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Brian Doyle (1935-) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

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Born 1935, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; Education: Carleton College, B.A., 1957; graduate study at Ottawa University.

Career

Author, playwright, scriptwriter, educator. Worked variously as a journalist, waiter, taxi driver, driving instructor, office worker, bricklayer, and jazz singer. Teacher at Glebe Collegiate Institute (high school) and Ottawa Technical High School, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; head of English department at Glebe Collegiate; served on Ottawa Board of Education; member of faculty, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. Military service: Canadian Naval Reserve, 1955-56.

Member

James Joyce Society of Ottawa (chairman).

Honors Awards

Book of the Year Award, Canadian Library Association (CLA), 1983, for Up to Low, and 1989, for Easy Avenue; three-time runner-up, Governor General's Literary Award, Canada Council; Mr. Christie's Book Award, Canadian Children's Book Centre/Communications Jeunesse, 1990, for Covered Bridge; Vicky Metcalf Award, Canadian Authors Association, 1991, for body of work; CLA Book of the Year Award, and Mr. Christie's Book Award, both 1997, both for Uncle Ronald; Hans Christian Andersen Author Award shortlist, International Board on Books for Young People, 1998; National Chapter Award, Leishman Prize, Geoffrey Bilson Award nomination, Rugh Schwartz Award nomination, Governor General's Literary Award nomination, and Mr. Christie's Book Award Silver Seal, all 2001, all for Mary Ann Alice.

Writings

Hey, Dad!, Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1978.

You Can Pick Me up at Peggy's Cove, Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1978.

Up to Low (also see below), Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1982.

Angel Square (also see below), Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1984, Bradbury Press (New York, NY), 1986.

Easy Avenue (also see below), Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988.

Covered Bridge (also see below), Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.

Spud Sweetgrass, Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1992.

Spud in Winter, Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995.

Uncle Ronald (also see below), Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1996.

The Low Life: Five Great Tales from up and down the River (includes Uncle Ronald, Angel Square, Easy Avenue, Covered Bridge, and Up to Low), Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1999, Douglas & McIntyre (Berkeley, CA), 2002.

Mary Ann Alice, Groundwood Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001, Douglas & McIntyre (Berkeley, CA), 2002.

Boy O'Boy, Douglas & McIntyre (Berkeley, CA), 2003.

Author of plays for children. Contributor of articles and short stories to newspapers and magazines, including the Toronto Globe and Mail and Fiddlehead. Doyle's works have been translated into French and published in Braille editions.

Author's works have been translated into German, French, Italian, and Scandinavian.

Adaptations

You Can Pick Me up at Peggy's Cove was made into a film directed by Don McBrearty and into a video released by Beacon Films, Inc., in 1982. CNIB released sound recordings of You Can Pick Me up at Peggy's Cove in 1984, Angel Square in 1985, Easy Avenue in 1994, and Covered Bridge in 1995; Easy Avenue was also released as a sound recording by the Library Services Branch, Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1994. Meet the Author: Brian Doyle was released as a short film in 1987. Angel Square was made into a film directed by Ann Wheeler and released by the National Film Board of Canada, Edmonton, Alberta, 1990.

Sidelights

Among Canada's most distinguished authors of middle-grade and young-adult novels, Brian Doyle is acclaimed as an exceptional storyteller as well as a talented writer whose works reflect both insight and sensitivity in depicting the moral dilemmas of young people. Doyle's books, which take place in both historical and contemporary periods, often draw on Doyle's own experiences while growing up in near Ottawa, Canada. His works are unique within Canadian literature due to his focus on the inner lives of his characters and themes such as the relationships between parents and children, the power of love, the acceptance of death and loss, and the need for tolerance. Doyle's novels, which include Uncle Ronald, Mary Ann Alice, Covered Bridge, and You Can Pick Me up at Peggy's Cove, depict teens coming of age as they confront personal strife and social injustice, drawing on their inner strength to come to terms with the chaos around them. Considered somewhat sophisticated, his prose has been compared to that of authors such as Charles Dickens, J. D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, and Judy Blume. Noting the author's "delicious way with metaphors," Quill and Quire contributor Sandra Martin also praised his ability to pen "lean nostalgic tales in spare elegant prose."

