Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Brock Cole  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Young Adult; Children; Children;

Born: 1938 in Charlotte, Michigan

-- Brock Cole on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Cole lived in Illinois from 1975 - 1992.

Biographical and Professional Information

Brock Cole is an award-winning author and illustrator of picture books for children. He also writes novels for young adults. Cole graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in English and received a PhD in philosophy from the University of Minnesota. He taught philosophy at the University of Wisconsin for a number of years, before he started to write and illustrate books for children. He currently lives in Buffalo, New York.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The King at the Door
ISBN: 0374440417

Sunburst. 1992

A poorly dressed old man appears at an inn and declares he is really the king, but only a servant believes him

No More Baths
ISBN: 0374455147

Sunburst. 1989

When Jessie McWhistle's family tries to make her have a bath in the middle of the day, its just too much, and she decides to leave home. She attempts to follow the example of a happy pig in her deep oozy wallow. Full-color illustrations.

Nothing but a Pig
ISBN: 0374455414

Sunburst. 1991

A spoiled pig, the new possession of a rich banker who is fond of bacon and ham, comes to appreciate his former owner who considered him his best friend.

The Winter Wren
ISBN: 0374484082

Farrar Straus & Giroux. 1988

A winter wren aids a little boy in his attempts to thwart Winter, awaken Spring, and find his missing sister

The Giant's Toe
ISBN: 0374425574

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 1988

"Once there was a giant out hoeing in his cabbages. The hoe slipped and he gave his foot a mighty wack.
'Ow!' he cried. 'I must have cut off my toe.'
But when he found his toe among the cabbages it had changed. It hardly looked like a toe at all.

And that is just the beginning of the surprises the giant is in for. Imagine a toe that talks back, meddles in your affairs, and is responsible for the loss of your most precious possessions. The giant is furious. Yet each time he tries to get rid of the toe it reappears in an unexpected way. Only when the clever toe manages to save the day--and the giant--does their battle of wills take a turn for the better.

The Goats
ISBN: 0312611919

Square Fish. 2010

Harmless camp pranks can quickly spiral out of control, but they also provide a perfect opportunity for two social outcasts to overcome and triumph.

A boy and a girl are stripped and marooned on a small island for the night. They are the "goats." The kids at camp think it's a great joke, just a harmless old tradition. But the goats don't see it that way. Instead of trying to get back to camp, they decide to call home. But no one can come and get them. So they're on their own, wandering through a small town trying to find clothing, food, and shelter, all while avoiding suspicious adults―especially the police. The boy and the girl find they rather like life on their own. If their parents ever do show up to rescue them, the boy and the girl might be long gone. . . .

The Goats is a 1987 New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year.

Celine (A Sunburst Book)
ISBN: 0374410828

Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2003

"Show a little maturity," he said, which I've doped out to mean: Pass all your courses, avoid detection in all crimes and misdemeanors, don't get pregnant.

Celine's father has left her with these instructions. She's not too worried about the last two, but she'll fail English unless she rewrites her Catcher in the Rye essay. And she keeps being interrupted, especially by Jake, the neighbor's boy, who's been dumped on her for the weekend.

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Booklist Best Book of the '80s
A Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year

Giotto: The Scrovegni Chapel, Padua (Great Fresco Cycles of the Renaissance)
ISBN: 080761310X

George Braziller. 1993

This beautiful series lavishly illustrates the world's major fresco cycles from the early fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries. Each book also contains a comprehensive text, a biography of the artist, a bibliography, and a glossary.

Alpha and the Dirty Baby
ISBN: 0613095081

Rebound by Sagebrush. 1995

After Alpha's parents have a spat, two devil's imps turn Papa and Mama into a lump of coal and an egg, and move in, along with their dirty baby, and cause chaos. But they're no match for clever Alpha!

The Facts Speak for Themselves
ISBN: 1932425713

Front Street. 2006

The woman policeman says why don't you come in here, and so I went. It was a little room with a table and some chairs. That was all. Instead of a window, there was a big mirror. I wouldn't look at that. I didn't want to see myself. I sat down and folded my hands. There was still blood under my nails, so after a minute I put them under the table . . .

-From the book

This is the story of how thirteen-year-old Linda came to be involved in the murder of one man and the suicide of another. The police and her social worker think they know the answer, but they've got it wrong. Here Linda tells her own story. She sees her world and what has happened to her with compelling clarity. Her voice is direct, cool, and ruthlessly honest. She'll persuade you that she is neither victim nor fool - that the facts speak for themselves in this National Book Award Finalist.

