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Robert Bender was born on May 1, 1962 in the Bronx (New York), and moved to South Jersey at an early age.
He attended Syracuse University (class of '84) and graduated with a BFA in illustration.
In the fall of 1984 Robert moved to New York, where he did freelance illustration for many years. Clients included The New York Times, Psychology Today, Billboard Magazine, and many other periodicals as well as pharmaceutical and educational publishers.
Robert's first foray into children's books was A Little Witch Magic, published in the fall of 1992. It was critically well received, and was included in the Publishers Weekly article, "Flying Starts".
Since then Robert has written and/or illustrated the following books: The Three Billy Goats Gruff (Henry Holt, Fall 1993), The Preposterous Rhineceros (Holt 1994), A Most Unusual Lunch (Dial Books, Fall 1996), Toads and Diamonds (Lodestar Books, 1995), Barnyard Song (Simon and Schuster, Fall 1997), A to Z, Beastly Jamboree (Lodestar Books,1996), The Chizzywink and the Alamagoozlum (Holiday House, Spring 1998), Swine Divine (Holiday House, 1999), Lima Beans Would Be Illegal: Children's Ideas on a Perfect World (Dial Books, 2000), and Ribbit Riddles (Dial Books, 2001), Never Eat Anything That Moves: Good, Bad, and Very silly Advice from Kids (Dial, 2002), The Baobob Tree by John Archambsult (Childcraft, 2004), and The Christmas Witch (Holiday House, 2005).
A Little Witch Magic (1992), A Most Unusual Lunch (1994), and Barnyard Song (1997) were accepted into the Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators in New York City.
Artwork from The Three Billy Goats Gruff was acquired by the Zimmerli Museum in 1996. A solo exhibition of that work was exhibited in the spring of 1997.
Art from Barnyard Song is in the collection of the Mazza Museum in Ohio.
Barnyard Song was included in American Bookseller's "Pick of the List", and School Library Journal's "Best Books of 1997". It also received the 1998 Carolyn W. Field Honor from the Pennsylvania Library Association.
Barnyard Song is the winner of "Michigan Reads! One State, One Preschool 2004."