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Nicola Smee (1948–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1948, in Shrewesbury, Salop, England; Education: Attended Birmingham College of Arts. Religion: Roman Catholic.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Bloomsbury Publishing, 36 Soho Square, London W1D 3QY, England.

Career

Author and illustrator. Graphic artist; designer of greeting cards and book jackets. Former illustrator for children's television program Rainbow.

Member

British Association of Illustrators.

Honors Awards

Children's Book of the Year citations, Anderson Press/Children's Book Foundation, 1991, for The Invitation, and 1992, for Finish the Story, Dad; Sainsbury Baby Books Award shortlist, 2001, for Sleepyhead.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED PICTURE BOOKS

Down in the Woods, Collins (London, England), 1985.

Beach Boy, Collins (London, England), 1987.

The Invitation, Collins (London, England), 1989, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1991.

ABC, Collins (London, England), 1990.

Finish the Story, Dad, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1991.

Teacher's Pet, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.

Noah's Ark (six board books in "ark" box), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1993.

The Tusk Fairy, Orchard Books (London, England), 1993, BridgeWater Books (Mahwah, NJ), 1994.

The Christmas Story, Orchard (London, England), 1994, published as My First Christmas Story, 2000.

Charlie's Choice, Orchard (London, England), 1995.

Little Rabbit (board book), Orchard (London, England), 1996.

Little Piglet (board book), Orchard (London, England), 1996.

Little Duckling (board book), Orchard (London, England), 1996.

Little Chick (board book), Orchard (London, England), 1996.

Where's My Special Bed? (puppet book), Orchard (London, England), 1996.

Sleepyhead!, Campbell Books (London, England), 2001, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 2002.

Peek-a-boo Baby, Campbell Books (London, England), 2001, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 2002.

Splish! Splash!, Campbell Books (London, England), 2001, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 2002.

Tickle Me Too!, Campbell Books (London, England), 2001, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 2002.

No Bed without Ted (lift-the-flap book), Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2005.

Funny Face, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2006.

Clip-Clop!, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 2006.

Author's books have been translated into Welsh.

"THREE LITTLE …" SERIES; SELF-ILLUSTRATED PUPPET BOOKS

Three Little Bunnies, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1994.

Three Little Chicks, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1994.

Three Little Mice, David Bennett (St. Albans, England), 1995.

Three Little Teddies, David Bennett (St. Albans, England), 1995.

"FREDDIE" SERIES; SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Freddie Visits the Doctor, Orchard (London, England), 1996, Little Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 1999.

Freddie Gets Dressed, Orchard (London, England), 1997, Little Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 1999.

Freddie Goes Swimming, Orchard (London, England), 1998, published as Freddie Learns to Swim, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 1999.

Freddie Goes to Playgroup, Orchard (London, England), 1998, Little Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 1999.

Freddie Has a Haircut, Orchard (London, England), 1998, published as Freddie Gets a Haircut, Little Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 1999.

Freddie Goes to the Seaside, Orchard (London, England), 1999, published as Freddie Goes to the Beach, Little Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 1999.

Freddie Visits the Dentist, Little Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 2000.

Freddie Goes on an Airplane, Little Barron's (Hauppauge, NY), 2000.

ILLUSTRATOR

Colin Stone, The Legend of the Gnomes, Chappell, 1976.

Dorothea King, Rex Q.C., Pavilion Books (London, England), 1983.

Diane Wilmer, Benny: The Story of a Dog, Collins (London, England), 1985.

Diane Wilmer, Benny and the Football Match, Collins (London, England), 1986.

Diane Wilmer, Benny and the Fair, Collins (London, England), 1986.

Diane Wilmer, Benny and the Builders, Collins (London, England), 1986.

Diane Wilmer, Benny and the Jumble Sale, Collins (London, England), 1986.

Ruth Craft, Wise Dog, Collins (London, England), 1986.

Baby's First Year, Heinemann (London, England), 1987.

Ruth Craft, Fancy Nancy, Collins (London, England), 1988.

Diane Wilmer, Step by Step (twelve-book series), Albion Press/Macmillan, 1988.

Robert Robinson, Going to the Dentist, Conran Octopus/Mothercare (London, England), 1989, published as Danny Goes to the Dentist, McGraw-Hill Children's (Columbus, OH), 2002.

Barbara Taylor Cork, Going to School, Conran Octopus/Mothercare (London, England), 1989, published as Sam Starts School, McGraw-Hill Children's (Columbus, OH), 2002.

My Birthday [and] Animals (includes activity book, wall chart, and story book), Carnival/Collins (London, England), 1989.

Judy Bastyra, Busy Little Cook, Conran Octopus (London, England), 1990.

Ruth Craft, Something Old: Jets, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1992.

Fiona Waters, The Star-Spangled Pandemonium: A Collection of Exceptionally Silly Stories and Verse, World International (Manchester, England), 1994.

Margaret Mayo, reteller, First Bible Stories, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 1998.

