Brock Cole celebrates his birthday on May 29th. He graduated as an English major from Kenyon College and received a PhD in philosophy from the University of Minnesota. After being a professor at the University of Wisconsin for a number of years, he decided he'd rather paint and write. His picture books such as Nothing But a Pig and No More Baths came first, a medium in which he could illustrate his own words. His young adult novels followed, and these have received critical acclaim: The Goats (1987), Celine (1989), and The Facts Speak for Themselves (1997).
Cole's adults usually have more failings than his young adults, in spite of the fact that adults know more from experience and probably should behave more appropriately. Instead, the adults in his books either back down or make bad choices when confronted with a problem.
Cole treats the problems and concerns of young adults with honesty, and he uses humor to keep situations realistic. For example, the two teens in The Goats have humorous insights in not only their present situation, but life in general. Life is never all bad, even though parts of it seem rather awful. If we can laugh at ourselves, than we can somehow get through the dreariest days. The two teens become the object of a practical joke at summer camp. They are marooned on a deserted island across the lake from camp, swim to shore and, instead of returning to camp, they decide to strike out on their own.