Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Carlos Watson Biography - Was a Student Journalist to Stefan Zweig (1881–1942) Biography » Sarah Weeks Biography - Writings, Sidelights - Personal, Addresses, Career, Adaptations, Work in Progress

Sarah Weeks - Sidelights

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After working as a singer and songwriter in New York, Sarah Weeks branched into a new career in the early 1990s when she wrote her first book for children. In addition to picture books, Weeks has created illustrated songbooks, such as Crocodile Smile, Follow the Moon, and Without You, which include recordings of her performances. Her middle-grade novels, such as the "Guy' series, are popular with pre-teen readers, while picture books such as Two Eggs, Please and If I Were a Lion feature rhyming texts that have been lauded by critics for their energetic, rhythmic appeal. Praising the "inventive" If I Were a Lion, a Kirkus Reviews, contributor noted that the book has "tremendous read-aloud possibilities."

Mrs. McNosh Hangs up Her Wash introduces the quirky heroine of several picture books by Weeks, all featuring what Booklist reviewer Shelley Townsend-Hudson dubbed "delightful" cartoon illustrations by Nadine Bernard Westcott. My Somebody Special, an "ultimately reassuring tale" that focuses on young children's worries over attending nursery school according to Booklist contributor Julie Cummins, follows an animal cast as each creature waits for the arrival of their "somebody special" at the end of the school day.

In Angel Face a young boy wanders off while picking blackberries with his mother, who sends Old Crow out in search of her "angel-faced" son; the crow has a different perspective on humankind, however, and becomes perplexed when he finds only a ordinary-looking child asleep in the woods. In Kirkus Reviews a contributor praised Angel Face as "a tribute to the unique beauty of every child," while in Booklist Ilene Cooper noted that the "evocative text and storybook images [by illustrator David Diaz] touch the heart." Commenting on Weeks's recording of the book's lyrical text, a Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that the author "sings the verses in a clear, appealing voice of impressive range."

Weeks introduces eleven-year-old Guy Strang in Regular Guy. Suffering the classic teen frustration of uncooperative and totally-not-with-it, hippy-era parents, Guy becomes convinced that he is actually adopted. When a nerdy schoolmate is discovered to have been born on the same day and in the same hospital, Guy decides to check these alternate parents out. The story's "lessons in understanding emerge lightly" according to a Horn Book contributor, while a Publishers Weekly noted that "the climactic showdown is a virtual chain reaction of buffoonery."

Guy becomes even more frustrated in Guy Time, when his parents separate, his dad moves out of state, and he is left with a mom who has started dating again. With the help of best friend and co-conspirator Buzz, he begins a letter-writing campaign that, while not causing his parents to reunite, at least brings his father closer. Meanwhile, Guy begins to have romance problems of his own in a novel that School Library Journal reviewer Terrie Dorio wrote "captures the intense feeling" of a young teen "trying to deal with the process of growing up." In Publishers Weekly a reviewer called Guy Time "simultaneously funny and poignant," while Booklist contributor Chris Sherman praised Weeks's novel as "a satisfying, funny story."

Guy's adventures continue in My Guy, in which Guy's mom becomes engaged to the totally unacceptable professional-clown father of the meanest girl in Guy's school, and Guy Wire, wherein Buzz's bicycling accident puts him in the hospital and causes fourteen-year-old Guy to learn about the true value of friendship. Reviewing Guy Wire in Booklist, Francisca Goldsmith commended Weeks for her ability to balance a "realistic and cheerful" text with a story line that "will give thoughtful readers much to ponder."

