BRIAN CLEARY
Author

Published Books Presentations Contact

A frustrated student and reluctant learner, Cleary daydreamed his way from class to class until being introduced to poetry in third grade. Ogden Nash, e. e. cummings, Lennon McCartney - even the bawdy musical lyrics in the Marx Brothers' comedies set him on a course to explore and celebrate the wonder of words. Ironically, he is now found back in the classroom, as he's shared his love of our rich language with 80,000 students in 4 states.

He has written cartoon gags which have appeared in more than 600 newspapers worldwide, and written humor essays for national and local magazines and newspapers, and has had an award winning children's book read on Minnesota Public Radio. Since graduating from John Carroll University with a degree in communications in 1982, he has worked in one of the 5 largest creative divisions in the world, American Greetings, where he currently holds the title of Senior Editor on the Humor Staff. He has worked on licensed properties from Garfield, to Ziggy, to Nickelodeon characters. You can now find him on Facebook!

International and National Awards of Recognition:

The Children's Choice

ABA Kids' Pick of the List

ABA Kids' Pick of the List

Benjamin Franklin Award (First Place)

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards, Honor Book

Published Books

New 2012 titles

Breezier, Cheesier, Newest, and Bluest: What Are Comparatives and Superlatives? (Words Are Categorical) [Hardcover] by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Brian Gable (Illustrator) Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Press (March 1, 2013) 
ISBN-10: 0761353623 ISBN-13: 978-0761353621
Order

 

Cool! Whoa! Ah and Oh!: What Is an Interjection? (Words Are Categorical) [School & Library Binding] by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Brian Gable (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 6 and up School & Library Binding: 32 pages Publisher: Millbrook Pr (T) (March 2011)
ISBN-10: 1580135943 ISBN-13: 978-1580135948 Order
What is an interjection? Oh, my! You'll find the answer inside this book--it's packed with interjections. Dear me! Brian P. Cleary's playful rhymes and Brian Gable's humorous illustrations creatively clarify the concept of interjections for young readers. Indeed! Interjections appear in color for easy identification, and comical cats reinforce each idea. Wow! Cool! Whoa! Ah and Oh!: What Is an Interjection? turns traditional a grammar lessons on end. Read this book aloud and share in the delight of the sense--and nonsense--of words.

Editorial Reviews
From Booklist ... Throughout, the level of Cleary's inventive verbal humor is greatly magnified by Gable's madcap drawings of dressed animals dramatizing the sentences with cartoon-style exaggeration.  Grades 2-4. --Carolyn Phelan

 

Other 2012 and later titles 

You Oughta Know By Now

by Brian P. Cleary (Author) Hardcover: 96 pages Publisher: Running Press (March 30, 2010)

 ISBN-10: 0762437928 ISBN-13: 978-0762437924


Think you know everything? Think again! For most of us, adulthood is the (incorrect!) notion that we know everything there is to know by the time we’ve said good-bye to our teenage years. This collection is here to prove you wrong.

Packed with 100 bites of humorous wisdom on kids, money, sex, love, and everything in between, this perfectly sized pick-me-up will remind you that there is still a lot to be learned in this world. Guaranteed to leave you in hysterics!

The Punctuation Station    
by Brian P. Cleary, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, Reading level: Ages 9-12 Library Binding: 37 pages Publisher: Millbrook Press (April 2010)

 ISBN-10: 0822578522 ISBN-13: 978-0822578529

All aboard! Join a family of giraffes on their journey to Punctuation Station. As the train chugs along, you’ll learn the ins and outs of using periods, commas, apostrophes, question marks, hyphens, quotation marks, and exclamation points! Playful rhymes from Brian P. Cleary and colorful illustrations from Joanne Lew-Vriethoff make learning about punctuation fun. So hop on board - this is one train ride you don’t want to miss!

