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June Crebbin (1938–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1938, in Birstall, Leicestershire, England; Education: Attended Dudley Training College. Hobbies and other interests: Walking, reading, horseback riding, theater-going, "looking after my rabbit."

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Walker Books, 87 Vauxhall Walk, London SE11 5HJ, England.

Career

Worked as a teacher in Leicestershire, England, 1960–90, Yorkshire, England, 1962–64, and Kalamazoo, MI, 1965–66. Has also worked as a supply teacher for primary grades, and lecturer and workshop leader for both primary and adult students.

Member

Society of Authors (committee member), Poetry Society.

Honors Awards

Book of the Year citation, 1989, and 1993, both for Fly-by-Night and Carrie Climbs a Mountain.

Writings

The Jungle Sale (poems), illustrated by Thelma Lambert, Viking Kestrel (London, England), 1988.

Finders Keepers, Viking Kestrel (London, England), 1989.

Ride to the Rescue, illustrated by Catherine Bradbury, Viking Kestrel (London, England), 1989.

(Editor) Best Friends (stories and poems), illustrated by Julie Park, Dent (London, England), 1990.

Toby's Bark, illustrated by Teresa O'Brien, Dent (London, England), 1991.

The Dinosaur's Dinner (poems), illustrated by Thelma Lambert, Viking (London, England), 1992.

Fly-by-Night, illustrated by Stephen Lambert, Walker (London, England), 1993.

Carrie Climbs a Mountain, illustrated by Thelma Lambert, Walker (London, England), 1993.

Cows Moo, Cars Toot: Poems about Town and Country, illustrated by Anthony Lewis, Viking (London, England), 1995.

Danny's Duck, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1995.

The Train Ride, illustrated by Stephen Lambert, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1995.

Into the Castle, illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.

Don't Be Late!, illustrated by Peter Kavanagh, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1996.

The Dog Show, illustrated by Peter Kavanagh, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1996.

The Pyjama Party, illustrated by Peter Kavanagh, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1996.

Spike and the Concert, illustrated by Peter Kavanagh, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1996.

Cutting and Sticking, illustrated by Peter Kavanagh, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1996.

The Flying Football, illustrated by Susan Hellard, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1997, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Apples!, illustrated by Susan Hellard, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1997.

Granny's Teeth, illustrated by Susan Hellard, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1997.

Wrigglebottom, illustrated by Susan Hellard, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1997.

Nibbles, illustrated by Susan Hellard, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1997.

The Puppy Chase, illustrated by Susan Hellard, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1997.

Cows in the Kitchen, illustrated by Katharine McEwen, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.

Emmelina and the Monster, illustrated by Tony Ross, Walker (London, England), 1998.

Snap-Happy Annie, illustrated by Emily Bolam, Viking (London, England), 1999.

(Editor) The Puffin Book of Fantastic First Poems, Puffin (London, England), 1999.

Tarquin the Wonder Horse, illustrated by Tony Ross, Walker (London, England), 2000.

Dinnertime Rhyme, illustrated by Ana Martin Larranaga, Walker (London, England), 2001.

My Dog, illustrated by Russell Ayto, Walker (London, England), 2001.

In My Pocket, illustrated by Katharine McEwen, Walker (London, England), 2001.

No Tights for George!, illustrated by Tony Ross, Walker (London, England), 2002.

The Dragon Test, illustrated by Polly Dunbar, Walker (London, England), 2003.

Hal the Highwayman, illustrated by Polly Dunbar, Walker (London, England), 2003.

Hal the Pirate, illustrated by Polly Dunbar, Walker (London, England), 2004.

Lucy and the Firestone, illustrated by Polly Dunbar, Walker (London, England), 2004.

Jumping Beany, Walker (London, England), 2004.

(Editor) Horse Tales, illustrated by Inga Moore, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

The Crocodile Is Coming!, illustrated by Mini Grey, Walker (London, England), 2005.

The King's Shopping, illustrated by Warwick Johnson Cad-well, Walker (London, England), 2005.

Dinnertime Rhyme Jigsaw Book, illustrated by Ana Martin Larranaga, Walker (London, England), 2006.

