Randy Siegel

My Snake Blake (Roaring Brook, 2012)

Grandma's Smile (Roaring Brook, 2010)


Hi there. When I'm not working at my job at Advance Publications in New York or running errands or sleeping, I like to write. I started my writing career in 4th grade when my teacher Mrs. Hays told me she really liked a book report I wrote and encouraged me to keep on writing. I still remember her kind words and I've been writing ever since. Had a blast editing the high school newspaper and doing the same at college at Wesleyan. Wrote humor columns for USA TODAY for several years and other newspapers and magazines when editors actually liked what I had to say.

I began writing children's books a few years ago with the amazing Neal Porter at Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan). GRANDMA'S SMILE came out in 2010, got great reviews, and enjoyed a stint on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com's children's best-seller charts. MY SNAKE BLAKE arrived in June with hilarious illustrations from Serge Bloch -- and according to a starred review in Kirkus, "just might be the most spectacular pet of all time. Clever, laugh-out-loud fun."

In The New York Times, Paul Zelinsky gave MY SNAKE BLAKE a terrific review:

"Apart from its title, “My Snake Blake” isn’t creepy at all. Blake the snake is a little boy’s perfect friend right out of the birthday-present box. He calms the boy’s alarmed mother, spelling out reassuring cursive words with his body, and shows himself to be of invaluable service: Blake knows all the boy’s homework answers; helps with batting practice; and even walks the dog, serving as both ­walker and leash. It’s a very boy-centric story; snake-loving girls — seeing the contrast between reluctant mother and eager father, son and male snake — might wish for a snake book of their own."

The Wall Street Journal had this to say about MY SNAKE BLAKE:

"Blake turns out to be a dream pet; in other words, he does everything that a small boy might dream a pet could do. The snake is able to turn himself into cursive writing—that's how we know his name—as well as play baseball, scare bullies, eat yucky vegetables that the boy drops (on purpose) under the dinner table and answer tough homework questions, such as: "Which British poet wrote Songs of Innocence and Experience?" Serge Bloch's marvelously economical drawings sustain a feeling of high good humor throughout this appropriately long-and-narrow picture book for 3- to 8-year-olds."

And the Chicago Tribune:

"Blake is the forbidden fruit of pet paradise, the one your parents would never let you get. Blake helps with homework and with unwanted Brussels sprouts, and offers trivia facts about, who else, "Kenny 'The Snake' Stabler." A dream come true."

Earlier this year, I published my first adult book as the ghostwriter for the one and only Burt King, America's most famous political consultant. I AM BURT KING: THE KING OF WASHINGTON, which was named a Parade Pick by Parade, is now available in print and as a Kindle edition on Amazon.

(Truth be told, Burt King is a fictional character, which makes I AM BURT KING a work of fiction. A fun, satiric look at Washington to be specific. And definitely not for kids!)

According to George Stephanopoulos, chief political correspondent for ABC News, co-anchor of ABC News' Good Morning America and host of ABC's Sunday morning This Week, "Burt King embodies everything you always wanted to know about Washington but were afraid to ask. He'll make you laugh - and cry!"

These days, I'm writing a young adult novel which revolves around an issue near and dear to my heart. More soon!

Selected Works

On a snowy day in the city, a boy gets an important phone call from his grandmother: she’s lost her smile. There’s only one thing to do: fly down south on an urgent mission, stuffed bunny in tow, to find that smile and return it to its rightful place. But he won’t have to look very hard. . .
STARRED REVIEW FROM KIRKUS (May, 2012): Blake the snake just might be the most spectacular pet of all time. Clever, laugh-out-loud fun. (Picture book. 3-8) PRAISE FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (April, 2012): In a loving salute to the unconventional pet heroes of an earlier era (think Lyle the crocodile or Crictor the boa constrictor), Siegel (Grandma’s Smile) and Bloch (The Enemy) tell the story of a “super-long, bright green snake” who wows the young narrator by helping him with his homework, eating rejected Brussels sprouts, and fighting bullies. “He’s a perfectly polite, delightful snake,” the boy says. Bloch’s cartoons, with their loopy lines, sparing use of green and red, and exaggerated facial expressions, show Blake engaged in a series of charmingly unsnakelike activities: he cooks, finds lost keys, and enjoys cuddling on park benches. The narrator’s saucy voice and a couple of adult-aimed jokes make rereadings a treat; parents may find themselves arguing about a trip to the pet store.
Adult Fiction, Political Satire
Burt King is, by his own admission, the most famous political consultant in American history. He has been a senior adviser to U.S. presidents, members of Congress, governors, foreign dictators and ruthless multinational corporations. This is his unauthorized autobiography, featuring an exclusive, insider's account of his life -- and the earth-shattering week that changed Washington and the United States forever.

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