Like Howie and Laura in The Goats and Celine in Celine, Linda is a character who will captivate you from the first word. This is a life you will never forget.

ISBN: 0374310017

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 2000

Brock Cole's first picture book in nearly ten years

Once there was an old man who ate so much his britches burst and his buttons popped one, two, three, into the fire. "Wife! Wife!" he cried. "We are undone! My britches have burst and my buttons are burnt, every one!

After putting her husband to bed, the wife enlists the aid of her three daughters in replacing their father's buttons. The eldest promises to find a rich man who will give her buttons in exchange for her hand in marriage. The second daughter decides to join the army for the sake of the buttons on a soldier's uniform. And the youngest is going to run through the meadows with her apron held out before her, hoping to catch a few buttons falling from the sky. Which of these young ladies will succeed in restoring the family fortunes? The answer is the essential and satisfying stuff of fairy tales. Brock Cole's whimsical prose and pictures make this original story feel like a hundred-year-old classic.

Larky Mavis
ISBN: 0374343659

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 2001

Another orginal picture-book fairy tale

Larky Mavis, an eccentric soul, finds three peanuts in the middle of the road. The first tastes like liver and onions. The second, like bread pudding. And the third -- well, inside the third is a baby. Larky Mavis decides to name it Heart's Delight and to take care of it. She shows it to the teacher, and he says it looks like a worm. She asks the parson to christen it, but he thinks it's a mouse. And when she asks the doctor to help her teach the baby to say "Ma," he thinks it's a deformed bird. And indeed, Heart's Delight has sprouted wings. As Mavis's charge grows and grows, readers will recognize that Heart's Delight is something akin to an angel, and the townspeople also realize that it is something special, but they want to take it away. And as much as Larky Mavis tries to protect Heart's Delight, it is the peanut-shell baby who turns out to be Mavis's savior in the end.

This unusual tale is illustrated by the author in lively watercolors.

Fair Monaco
ISBN: 1932425071

Front Street imprint of Boyds Mills Press. 2004

When Maggie, Kate, and little Nora go to stay with their grandmother in the city, they beg her to let them play outside, but she's too afraid. Her back is bad, her feet are bad, and her head is full of worries. That night when the girls find their way into their grandmother's dreams, they realize they can do something to make the worries go away.

The Money We'll Save
ISBN: 0374350116

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 2011

One of Horn Book's Best Picture Books of 2011
When Pa brings a turkey poult home to fatten for Christmas dinner, he assures Ma that it will be no trouble since it can live in a box by the stove and eat table scraps--and just think of the money we'll save! But it's not quite so simple to raise a turkey in a tiny flat in a nineteenth-century New York City tenement. Can Pa and the children manage the willful and growing Alfred and keep the neighbors happy until Christmas? Pa finds a solution for every difficulty--until he encounters one that threatens to ruin Christmas completely. How the family joins together to solve this last difficulty makes for a very funny and satisfying holiday story.

The Indian in the Cupboard
ISBN: 0380600129

Avon Books. 2003

It all starts with a birthday present Omri doesn't even want -- a small plastic Indian of no use to him at all. But when an old wooden cupboard and a special key bring the unusual toy to life, Omri's Indian becomes his most important secret: precious, dangerous, wonderful, and above all, magical.

Gaffer Samson's Luck (Sunburst Book)
ISBN: 0374425132

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR). 1990

James's difficulty in adjusting to a new school and life in the Fens is further complicated by the request of an elderly neighbor to find his lucky piece, a task which puts James in some danger.

George Washington's Teeth
ISBN: 0312376049

Square Fish. 2007

From battling toothaches while fighting the British, to having rotten teeth removed by his dentists, the Father of His Country suffered all his life with tooth problems. Yet, contrary to popular belief, he never had a set of wooden teeth. Starting at the age of twenty-four, George Washington lost on average a tooth a year, and by the time he was elected president, he had only two left! In this reverentially funny tale written in verse and based on Washington's letters, diaries, and other historical records, readers will find out what really happened as they follow the trail of lost teeth to complete tooflessness.

Illustrated in watercolors with subtle humor by Brock Cole, the main story is followed by a four-page time line featuring reproduced period portraits of Washington.

Gully's Travels
ISBN: 0545025060

Michael di Capua Books. 2008

"Tor Seidler writes in the great tradition of Kenneth Grahame, Walter R. Brooks, and E. B. White."-Michael Cart, Booklist


Body of Work

  • Carl Sandburg Award
  • 'The Goats


  • Notable Book, New York Times
  • Best Book for Young Adults, American Library Association

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)