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Lauren Child (1965-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1965, in Berkshire, England; father an artist and art teacher, mother an infant and primary teacher. Education: Attended Manchester Polytechnic, 1985-86; studied decorative arts with City and Guilds London, 1987-88.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Candlewick Press, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140.

Career

Writer and illustrator. Founder of Chandeliers for the People (lampshade designers); also works for creative agency Big Fish; designer of window displays and china dinnerware. Formerly worked as a waitress and painter.

Honors Awards

Bronze Award, Smarties Book Prize, 1999, for Clarice Bean, That's Me!; Kate Greenaway Medal.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN; SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Clarice Bean, That's Me!, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.

I Want a Pet!, Tricycle Press (Berkeley, CA), 1999.

I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000, published as I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, Orchard Books (London, England), 2000.

My Uncle Is a Hunkle, Says Clarice Bean, Orchard Books (London, England), 2000.

Beware of the Storybook Wolves, Hodder (London, England), 2000, Arthur A. Levine (New York, NY), 2001.

My Dream Bed, Hodder (London, England), 2001.

I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Clarice Bean, Guess Who's Babysitting?, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

What Planet Are You from, Clarice Bean?, Orchard Books (London, England), 2001, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.

Utterly Me, Clarice Bean, Orchard Books (London, England), 2002, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

That Pesky Rat, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?, Hodder (London, England), 2002, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2003.

I Am Too Absolutely Small for School, Orchard Books (London, England), 2003, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

ILLUSTRATOR

Margaret Joy, Addy the Baddy, Viking (London, England), 1993.

The Complete Poetical Works of Phoebe Flood, introduction by John Whitworth, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1997.

Sidelights

Lauren Child is the creator of the popular "Clarice Bean" stories, a series of picture books about an irrepressible five-year-old girl with a wildly madcap family. The first book in the series, Clarice Bean, That's Me, won the Smarties Book Prize in 1999. Clarice Bean "speaks with the authentic voice of the knowing five-year-old," according to Marcus Warren in the London Telegraph, "a stream of consciousness of one-liners, pranks and paraphrases of the nonsense spouted by grown-ups." Speaking to Jeffrey Yamaguchi in an interview posted at the Bookmouth Web site, Child explained: "Some of my inspiration [for the series] comes from my own family .… Some from my memories of growing up .…And some from things I saw when I was looking out of the window."

Clarice Bean was created while Child was on a trip to New York City. A photograph she took of a Manhattan garden during that trip appears in one of the collage illustrations in the first book in the series, Clarice Bean, That's Me! In the book Clarice Bean, Guess Who's Babysitting?, firefighter Uncle Ted is the only one who will agree to babysit Clarice, her siblings, and their grandfather when Clarice's parents must go out of town. Ted is the children's favorite uncle because he is just as full of energy as they are. But things go bad when a pet guinea pig escapes his cage and the whole family must search the house for him. "Child brilliantly captures the magic" of Uncle Ted, Kelly Milner Halls wrote in Booklist, in what she described as a "quirky, entertainingly muddled story." Writing in the School Library Journal, Gay Lynn Van Vleck called the story an "uproarious romp" filled with "offbeat humor and illustrative invention."

What Planet Are You from, Clarice Bean? finds the young girl joining into an environmental protest over the cutting down of a neighborhood tree, although Clarice is a bit unsure of what the problem is. A critic for Kirkus Reviews called the story "wackily over the top," while Gillian Engberg in Booklist praised the "irresistible, quirky humor" with its "sly references to adult cliches." Carol L. MacKay, in a review for School Library Journal, concluded that "Clarice has a voice that children will identify with and delight in."

Clarice is enthralled by a Nancy Drew-type of mystery series in Utterly Me, Clarice Bean. Inspired by the girl detective in her books, Clarice tries to solve a mystery at her school—the theft of a trophy she was hoping to win—as well as a mystery in her personal life—the seeming disappearance of her friend Betty. The story, according to Kay Weisman in Booklist, is "delivered in deadpan, forthright prose" and "perfectly captures a child's voice in a way that will illicit laughter even from the grumpy." The critic for Kirkus Reviews believed that "Child not only gives Clarice a distinctive preteen voice, but captures the chaos around her with plenty of sketchy, interspersed ink drawings and collages."

Lauren Child's feisty and quick-with-the-comeback young heroine attempts to navigate a sane path in a family that includes overworked parents and annoying siblings in Clarice Bean That's Me.