Although his works contain death—including murder and suicide—as well as child and spousal abuse, drunkenness, and violent racial strife, Doyle's sense of humor is considered one of his most appealing features. He favors fast-moving plots and an intimate narrative style that is considered both spare and elegant; his works—which reflect the author's love of wordplay and the tall tale as well as his frequent use of the three-word paragraph—also include puns, songs, colloquialisms, headlines, jingles, and recipes. Writing in Books for Young People, Eva Martin called Doyle "one of the most daring and experimental writers of young-adult novels. He deals with the most sensitive of issues—race, violence, anti-social activity of all sorts—with a tongue-in-cheek humor that never denigrates the human spirit." Writing in Magpies, Agnes Nieuwenhuizen concluded, "Perhaps Doyle's most extraordinary feat is that there is never a sense of design or message or moralising. What shines through his work is a breath of vision and tolerance and a quirky exuberance and curiosity even in the face of adversity and resistance." Many of Doyle's most popular early novels are collected in the 1999 anthology The Low Life.

Born in Ottawa, Doyle grew up in two "homes": his family's home in the ethnically diverse section of Ottawa where he spent the school year and a log cabin on the Gatineau River near Low, Quebec, about forty miles north of town, where he spent his summers. Doyle's memories of his parents, siblings, and neighbors as well as the landscape and atmosphere he encountered as a child greatly influenced his writing, as did his experiences raising his own two children. As Nieuwenhuizen described it in Magpies, "Family is at the centre of Doyle's life and work." For his part, the author credits his father, Hulbert Doyle, and his paternal grandfather for nurturing his instincts as a storyteller. As Doyle once told Something about the Author (SATA), "I loved sitting around listening to my father and my grandfather. Both of them were wonderful storytellers, and they didn't tell stories so much as they just talked." Doyle recalled that his grandfather was "constantly reciting verse—songs and poems, ballads mostly—about this adventure and that adventure. My father wasn't a literary person, although he was the best raconteur I ever met. If in my work there is a kind of sound, that's where it comes from, rhythms inherited from sitting around listening to my father's family exchanging their world vision." Doyle's mother, Charlotte Duff Doyle, also influenced her son's development as a writer; she was "a literary person. She was not a verbal person at all. However, she wrote well and wrote privately. She was very private, but she'd show her poetry to me." Doyle's mother wrote the poem "Sea Savour," which begins the author's second novel You Can Pick Me up at Peggy's Cove.

Despite fond memories of his family's storytelling tradition, Doyle grew up in a difficult home environment: his father was cruel when he drank and his mother, who cared for Doyle's mentally disabled older sister, Pamela, as well as for the rest of the family, was often overwhelmed. When he was in the eighth grade, Pamela, who had Down's syndrome, passed away; Doyle's memories of Pamela and the toll her caretaking took on his mother, has led him to include several characters with disabilities in his books. Although Doyle did not shine as a student until he reached college, he enjoyed reading comic books and childhood classics such as Heidi and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. When he was about ten years old, Doyle decided that he wanted to be a writer. "The first writing I did was in the snow," he recalled to SATA. "I wrote 'Gerald is a bastard,'" referring to a boyhood friend. When Hulbert Doyle discovered what his son had written, he took the boy inside the house, and, the author remembered, "put a piece of paper down on the table and gave me a pencil. Then he said, 'Say some more, but don't write it in the snow because he'll see it.'"

In high school at Ottawa's Glebe Collegiate Institute, Doyle began submitting short stories to magazines, some of which came back with personal rejection letters. However, writing only occupied a small part of his teen years. Doyle played football, won medals in gymnastics, and published poetry in the yearbook; he also fought, stole, and skipped school. As the author recalled in an essay for Something about the Author Autobiography Series (SAAS), "Once, on a Christmas exam in geometry, I got three out of a hundred. Three percent. Then something very peculiar happens. On the Easter exam, I got 99 out of a hundred! How can that be? It's as though I just suddenly woke up! The teacher is convinced I cheated." Later, he was nominated for head In a town near the Gatineau River in 1926, Mary Ann Alice tries to solve a mystery while her precious home is threatened by the construction of a dam in Doyle's novel. (Cover photo by Tim Fuller.) boy, but had his name taken off the list by the vice principal, who, the author recalled, called Doyle "a show-off. And … a bum. And I'll never amount to anything. And my shirt is always hanging out of my pants. When he says this I realize I've been a pain for six years. But what he says about 'never amounting to anything.' That hurts."