Jeannie Billington, Six Feet Long and Three Feet Wide, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Sidelights

Nicola Smee is an illustrator and writer with many published picture and story books in her list of credits. After studying at the Birmingham College of Art, Smee started her career as an illustrator, designing greeting cards and book covers, as well as doing illustrations for the British television show Rainbow. She illustrated a number of picture-book texts by other authors before trying her hand at writing and illustrating her own books in the mid-1980s. Down in the Woods, Smee's first solo picture book, was commended by a London Observer reviewer for its "admirable plot, pictures and text. Among the many picture books, board books, and lift-the-flap books she has produced since, two of Smee's creations have been honored as Children's Books of the Year by the Children's Book Foundation: The Invitation in 1991, and Finish the Story, Dad in 1992. Among her most popular works are her "Three Little …" series, which feature small puppets that help tell the story, and her "Freddie" series, which have been published in both the United States and Smee's native England.

The Invitation, illustrated in cartoon style complete with dialogue "balloons," describes how a boy named Leo finds an unexpected prize in his cereal box. The prize is an invitation to dine at the fanciest restaurant in town, and Leo and his parents quickly set out to enjoy the experience. Smee's book serves as lively look, from the child's perspective, of "what grown-ups do on Saturday night," with "brightly colored, motion-filled illustrations" of people eating and dancing, according to Ilene Cooper in her Booklist review.

Through Smee's engaging art and rhyming text, readers can help a determined young girl find her beloved lost teddy in No Bed without Ted.

In Finish the Story, Dad Ruby wants her father to finish the bedtime story he has begun reading. When her father does not give in to Ruby's pleading, the girl returns to her bed and dreams of animals in the jungle, asking each of them in turn to tell her the ending to the interrupted story. Like The Invitation, Finish the Story, Dad is illustrated in watercolor cartoons featuring stylized people and animals. Calling Finish the Story, Dad "a charming little tale," a Junior Bookshelf reviewer noted that "body language and facial expressions are … well observed, and the colours delightful." Virginia E. Jeschelnig, writing in School Library Journal, observed that Smee's illustrations, in which "colors are subdued with a sprinkling of pattern to add interest," are "best for sharing one-on-one."

Other books authored and illustrated by Smee include The Tusk Fairy, in which a young girl's favorite toy, a hand-knitted elephant, meets a sorry end but is given new meaning by the girl's loving grandmother. Another child-and-favorite-toy relationship is the subject of No Bed without Ted, a lift-the-flap book that finds a girl postponing bedtime when her must-have teddy is no-where to be found. In contrast, Clip-Clop! features rambunctious imaginative play between a small child and loving parents in a simple, rhyming story. Smee's "economical text" in The Tusk Fairy is enhanced by "soft, winsome watercolors that demonstrate the girl's attachment" to her well-worn knitted elephant, wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Praising No Bed without Ted for its reassuring ending, Beverly Combs added in School Library Journal that the author/illustrator's "illustrations are big and colorful, [and] the story is fun."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 1990, Ilene Cooper, review of The Invitation, p. 1459.

Independent on Sunday, June 27, 1993.

Junior Bookshelf, October, 1990, p. 221; December, 1991, review of Finish the Story, Dad, p. 245.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 1991, p. 1169.

Magpies, September, 1991, review of Beach Boy, p. 37.

Observer (London, England), April 7, 1985, review of Down in the Woods, p. 21.

Practical Parenting, July, 1993.

Publishers Weekly, December 14, 1984, review of Rex Q.X., p. 54; October 18, 1993, review of Noah's Ark, p. 74; April 11, 1994, review of The Tusk Fairy, p. 63; September 19, 1994, review of The Christmas Story, p. 28; April 25, 2005, review of No Bed without Ted, p. 58.

School Librarian, September, 1985, review of Down in the Woods, p. 231; May, 1990, review of The Invitation, p. 60; August, 1993, review of Teacher's Pet, p. 106; November, 1993, review of The Tusk Fairy, p. 152; February, 1996, review of Charlie's Choice, p. 17; spring, 2001, review of Freddie Visits the Dentist and Freddie Goes on an Airplane, p. 20.

School Library Journal, July, 1990, Linda Boyles, review of The Invitation, p. 64; December, 1991, Virginia E. Jeschelnig, review of Finish the Story, Dad, p. 107; August, 1994, Susan Hepler, review of The Tusk Fairy, p. 146; July, 2005, Beverly Combs, review of No Bed without Ted, p. 82.

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almost 5 years ago

I happened to check out a book for my grandson and saw your last name.
My maiden name is Smee. Just wondered if we might be related. Is Smee your husband's name or your real last name?
My mother made a family tree before she passed away in 2006. My father was Doyce Ivan Smee. His father was Cyrus Smee. Cyrus had 3 brothers I think. I would have to look the names up. John is one name I remember.
Just curious, not many Smees left. My mother always said I was "black Dutch" and our family came from Pennsylvania.
My 2 year old grandson loved your book, "Clip, Clop".