This Local Wunderkind is DreamWorks Animation’s Latest Star
By Len Sousa

Remember when you were a kid and adults would tell you to act your age and “grow up” whenever you did something slightly immature? Well, for 28-year-old Worcester native Jarrett J. Krosoczka (pronounced crow-ZAUS-ka), not growing up can be a good thing. Since 2001, he’s been the published author and illustrator of eight award-winning children’s books and is currently working with a major movie studio to turn one of those titles into an animated feature film.

“I would say that I’ve been writing in one way or another my entire life,” Krosoczka says, listing Dr. Seuss, Peanuts, and Calvin & Hobbes as inspirations. “As a kid, I just loved to draw and I loved to create drawings that were narrative and character driven. I started writing to give me something to draw, and it evolved into this great career.”

The great career he aptly describes is one that began with a publishing deal after a two-year span of rejections while the young author was still in college. “One day, just as I was about to call it quits, one of [my promotional] postcards landed on the desk of a Random House editor,” Krosoczka explains. “She invited me into New York the next week, and I walked out of the city with a book contract.”

While it might read like a fairy tale out of the author’s repertoire, Krosoczka has paid his dues; he attended and graduated from the intense illustration program at the Rhode Island School of Design and lived off of Worcester’s Coney Island hot dogs for a while. “I can down three hot dogs with two chocolate milks in about five minutes,” he says proudly. Though he now lives in Boston, he’s very much a hometown boy. “My entire family still lives in the Worcester area and a good amount of my friends still live here as well, so I’m always coming home.”

Hot dog habits aside, Hollywood did come knocking at Krosoczka’s door. The author admits that while he has refused film options in the past (“I just don’t see most of the books living on beyond the book”), he did recently sign a deal with DreamWorks Animation to produce a film version of his popular book Punk Farm ~ about a group of farm animals that form a rock band. The script is currently being written by Ice Age 2 screenwriter Jim Hecht and Krosoczka is involved as a part of the film’s development team. Rumors have the film set for a 2009 release though no firm date has been set.

In addition to big screen movie plans, Krosoczka is keeping busy by working on a script for a new graphic novel series titled Lunch Lady (“aimed at kids age 8-11, slightly older than my current books”) and finishing up paintings for a new book titled Punk Farm On Tour. He also hopes to write more Punk Farm titles in the near future and more of his popular picture books. “My ideas right now should take me through the beginning of the next decade,” he says.

But will Rock Hunter be spoiled by all this Hollywood wheeling and dealing, all this success? “No, I’ll be the same old Jarrett,” he assures. “I’ve worked so hard to get my work out there, and I’ll never forget where I came from.”