After graduating from Glebe Collegiate, Doyle attended Carleton College in Ottawa, where he majored in journalism and met Jackie Aronson, the woman he would later marry. He read novels, plays, and poetry by prominent Canadian writers as well as by such authors as Homer, William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, J. D. Salinger, and Dylan Thomas while working dozens of jobs to pay for college. Just before graduation, he won a prize for an essay he wrote on the Gatineau River Valley; right after graduation, he became a reporter for the Toronto Telegram. He soon left journalism to teach high school in Ottawa; he also completed the course work for a master's degree in literature at Ottawa University, but left before writing his thesis.

While working as a teacher, Doyle continued his writing, working as a columnist for a local newspaper and publishing a short story in the literary magazine Fiddlehead. After he and his wife adopted two children, Megan and Ryan, and became involved in local theater, his writing took a new turn when he began writing well-received plays for his students. Doyle also became somewhat of a celebrity when one of his articles on the ineffectuality of teacher training was quoted in the Toronto Globe and Mail. Offered a position at his alma mater, Glebe Collegiate, Doyle became head of that school's English department and continued to write well-received student plays, including ten musicals and a satirical parody of Shakespeare's Hamlet before retiring from teaching in 1991.

Doyle published his first book for young readers, Hey, Dad!, in 1978. A story for middle graders that he wrote for his daughter Megan, Hey, Dad! uses the journey motif—both literal and symbolic—to represent the growing maturity of its young protagonist. In an interview with Nieuwenhuizen for Magpies, Doyle explained that his original intention was to "write a very personal tale about and to my ten-year-old daughter. She was not reading very much and I was hunting around for reading material but didn't much like what was around.… We had gone on a family trip across Canada and had both kept journals, so I strung together an episodic chronicle about our trip. I made it funny, but included stuff she had been grappling with. Stuff about time and mortality."

In Hey, Dad!, thirteen-year-old Megan grows beyond her childhood self-absorption and begins to question the connection between love and death during a family trip. Writing in In Review, Irma McDonough described the book as "a new author with a new approach to realistic writing for young people. Doyle has written a junior novel we have been waiting for—one that is not a trend book or a social documentary; rather, a novel that will reinforce young people's tender feelings and gently encourage them to find their own answers to the age-old questions." Doyle followed Hey, Dad! with You Can Pick Me up at Peggy's Cove, another story for middle graders that he wrote for his son Ryan. In this novel the young narrator—also named Ryan—is sent to stay in the Nova Scotia fishing town of Peggy's Cove, a popular tourist attraction, after his father deserts the family during a mid-life crisis. Thinking that his dad will return if he gets into trouble, Ryan starts stealing from tourists; however, his friendship with fisherman Eddie and Eddie's mute partner Wingding leads Ryan to self-knowledge and, eventually, to heroism. Writing in In Review, Mickie McClear commented that Doyle "has that rare gift of insight which enables him to breathe life into his portrayals of adolescents," while Jon C. Stott concluded in a World of Children's Books review that You Can Pick Me up at Peggy's Cove is a "sensitive and compelling story which will continue to find readers for many years to come."

Set in the town of Martindale, near Quebec's Gatineau River, during the Canadian government's 1926 Paugam dam project, Mary Ann Alice finds seventh-grader Mary Ann Alice McCrank watching as her community and its surrounding landscape are transformed by a huge man-made lake that leaves much of the area under water. As narrator, Mary Ann, a young poetess, describes the drowning of the landscape in what Horn Book contributor Martha V. Parravano called a "conversational, idiosyncratic voice"; as work on the dam changes the lives of those around her Mary Ann also learns compassion, and gains understanding about even the frustrating people in her life. Calling Mary Ann a "bluntly spoken" character, School Library Journal reviewer Robyn Ryan Vandenbroek praised Doyle's novel for containing a "fast-paced plot that comes alive with memorable characters." In Resource Links Joan Marshall wrote that Doyle's "wry, observant wit shines in every corner of this marvelous story," and added that, with her "cheeky, irreverent attitude," the central character of Mary Ann Alice "is like the town historian who sees all the connections." Mary Ann Alice, like many of Doyle's novels, relies on a young, relatively immature narrator for many of its insights. As the novelist once explained to SATA: "As a child, I recall sitting around listening to the adults in my life talking away. They never left me out, and they didn't explain or anything either. I think that's how I would like to treat kids that are around me, put it out there, let them figure it out." "Kids at ten know a lot," he observed. "They're very wise, although they're not slippery, not good enough liars yet. A ten-year-old boy or girl is as smart as she'll ever get or he'll ever get. So it's with that kind of belief I'm comfortable making the ten-year-old's insights as deep as I want."