****Sounds Like Reading Series****

The Bug in the Jug Wants a Hug: A Short Vowel Sounds Book (Sounds Like Reading)

by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Jason Miskimins (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 9-12. Library Binding: 32 pages, Library Binding: 32 pages, Publisher: Millbrook Press (April 2009)

 ISBN-10: 0761395032 ISBN-13: 978-0761395034

 

 

The Clown in the Gown Drives the Car With the Star:
A Book About Diphthongs and R-controlled Vowels (Sounds Like Reading)

by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Jason Miskimins (Illustrator), Alice M. Maday (Contributor) Reading level: Ages 9-12 Library Binding: 30 pages Publisher: Millbrook Press (April 2009)

ISBN-10: 0822576376 ISBN-13: 978-0822576372


The Frail Snail on the Trail: A Long Vowel Sounds Book With Consonant Blends (Sounds Like Reading) 

by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Jason Miskimins (Illustrator), Alice M. Maday (Contributor) Reading level: Ages 4-8 Library Binding: 30 pages Publisher: Millbrook Press (April 2009) 

ISBN-10: 0822576384 ISBN-13: 978-0822576389

The Nice Mice in the Rice: A Long Vowel Sounds Book
(Sounds Like Reading)

 by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Jason Miskimins (Illustrator), Alice M. Maday (Contributor Reading level: Ages 4-8 Library Binding: 32 pages Publisher: Millbrook Press (April 2009)

 ISBN-10: 0822576287   ISBN-13: 978-0822576280

The Peaches on the Beaches: A Book About Inflectional Endings (Sounds Like Reading)  

 by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Jason Miskimins (Illustrator), Alice M. Maday (Contributor) Reading level: Ages 9-12  Library Binding: 30 pages Publisher: Millbrook Press (April 2009)  

ISBN-10: 0822576368 ISBN-13: 978-0822576365

The Thing on the Wing Can Sing: A Short Vowel Sounds Book With Consonant Digraphs
(Sounds Like Reading)

by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Jason Miskimins (Illustrator), Alice M. Maday (Contributor)
Reading level: Ages 4-8 Library Binding: 30 pages Publisher: Millbrook Press (April 2009)

ISBN-10: 0822576392 ISBN-13: 978-0822576396

 

Whose Shoes Would You Choose?: A Long Vowel Sounds Book With Consonant Digraphs (Sounds Like Reading)

by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Jason Miskimins (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 4-8 Library Binding: 30 pages Publisher: Millbrook Press (April 2009)
ISBN-10: 0822576406 ISBN-13: 978-0822576402

 

 

****Words Are Categorical Series ****

 

Straight and Curvy, Meek and Nervy: More About Antonyms (Words Are Categorical)

by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Brian Gable (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8 Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Press (March 2009)

ISBN-10: 0822578786 ISBN-13: 978-0822578789

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist Fans of Cleary’s Words Are CATegorical series can enjoy another round of antonyms in this amusing look at opposites, a companion book to Stop and Go, Yes and No: What Is an Antonym? (2006). Wild colors and zany, attired animal characters ramp up the humor and the fun in this useful introduction to antonyms. The rhyming, rhythmic text lopes along, succinctly explaining what an antonym is and following up with plenty of clear examples, made not just palatable but actually amusing in the cartoon-like illustrations. One section here shows how adding certain prefixes to words can create antonyms such as pronounce/mispronounce, logical/illogical, and equalities/inequalities. The language-arts curriculum connection makes this a natural choice for school libraries, but the book’s quick-paced writing and visual zip extend its appeal way beyond that of most grammar books. --Carolyn Phelan

Stroll and Walk, Babble and Talk: More About Synonyms (Words Are Categorical)

Reading level: Ages 4-8 Library Binding: 32 pages Publisher: Millbrook Press (October 2008) 
ISBN-10: 0822578506 ISBN-13: 978-0822578505

What is a synonym? It's hard to explain but easy to show and that's just what this book does, in rhyming, comical verse that will have readers giggling as they learn. Cartoon cats guide readers through the tricks of words that are practically, nearly the same in this lighthearted celebration of language.

The Action of Subtraction (Math Is Categorical)

by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Brian Gable (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 4-8 Paperback: 32 pages Publisher: First Avenue Editions (September 2008)  

ISBN-10: 1580138438 ISBN-13: 978-1580138437

Brian P. Cleary and Brian Gable, author and illustrator of the best-selling Words Are CATegorical series, bring their trademark sense of humor to the subject of subtraction, proving that sometimes, less is really more. The comical cats show young readers the basic concept of taking one number away from another. Funny illustrations and examples make learning to subtract as easy as 3, 2, 1!

