Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Barbara Barbieri McGrath (1953–) Biography - Personal to Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930) Biography

Sharon E. McKay (1954–) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

canada review charlie wilcox

Born 1954, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Education: York University, B.A.

Career

Writer and journalist. Worked in radio and film; former television host. Member, Christian Jewish Dialogue.

Member

Writer's Union of Canada, International Board on Books for Young People, Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers.

Honors Awards

Govenor General's Award shortlist, 2000, Mr. Christie Award, IODE Violet Downey Book Award, and Geoffery Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, all 2001, and International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Award, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award, White Raven Award, UNESCO International Youth Library, and Our Choice Selection, Canadian Children's Book Centre, all 2002, all for Charlie Wilcox; IBBY honor list designation, 2002, for Charlie Wilcox's Great War; Governor General's Award shortlist, Notable Book of Jewish Content designation, Association of Jewish Libraries, Hamilton Literary Award, and Sydney Taylor Book Award, all 2004, all for Esther.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Chalk around the Block, Somerville House Publishing (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1993.

The Picky Eater: Recipes and Survival Tips for Parents of Fussy Eaters, HarperCollins Publishers (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1993.

The Halloween Book, Sommerville House Publishers (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1994.

The Official Kick-the-Can Games Book, Sommerville House Publishing (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1994.

Take a Hike, Scholastic (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), 1995.

Pat-a-Cake Dough Book, illustrated by Marilyn Mets, Sommerville House Publishing (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1996.

Make-a-Face: Book and Body Painting Kit for Kids of All Ages, Sommerville House Publishers (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1996.

Time Capsule for the Twenty-first Century, illustrated by Donna Reynolds, Sommerville House Publishers (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1998.

Charlie Wilcox, Stoddart Kids (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Timothy Tweedle, the First Christmas Elf, illustrated by Stephanie Pyren Fortel, Blamur Publishers (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

A Bee in Karley's Bonnet, Balmur (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Harley's Blue Day, Balmur (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

What Are Friends For?, Balmur (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Rodney's Race, Balmur (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Charlie Wilcox's Great War, Penguin Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

Esther, Penguin Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2004.

FOR CHILDREN; "OUR CANADIAN GIRL" SERIES

Penelope: Terror in the Harbour, Penguin Books (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

Penelope: The Glass Castle, Penguin Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

Penelope: An Irish Penny, Penguin Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

Penelope: Christmas Reunion, Penguin Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2004.

OTHER

The New Child Safety Handbook, Macmillan of Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1988.

The New Parent Survival Handbook, Macmillan of Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.

Sidelights

Sharon E. McKay's long career as a writer has found her working for a variety of mediums, including newspaper, magazines, radio, and film as well as penning both fiction and nonfiction books. At one point, she even worked as a host on Canadian television, but the experience, while an opportunity to try something new, held little appeal to the Canadian writer, who has since made a name for herself as a children's book author. Beginning with nonfiction, McKay has produced a number of novels for middle-grade readers, among them the award-winning Esther, based on the true story of Esther Brandeau, a Jewish teen who rejects an oppressive, ghettoized life in eighteenth-century France and bravely strikes out on her own for the New World, surviving by taking up the disguise and the skills of a young seaman. Other books include the sequential novels Charlie Wilcox and Charlie Wilcox's Great War, as well as several volumes in the "Our Canadian Girl" series.

Featuring an Irish-Canadian girl named Penelope Reid, McKay's "Penelope" books in the "Our Canadian Girl" series follow Penny as she deals with family, friends, and multicultural Montreal society during and after the years Canada fought alongside the British in World War I. Reviewing the fourth book in the series, Penelope: Christmas Reunion, David Ward wrote in Resource Links that the author "has skillfully captured the postwar sentiment in upper-class Canada," while in another Resource Links review Connie Forst dubbed Penny "a courageous and gutsy young girl."

The fourteen-year-old protagonist of Charlie Wilcox also finds himself living in the midst of World War I. Marked for failure by a clubfoot and unhappy with his life in Newfoundland, Charlie plans to become a stowaway on a sealing vessel, determined to become a seal hunter like his father. Instead, the teen finds himself on a ship full of Canadian troops making their way to France in 1916. Put to work as a stretcher bearer in a French hospital near the front lines, Charlie sees firsthand the brutal side of war, but when given the chance to go home he declines and passes the opportunity to a less-fortunate friend. Moving to the front lines, he witnesses the Battle of the Somme and saves a friend's life before being assigned to a French field hospital. Describing the work as a "riveting story of friendship, loyalty, bravery, and honor," School Library Journal reviewer Nancy P. Reeder praised Charlie Wilcox for its "finely drawn" characters, action-packed plot, and its focus on "ordinary people caught in extraordinary events doing what they believe to be right."

Charlie's story is continued in Charlie Wilcox's Great War, which recalls the final months of his war experiences through the narration of hometown friend Claire. Finally returned home after the armistice is called, Charlie tells Claire his story: his experiences being shot down behind enemy lines; his long wait in the trenches amid the dead and dying, waiting for the cover of night to make his escape; and his difficulties in readjusting to life in Newfoundland after witnessing such carnage. Noting the larger-than-life themes of the book, a Books in Canada contributor praised the novel as "an epic story that's also touchingly human in its graphic detail, fleeting friendships and innate responses to danger." According to Joan Marshall in Resource Links, Charlie Wilcox's Great War "is full of snappy dialogue and adventuresome plot twists that work because of the chaos of war, and will attract teenage boys."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Atlantic Books Today, summer, 2000, review of Charlie Wilcox.

Bookbird, annual, 2001, review of Charlie Wilcox, p. 59.

Books in Canada, September, 2001, review of Penelope: Terror in the Harbour, p. 35; summer, 2003, review of Charlie Wilcox's Great War, p. 47.

Canadian Book Review (annual), 2000, review of Charlie Wilcox, p. 494; 2001, review of Penelope: Terror in the Harbour, p. 504.

Canadian Children's Literature, spring, 2001, review of Charlie Wilcox, p. 184.

Canadian Review of Materials, September 22, 2000, review of Charlie Wilcox; June, 22, 2001, review of Timothy Tweedle, the First Christmas Elf; December 14, 2001, review of Penelope: Terror in the Harbour; April 25, 2003, review of Penelope: The Glass Castle; June 20, 2003, review of Charlie Wilcox's Great War.

Maclean's, April 30, 2001, review of Charlie Wilcox, p. 54.

Quill and Quire, July, 1990, review of The New Parent Survival Handbook, p. 58; June, 1993, review of Picky Eater: Recipes and Survival Tips for Parents of Fussy Eaters, p. 29; February, 2000, review of Charlie Wilcox, p. 48.

Resource Links, February, 1999, review of Time Capsule for the Twenty-first Century, p. 15; October, 2000, review of Charlie Wilcox, p. 28; October, 2001, review of Penelope: Terror in the Harbour, p. 18; February, 2003, Connie Frost, review of Penelope: The Glass Castle, p. 12; April, 2003, Joan Marshall, review of Charlie Wilcox's Great War, p. 35; December, 2004, Brendan White, review of Esther, p. 37; December, 2004, David Ward, review of Penelope: Christmas Reunion, p. 21.

School Library Journal, November, 2000, Nancy P. Reeder, review of Charlie Wilcox, p. 159.

ONLINE

Sharon McKay Home Page, http://www.sharonmckay.ca (October 7, 2005).

Writers Union of Canada Web site, http://www.writersunion.ca/ (October 7, 2005), "Sharon E. McKay."

David (John) McKee (1935-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights [next] [back] Jay McInerney Biography

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or