances London's humorous text." In Froggy Goes to Bed, Froggy stalls as long as he can to stay awake just a little bit longer. He has managed to hide all the things he needs for bed—his pajamas, toothbrush, etc.—throughout the house, and can only go to sleep after a thorough search. Elizabeth O'Brien in School Library Journal noted that the "bold, funny cartoons vary," appearing as small illustrations or full spreads, and Carolyn Phelan commented in her Booklist review that the artist's illustrations are "notable for their buoyancy of line and vibrancy of colors." In Froggy Eats Out Froggy goes out to a nice restaurant with his parents only to make a mess of everything, even in front of his crush Frogilina. After disaster at the restaurant, Froggy's parents try to make everything better by taking him out to the local "fast flies place." Gillian Engberg praised how the "bright, cartoon-like drawings" express Froggy's "irrepressible energy." In Froggy Plays in the Band, Froggy and all his friends, including Frogilina, join the marching band. This time it is Frogilina who causes catastrophe; when she misses a baton toss, it hits Froggy in the head and knocks him out right in front of the judges. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews, while noting that the book's plot seemed somewhat forced, wrote that "Remkiewicz's illustrations keep the atmosphere as endearing as possible." Wanda Meyers-Hines, reviewing for School Library Journal, thought Froggy fans would be equally delighted by Froggy Plays in the Band and praised the book for its "vividly colorful and animated signature illustrations." In Froggy Goes to the Doctor Froggy is excited to have a day off from school, but loses his enthusiasm when he realizes seeing the doctor might mean getting a shot. A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that the story is "energized by Remkiewicz's bustling watercolors." Remkiewicz has published several titles which he both writes and illustrates. The Last Time I Saw Harris tells the story of Edmund and his best friend, Harris the parrot. Harris can perform a number of unusual tricks, including identifying colors. When Edmund is about to teach Harris the color purple, a strong wind blows the parrot away, and Edmund and a chauffeur must set out to find him. Booklist contributor Ilene Cooper found "most of the humor coming from the brightly colored, cartoon-style illustrations," while Martha V. Parravano concluded in Horn Book that in The Last Time I Saw Harris the "flat, spacious pictures ... match the droll, understated—though utterly absurd—tale. A delightful concoction."
"I've always been drawn to the field of humor. Since I'm writing and illustrating my own stories now, I try to make them funny in an outrageous or off-the-wall way. During classroom presentations, again ... I find myself by the chalkboard in front of the kids. Now we are seeking ways to write and draw those ideas that squeeze their way through the every day chores of our minds. It's a thrill to watch my own book being read by a group of children and I like it when they smile, but I love it when they laugh." Career Norcross Greeting Cards, New York, NY, staff illustrator, 1968-73; freelance author and illustrator, 1973-92.
Awards, Honors New York Times Ten Best of the Season citation, 1991, for The Last Time I Saw Harris; I Hate Camping named a Children's Book of the Year by Bank Street College; Children's Choice Award, National Council for Reading, 1992.