Editorial Reviews 

From School Library Journal The author has used the format of his popular Words Are CATegorical books (Millbrook) to look at mathematical functions. Subtraction is explained in rhyming text and simple, silly cartoons with excellent examples that range from angry bulldogs, hornets, and bowling pins to pieces of birthday cake, sports time-outs, and stuffed animals. The text is actually a rap that would be fun for students to memorize and perform. ... Erlene Bishop Killeen, Fox Prairie Elementary School, Stoughton, WI Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


A Lime, a Mime, a Pool of Slime: More About Nouns (Words Are Categorical)

 by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Brian Gable (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 4-8 Paperback: 32 pages Publisher: First Avenue Editions (September 2008)

ISBN-10: 1580139345 ISBN-13: 978-1580139342

One book couldn't possibly be enough to cover the topic of nouns. The cats are back with their comical examples to drive home to readers just what a noun is. Specific types of nouns - such as abstract nouns and proper nouns - are also introduced in this giggle-a-page expansion on the topic.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal This title presents students with yet more rhymed and seemingly random nouns than those in Cleary's A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun? (Carlhoada, 1999). Each spread contains a playful sentence elaborating on the topic, with each noun highlighted in a bright color. Friend is a noun,/and so is your dad,/ice cream/and bagels/and Boston/and Brad. Gable's loose watercolor cartoons depict each noun (as well as the series' signature big-nosed cats, of course). Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.  

From Booklist "Recommended as an antidote to snooze-producing grammar texts."  

 On the Scale, a Weighty Tale (Math Is Categorical)

by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Brian Gable (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 4-8 Library Binding: 32 pages Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group (September 2008)  

ISBN-10: 0822578514 ISBN-13: 978-0822578512

In this wacky look at weight, Brian P. Cleary and Brian Gable introduce essential measurement units - from grams to pounds to tons. The comical cats of the wildly popular Words Are CATegorical series show how to measure trucks, trains, ducks, cranes, and more. Peppy rhymes, goofy illustrations, and kid-friendly examples make light work of this heavy topic.

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews In rousing rhyme, this addition to the Math is CATegorical series explores weight measurement. ...The clear and humorous examples drawn from life enable kids to understand easily and then apply the information. For those just beginning the numbers adventure, this one tips the scale. 

Lazily, Crazily, Just a Bit Nasally: More About Adverbs (Words Are Categorical)

by Brian P. Cleary (Author), Brian Gable (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 4-8 Hardcover: 32 pages Publisher: Millbrook Press (February 10, 2008)

ISBN-10: 0822578484 ISBN-13: 978-0822578482

One book is never enough to explore the incredibly wide range of adverbs! The goofy cats crazily deliver loads of additional examples to entertainingly illustrate the power of adverbs, including phrasal adverbs. Brian P. Cleary's playful verse and Brian Gable's comical cats magically turn traditional grammar lessons on end. Each adverb is cleverly color coded to help readers identify adverbs of manner, adverbs of time, and more. Read this book aloud and share the delight of the sense and nonsense of words.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal   The CATegorical cats are back. A professorial feline opens this offbeat lecture with a definition of adverbs and a color-coded guide to the types found throughout the book. Readers are then drawn into another of Cleary's signature rhyming narratives, which tumbles across each page verbally and visually. .... -Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI

Anonyms.jpg (22433 bytes)Stop and Go, Yes and No: What Is an Antonym?

by Brian P. Cleary Reading level: Ages 9-12 Library Binding Publisher: Millbrook Press (May, 2006)
ISBN: 157505860X order.gif (1197 bytes) 94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Cleary describes and illustrates antonyms from the obvious stop and go, yes and no, front and back, fast and slow, to the more obscure: excite and soothe, hefty and diminutive. He elaborates on reasons for celebrating opposites and also describes how to create them through the use of powerful prefixes .... Kathleen Meulen, Blakely Elementary School, Bainbridge Island, WA Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Mission Addition.jpg (47459 bytes)

The Mission Of Addition (Math Is Categorical)

by Brian P. Cleary, Brian Gable (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8 Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Press (June 1, 2005)
ISBN: 1575058596 order.gif (1197 bytes) 94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal
The team behind the Words Are CATegorical series (Carolrhoda) offers the first in a series about math. Through playful rhymes, the book explains basic concepts such as, .....Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Bear Bear.jpg (48347 bytes)

How Much Can A Bare Bear Bear?: What Are Homonyms And Homophones? (Words Are Categorical)

by Brian P. Cleary, Brian Gable (Illustrator)
Reading level: Ages 4-8 Library Binding: 32 pages Publisher: Millbrook Press (September 1, 2005)
ISBN: 1575058243 order.gif (1197 bytes) 94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)


Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal  Through rhyming wordplay, Cleary explains two parts of speech that are often difficult to understand. ... he tackles homonyms and homophones...Another fun and effective introduction to the world of grammar. Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Pitch and Throw.jpg (52154 bytes)Pitch And Throw, Grasp And Know: What Is A Synonym?
(Words Are Categorica
l)

by Brian P. Cleary, Brian Gable (Illustrator) Reading level: Ages 4-8
Library Binding: 32 pages Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (November 1, 2004)
ISBN: 1575057964 order.gif (1197 bytes) 94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal   With their comical cartoon characters and Seussian rhymes, Cleary and Gable have already claimed their niche for providing grammar instruction in a clear, lighthearted manner. Useful for introductory lessons on the topic, this book will help teachers to model better writing and to demonstrate the value of an expanded vocabulary. ... While students may still struggle to come up with more original word choices of their own, this excellent text goes a long way toward establishing the importance of synonyms.–Gloria Koster, West School, New Canaan, CT

From Booklist  ...With the slapstick art enlivening things ...this will be a fun read-aloud, and kids will certainly get the message that words are not boring. Hazel Rochman Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

Mrs. Riley Bought Five Itchy Aardvarks and Other Painless Tricks for Memorizing Science Facts (Adventures in Memory)

Reading level: Ages 9-12 Library Binding:
48 pages Publisher: Millbrook Press (October 2008)

ISBN-10: 0822578190 ISBN-13: 978-0822578192

With so many things to remember and so little time, what's a kid to do? Brian P. Cleary has come up with a whole book of tips for how to tackle tricky science facts. This book is bursting with mnemonic devices, poems, songs, and more. Need to keep track of the order of the planets? Mel can help. As in: Mel's Very Excited Ma Just Served Us Nachos. How about photosynthesis? Sing a song about it to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"! Brian also explains how kids can use the ideas in the book to create their very own memory tricks.  

 

1575055961.01pronoun.jpg (38617 bytes) I and You and Don't Forget Who: What Is a Pronoun

by Brian P. Cleary, Brian Gable (Illustrator) School & Library Binding: 32 pages Publisher: Carolrhoda Books; (February 2004)
ISBN: 1575055961 order.gif (1197 bytes)  94X32-W-LOGO.GIF (1338 bytes)

 

 

 

Presentations

I've visited schools in 40 states, and have appeared before more than 85,000 students.
I have also given teacher in-service presentations, typically about an hour.
My school visits typically take some form of the following, but can often be adjusted depending on your school's needs.
  • LARGE GROUP PRESENTATION 45 MINUTES FOR HALF THE SCHOOL
  • LARGE GROUP PRESENTATION 45 MINUTES FOR HALF THE SCHOOL
  • 30-MINUTE SMALLER GROUP (FEWER THAN 50 STUDENTS) - WORKSHOP
  • LUNCH WITH STAFF OR STUDENTS OR COMBINATION
  • 30-MINUTE SMALLER GROUP (FEWER THAN 50 STUDENTS) WORKSHOP
  • 30-MINUTE SMALLER GROUP (FEWER THAN 50 STUDENTS) WORKSHOP
  • Presentations are gatherings in large auditoriums or gymnasiums in which I do nearly
    all the talking. I'm standing up, the students are sitting down, and I walk students
    through what I read when I was their age, when I started writing, the importance of
    influences, and who mine were. They are typically about 45 minutes, and about half
    the information changes for the older and younger groups.

    Workshops are smaller, and are only 30 minutes in length. Ideally fewer than 50
    students. I have workshops for every grade except kindergartners (who, of course,
    attend the large group presentation). Some examples of workshops going from lower
    grades to higher grades: Making a paper noun quilt, the "verb train" game, the
    rhyming pairs of nouns contest, anagrams game, the word well, acrostics poetry,
    personification, sensory poem writing.

    In-services for teachers are also available. Here I usually share the lesson plans I've
    had the most luck with, and how I've gotten the best writing from students.

    Out of town (that is, out of the Cleveland area), it's $1250 for the day plus travel (air,
    hotel, meals). Within 60 miles of my home, it's $850 for the day

    Check out Brian's website for more information about setting up a school visit http://www.brianpcleary.com