Child once told Something about the Author: "After growing up in the small market town of Marlborough, Wiltshire, as the middle child of three sisters and the daughter of two teachers, I have always been interested in the many aspects of childhood, from gazing into toy shop windows to watching American children's television shows and movies from the 1960s and 1970s. I still spend a lot of time looking in toy shops and have a large collection of children's books.

"After attending two art schools, where I admit that I did not learn much, I traveled for six months, still unsure about which career to embark upon. I have lived in many parts of London. I enjoy moving; it freshens me up. I am longing to go and live abroad for a while, but I'm not sure where.

"During the following years I did various things. I love designing and making things, and I find it incredibly exciting to see my drawings turned into objects. I didn't expect to be much good at writing and really started by accident. It was only when I came to write and illustrate Clarice Bean that I decided to devote my time to writing and illustrating books for children. It combines my fascination for childhood and my talent for designing and creating."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 1999, review of I Want a Pet!, p. 1534; February 1, 2001, review of Beware of the Storybook Wolves, p. 1050; May 1, 2001, Kelly Milner Halls, review of Clarice Bean, Guess Who's Babysitting?, p. 1688; August, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed, p. 2127; April 15, 2002, Gillian Engberg, review of What Planet Are You from, Clarice Bean?, p. 1406; September 1, 2002, Michael Cart, review of That Pesky Rat, p. 120; January 1, 2003, review of That Pesky Rat, p. 798; September 15, 2003, Kay Weisman, review of Utterly Me, Clarice Bean, p. 235; January 1, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?, p. 872; October 1, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of I Am Too Absolutely Small for School, p. 332.

Financial Times, November 24, 2001, Lauren Child, "Best of the Year: Top Children's Authors Share Their Favorites," p. 6.

Horn Book, May, 1999, review of I Want a Pet!, p. 312; November-December, 2003, "Kate Greenaway Medal," p. 787.

Instructor, September, 2001, Judy Freeman, review of Beware of the Storybook Wolves, p. 26.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2001, review of I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed, p. 1119; February 1, 2002, review of What Planet Are You from, Clarice Bean?, p. 177; July 1, 2002, review of That Pesky Rat, p. 950; September 15, 2003, review of Utterly Me, Clarice Bean, p. 1172; October 1, 2003, review of Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?, p. 1221; July 1, 2004, review of I Am Too Absolutely Small for School, p. 626.

Publishers Weekly, February 15, 1999, review of I Want a Pet!, p. 106; August 30, 1999, review of Clarice Bean, That's Me!, p. 83; April 30, 2001, review of Beware of the Storybook Wolves, p. 77; August 27, 2002, review of I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed, p. 84; September 15, 2003, reviews of Utterly Me, Clarice Bean, p. 65, and I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, p. 67; November 24, 2003, review of Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?, p. 63.

School Library Journal, May, 1999, Lisa Dennis, review of I Want a Pet!, p. 88; December, 1999, Maryann H. Owen, review of Clarice Bean, That's Me!, p. 88; March, 2001, review of Clarice Bean, Guess Who's Babysitting?, p. 195; June, 2001, Catherine T. Quattlebaum, review of Beware of the Storybook Wolves, p. 111; September, 2001, Olga R. Kuahrets, review of I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go to Bed, p. 184; March, 2002, Carol L. MacKay, review of What Planet Are You from, Clarice Bean?, p. 173; August, 2002, Dona Ratterree, review of That Pesky Rat, p. 148; November, 2003, JoAnn Jonas, review of Utterly Me, Clarice Bean, p. 90; December, 2003, Shelley B. Sutherland, review of Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?, p. 111; August, 2004, Grace Oliff, review of I Am Too Absolutely Small for School, p. 84; October, 2004, review of Utterly Me, Clarice Bean, p. S30.

Telegraph (London, England), December 28, 2003, Marcus Warren, "A Writer's Life: Lauren Child."

ONLINE

Bookmouth.com, www.bookmouth.com/ (June, 2001), Jeffrey Yamaguchi, interview with Child.

British Council for the Arts Web, http://magicpencil.britishcouncil.org/ (April 29, 2005), "Lauren Child."*

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about 5 years ago

I think that your books are very good.

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over 10 years ago

lauren child rox!!!

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2 months ago

THIS IS ABSOLUTE LIES WHY DID U MAKE THIS U SAD PERSON