Boy O'Boy reflects Doyle's interest in creating realistic young protagonists, as well as the author's willingness Doyle's protagonist young Martin O'Boy struggles with tensions at home and unwelcome sexual advances from the church organist in the course of an Ottawa summer during World War II. (Cover photo by Tim Fuller.) to tackle difficult subjects. The novel focuses on Martin O'Boy, who lives with his mother, alcoholic father, and mentally ill twin brother in Ottawa. With his favorite grandmother recently passed away and World War II having taken its toll on both his family and his community, Martin finds that his job singing in the church choir is one of his few pleasures. Tragically, the choir's director, Mr. George, preys on the boy's youth and innocence, until Martin and friend Billy, a fellow victim of Mr. George's sexual abuse, find a way to gain their revenge. Noting that Doyle creates a world that is "believably real," School Library Journal reviewer Coop Renner added that the "naive voice" of the book's observant youthful narrator "mirrors the limited understanding of the book's prospective reader." Booklist reviewer Todd Morning added that the narration, in present tense, incorporates "a precise, highly observant voice that always seems genuine," and the novel's "lively colloquial dialogue and period details create a rich historical portrait." Praising the optimism underlying Doyle's depiction of the young protagonist wresting with moral questions, a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that, regardless of Martin's "relentlessly bleak circumstances, he manages to keep some hope alive."

With Up to Low Doyle produced his first young-adult novel. Set in Quebec's Gatineau Hills and based on the author's boyhood experiences at his family's cabin, Up to Low takes place during the early 1950s and features teenage narrator Young Tommy, a boy who has recently lost his mother. Tommy travels to the town of Low with his father and his father's alcoholic friend Frank. On the way, the group stops at many taverns, where the men tell Tommy about Mean Hughie, the meanest man in Gatineau, who has vanished into the wilderness to die of cancer. When the companions reach Low, a town filled with comic residents, Tommy is awestruck by the beauty of Mean Hughie's eighteen-year-old daughter Baby Bridget, a girl with striking green eyes whose arm was cut off accidentally by a binding machine. Bridget and Tommy embark on a journey to find Mean Hughie, and the strength of their growing love for each other provides spiritual healing for both teens. Writing in Quill and Quire, Joan McGrath noted that Up to Low "is something special among books for young adults," while Mary Ainslie Smith in Books in Canada praised the book as "Doyle's best novel yet." In Angel Square Doyle again features Tommy as narrator, but this time the setting is the multicultural Lowertown area of urban Ottawa. On his way home from school, Tommy crosses Angel Square, a place where fights between French Canadian, Irish Catholic, and Jewish kids take place daily. When anti-Semitism results in the critical injury of the father of Tommy's best friend, Sammy Rosenberg, Tommy fights back and finds the culprit by working with a network of his Jewish, Irish, and French-Canadian friends. As Nieuwenhuizen noted, the children "get together to deal with an adult situation." Writing in Quill and Quire, Paul Kropp called Angel Square "a real triumph of young adult writing," while a reviewer for the Children's Book News concluded: "Through Tommy's eyes we see the absurdity of racism and the hope that at least one child will understand our differences. This is Brian Doyle's best and guarantees an enjoyable yet sobering read for all." Explaining to SATA that Angel Square is "very close to what my youth was," Doyle added that the novel "was hard to relax with, because it touched on some pain." In this book he includes a portrait of his retarded sister Pamela, who shares her name with the character in the novel. "There's a little bit of her in each book," he admitted.