Weeks's young-adult novel So B. It finds twelve-year-old Heidi living with her mentally disabled mother in a tiny apartment, where the pair are watched over by housebound and caring neighbor Bernadette. When Heidi begins to question how circumstances brought her and her mother to this point, she finds some old photographs that prompt her to leave home in search of information about her family. Her journey takes her from her home in Nevada all the way to Liberty, New York, where she "relies on her luck, instinct, and the people she meets on the way," according to School Library Journal reviewer Martha B. Salvadore. In Horn Book Kitty Flynn called So B. It a "well-told story tinged with loss," while Debbie Carton praised Weeks's prose in Booklist as "lovely writing—real, touching, and pared cleanly down to the essentials."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 1994, Carolyn Phelan, review of Crocodile Smile, p. 675; April 15, 1998, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of Mrs. Nosh Hangs up Her Wash, p. 1455; March 15, 1999, Carolyn Phelan, review of Splish, Splash!, p. 1339; January 1, 2000, Michael Cart, review of Happy Birthday, Frankie, p. 938; July, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of Drip, Drop, p. 2046; August, 2000, Chris Sherman, review of Guy Time, p. 2142; October 1, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of Mrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash, p. 350; August, 2001, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of My Guy, p. 2123; February 1, 2002, Ilene Cooper, review of Angel Face, p. 946 May 1, 2002, Shelly Townsend-Warner, review of Oh My Gosh, Mrs. McNosh!, p. 1537; August, 2002, Francisca Goldsmith, review of Guy Wire, p. 1965, and Julie Cummins, review of My Somebody Special, p. 1977; March 15, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of If I Were a Lion, p. 1311; June 1, 2004, Debbie Carton, review of So B. It, p. 1731; August, 2004, Hazel Rochman, review of Baa-Choo!, p. 1946.

Horn Book, May, 1999, review of Regular Guy, p. 340; May, 2000, review of Guy Time, p. 323; July, 2001, review of My Guy, p. 462; July-August, 2004, Lolly Robinson, review of Paper Parade, p. 443, and Kitty Flynn, review of So B. It, p. 462.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2002, review of Angel Face, p. 347; April 1, 2002, review of My Somebody Special and Oh, My Gosh, Mrs. McNosh!, p. 501; September 15, 2003, review of Without You, p. 1184; February 1, 2004, review of If I Were a Lion, p. 139; February 9, 2004, review of If I Were a Lion, p. 79; April 15, 2004, review of Paper Parade, p. 402; May 15, 2004, review of So B. It, p. 499.

Kliatt, May, 2004, Claire Rosser, review of So B. It, p. 15.

Publishers Weekly, August 15, 1994, review of Crocodile Smile, p. 27; June 19, 1995, review of Follow the Moon, p. 26; July 24, 1995, review of Red Ribbon, p. 64; November 23, 1998, review of Little Factory, p. 65; June 21, 1999, review of Regular Guy, p. 68; August 2, 1999, review of Happy Birthday Frankie, p. 82; December 20, 1999, interview with Weeks, p. 23; June 19, 2000, review of Guy Time, p. 80; February 11, 2002, review of Angel Face, p. 185; April 15, 2002, review of My Somebody Special, p. 62; November 17, 2003, review of Without You, p. 62; May 3, 2004, review of So B. It, p. 190.

School Library Journal, June, 2000, Terrie Dorio, review of Guy Time, p. 155; September, 2000, Martha Topol, review of Drip, Drop, p. 211; December, 2000, Adele Greenlee, review of Mrs. McNosh and the Great Big Squash, p. 127; May, 2001, Linda Binder, review of My Guy, p. 160; May, 2002, Lisa Dennis, review of My Somebody Special, p. 130; June, 2002, Faith Brautigam, review of Oh My Gosh, Mrs. McNosh!, p. 114; September, 2002, Be Astengo, review of Guy Wire, p. 236; October, 2003, Lauralyn Persson, review of Without You, p. 141; April, 2004, Laurie Edwards, review of If I Were a Lion, p. 126; June, 2004, Roxanne Burg, review of Paper Parade, and Donna Marie Wagner, review of Two Eggs, Please, p. 121; July, 2004, Maria B. Salvadore, review of So B. It, p. 114.

ONLINE

HarperChildrens Web site, http://www.harperchildrens.com/ (March 7, 2005), "Sarah Weeks."

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