In Uncle Ronald, Doyle features a character first introduced in Up to Low: "Crazy Mickey," Tommy's hundred-year-old great-grandfather. Now one hundred and twelve, Mickey narrates the events of the winter he was twelve years old. The son of a drunken and abusive father, Mickey is smuggled by his mother onto a train that takes the boy from Ottawa into the Gatineau Hills, where he is to stay with his Uncle Ronald and his middle-aged aunts, the O'Malley girls. Mickey's relatives prove to be warm and welcoming, and he bonds In Doyle's novel, peppered with historical events from turn-of-the-century Ottawa, Mickey goes to stay with his Uncle Ronald, kind and gentle and just the person Mickey needs to heal the psychological wounds left by his abusive father. (Cover illustration by Ludmilla Temertey.) with his uncle's horse, Second-Chance Lance. Fascinated by the stories about the exploits of the locals, Mickey joins in their attempt to outsmart the government bailiffs trying to collect back taxes. Underpinning the story is Mickey's fear that his father will try to come and collect him and his newly arrived mother; when he does, the man meets a violent end when he falls under the wheels of a train while trying to steal Second-Chance Lance. Writing in Horn Book, Martha V. Parravano called Uncle Ronald a "not-to-be-missed read—for the evocation of setting, for the genuine feel of the lively local stories, and for the sheer joy of Doyle's prose." "This book is mainly remarkable for the warmth and compassion," observed Mary-Ann Stouck, adding in her Canadian Children's Literature review that Uncle Ronald "never descend[s] … into sentimentality." Easy Avenue, a novel for young adults, introduces narrator Hubbo O'Driscoll, an impoverished orphan who is left in the care of a very old, very kind distant relative known only as Mrs. Driscoll. Hubbo becomes involved with Fleurette Featherstone Fitchell, a fellow resident of the Uplands Emergency Shelter and the daughter of a Lowertown prostitute. When he enters Glebe Collegiate Institute—the high school Doyle attended and where he later taught—Hubbo becomes caught between the people from the shelter and the elite Glebe students. When he gets a job as the companion to a wealthy elderly woman and begins to receive money from a mysterious benefactor, Hubbo fabricates an identity that is acceptable to the snobbish members of an exclusive club he wishes to join, but eventually recognizes where his true loyalties are. Easy Avenue was praised as "a delightful mix of comedy, irony, and sentiment" by a Maclean's contributor, while in Canadian Children's Literature, Lionel Adey dubbed the novel a "sometimes grim, sometimes amusing, but never unwholesome tale."

Set in 1950 and inspired by the author's memories of his first real job, Covered Bridge is the second of Doyle's stories about Hubbo. Having moved to a farm in the small Quebec community of Mushrat Creek, Hubbo becomes the part-time caretaker of a wooden covered bridge that has become a memorial to the tragic romance of two lovers, Ophelia and Oscar. Ophelia, who suffered from a brain tumor, jumped from the bridge to her death; her suicide caused the local priest to ban her from being buried in consecrated ground. When the bridge is slated for demolition in the name of progress, Hubbo works to preserve it, and in the process helps to correct the moral injustice done Ophelia, whose ghost he has seen. Nieuwenhuizen called Covered Bridge a "hauntingly beautiful tribute to conserving and respecting old things."

Doyle's two books about John "Spud" Sweetgrass, a half-Irish, half-Ojibway teen who is nicknamed for his ability to cook the perfect French fry, are considered somewhat of a departure from his earlier works. Comic mysteries for young adults written in a staccato style, Spud Sweetgrass and Spud in Winter involve a young protagonist who is trying to come to terms with his father's death, with his boss's shady business dealings, and with a gang-style slaying he has witnessed. In the first book, Spud and his friends Connie Pan and Dink the Thinker attempt to discover who is dumping grease from Spud's french-fry stand into the Ottawa River. A critic in Kirkus Reviews commented that, "Replete with laughs, tears, and twists, plus a young hero to admire and a cardboard villain to hate, "Spud Sweetgrass "will slide down effortlessly, like all proper snacks." Connie Tyrrell Burns noted in her School Library Journal review that the author "paints a vivid, touching portrait of one boy's coming-of-age.… Doyle captures perfectly adolescent thoughts and feelings, and writes of them with humor and tenderness." In Spud in Winter, Spud draws on his Native Canadian heritage to find the courage to identify a mafiosi killer. Writing in Quill and Quire, Mary Beaty called the "Spud Sweetgrass" books "divertimenti: enjoyable, but not as memorable as Doyle's other works," but also found Spud in Winter as "a definite match for the first Spud book." In her review of both volumes for the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Deborah Stevenson noted: "What really makes these books sparkle is Doyle's writing.… These will offer readers some literary northern light." Writing in Canadian Children's Literature, Jim Gellert acknowledged that the "Spud" books blend "humour and a recognizable Canadian setting to provide a convincing, realistic context in which Doyle probes contemporary social themes and issues."

Doyle explained to SATA that "There is a perception that young people are worried about menstruation, divorce, masturbation, hitchhiking—subjects that just carloads of kids' books are written about. These are not the concerns of young people at all as far as I'm concerned. They are the concerns of adults who have young people. Kids' concerns are classical concerns: Am I brave? Am I a hero? Am I honest? Do I love this person? Am I afraid? Am I admired? Am I weak? Am I strong? These are their concerns, and that's what I write about."

As he approaches high school in Canada during the years just following World War II, Hubbo O'Driscoll falls in love with a girl from another social class. (Cover illustration by Ludmilla Temertey.)

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Children's Books and Their Creators, edited by Anita Silvey, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1995, p. 210.

Children's Literature Review, Volume 22, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1991, pp. 27-34.

Something about the Author Autobiography Series, Volume 16, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1993, pp. 127-141.

Twentieth-Century Young-Adult Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994, pp. 189-191.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 1996, pp. 1696-1697; April 1, 2004, Todd Morning, review of Boy O'Boy, p. 1360.

Books for Young People, October, 1988, Eva Martin, "'Easy Avenue' Is Vintage Doyle," pp. 12, 18.

Books in Canada, February, 1983, Mary Ainslie Smith, review of Up to Low, pp. 32-33.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 1996, Deborah Stevenson, review of Spud Sweetgrass and Spud in Winter, p. 67; February, 1997, p. 203.

Canadian Children's Literature, number 54, 1989, Lionel Adey, "Doyle for the Early Teens," pp. 71-72; number 64, 1991, pp. 90-91; winter, 1995, Jim Gellert, "Spud Does Ottawa—Again," p. 80; summer, 1998, Mary-Ann Stouck, review of Uncle Ronald, pp. 67-68.

Canadian Materials, March, 1991, p. 88.

Children's Book News (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), December, 1984, review of Angel Square, p. 3.

Horn Book, May-June, 1997, Martha V. Parravano, review of Uncle Ronald, p. 318; May-June, 2002, Martha V. Parravano, review of Mary Ann Alice, p. 327.

In Review, autumn, 1978, Irma McDonough, review of Hey, Dad!, p. 57; August, 1980, Mickie McClear, review of You Can Pick Me up at Peggy's Cove, p. 45.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 1996, review of Spud Sweet-grass, p. 372.

Maclean's, December 26, 1988, "Tidings of Fun," p. N6.

Magpies, November, 1994, Agnes Nieuwenhuizen, "Looking Deeply but Not Far" (interview), pp. 11-13.

Publishers Weekly, April 5, 2004, review of Boy O'Boy, p.63.

Quill and Quire, November, 1982, Joan McGrath, "A Clutch of Juvenile Novels with No-Nonsense Plots," p. 26; December, 1982, Ann Vanderhoof, "Prankster, Teacher, Writer: Brian Doyle Is up to Good," p. 27; November, 1984, Paul Kropp, "Growing up Is Hard to Do: Leaving the Boy Behind," p. 18; October, 1990, Sandra Martin, review of Covered Bridge, p. 13; March, 1995, Mary Beaty, review of Spud in Winter, p. 75; October, 1996, Maureen Garvie, review of Uncle Ronald, p. 49.

Resource Links, February, 2002, Joan Marshall, review of Mary Ann Alice, p. 24.

School Library Journal, September, 1996, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of Spud Sweetgrass, p. 224; June, 2002, Robyn Ryan Vandenbroek, review of Mary Ann Alice, p. 137; February, 2004, Coop Renner, review of Boy O'Boy, p. 146.

World of Children's Books, Volume VI, 1981, Jon C. Stott, review of You Can Pick Me up at Peggy's Cove, pp. 27-33.

ONLINE

Groundwood Books Web site, http://www.groundwoodbooks.com/ (December 2, 2004), "Brian Doyle."*

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over 1 year ago

Brian Doyle was my English teacher at Glebe Collegiate in the 60s. He made every class so very interesting and exciting. He would never wear his tie and always sat on his desk to talk to the class, making us feel like we really counted.

He made such an impact on me and I will never forget his teaching or his kindness. He was one of the best!!!

My youngest son actually got to meet him in elementary school when he was a guest author and he still has the book Brian gave him over 30 yrs ago.