Editor of anthologies, including Walker Book of School Stories, Walker Book of Stunning Stories, and Walker Book of Adventure Stories. Contributor of poems to New Poetry, Poetry Nottingham, Charnwood Writers, and The North, some of which have been broadcast on radio program Pen to Paper, BBC Radio North West; contributor of articles to Junior Education.

Author's books have been translated into Spanish.

Sidelights

June Crebbin worked as a teacher in both her native England and in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for three decades before retiring to begin her second career as a children's writer in 1990. As she once told SATA, in 1986, while still teaching full time, she began work on her first book, the poetry collection The Jungle Sale, using her eight-and nine-year-old students as a sounding board before sending her manuscript to London-based publisher Viking. The Jungle Sale was published in 1988, and Crebbin has gone on to amass a long list of other published books, among them The Train Ride, Cows in the Kitchen, and several fiction anthologies. Containing fourteen tales that focus on one of the author's long-time loves—horses—Horse Tales introduces notable steeds from myth, folklore, and literature. Featuring stories by writers such as Marguerite Henry, Michael Morpurgo, and Anna Sewell, Horse Tales introduces readers to the fantastical unicorn; Bucephalus, the powerful steed Alexander the Great rode into battle; the beloved Black Beauty of Sewell's classic novel; and the pony protagonist of Henry's Misty of Chincoteague, among others. A Kirkus Reviews contributor dubbed the collection "a blue-ribbon winner," while in School Library Journal Carol Schene called Crebbin's collection an "excellently conceived" anthology that "captures all of the romance and majesty of horses and their riders."

Crebbin's original stories have been as popular with younger readers as have her anthologies. Featuring illustrations by Stephen Lambert, Fly by Night focuses on a fidgety owlet named Blink who awaits his first chance to stretch his wings and fly. A young girl shares a similar anticipation in The Train Ride, as she and her mother make their first trip to Grandmother's house. In Booklist Lauren Peterson noted that Crebbin's text in The Train Ride "simulates the gentle motion of the train," while a Publishers Weekly writer deemed the book a "sweet" story that "offers youngsters a nostalgic look at a favorite mode of transportation."

Featuring a rollicking text and animal sounds guaranteed to animate young listeners, Crebbin's Cows in the Kitchen finds a host of barnyard animals—from ducks and sheep to cows and horses—quietly invading Farmer Tom's home while the unsuspecting man naps in the barn's haystack. "The merriment of this mischievous book is contagious," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer, the critic praising Crebbin's "clever pacing" and illustrator Katherine McEwen's "highly animated … cartoon drawings." In Booklist, Hazel Rochman predicted that the book's "bouncing repetitive chant" will captivate preschool listeners, while the storyline's focus on "domestic chaos"—sheep bounce on the sofa while ducks roost in the kitchen cupboards—guarantee the book a favored place in storyhour circles.

Discussing her work writing for children, Crebbin once explained to SATA: "Most of my stories and poems start with something I have seen or heard; sometimes in the classes I … [taught]; sometimes a memory of my own or my children's; sometimes, as in Fly-by-Night, when I found a baby owl which had fallen out of its tree, an incident involving an animal. Then I build on that idea. It's very exciting. I like to get the shape of the writing exactly right.

"I write at home, which is a Victorian villa built in 1884, not in my study but usually wrapped in a blanket on the bed in the spare room. In summer I always write in the garden whenever the weather allows me. I need a walk at some point during the day. Sometimes I visit a nearby steam train station; sometimes the river; sometimes I walk across the fields to the shops. Then there is always the eternal problem of what to have for tea!

"I enjoy writing stories, poems, and picture books for children from ages three to eleven. I find the picture-book medium particularly challenging, combining, as it seems to me, the complexity of a story with the economy of a poem. The work of Philippa Pearce has influenced me greatly. Her book, Tom's Midnight Garden, is a classic.

"To aspiring writers I would say, 'Never give up'—the best advice I was ever given."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 1995, Lauren Peterson, review of The Train Ride, p. 1651; June 1, 1995, Leone McDermott, review of Danny's Duck, p. 1783; August, 1996, Annie Ayres, review of Into the Castle, p. 1906; September 1, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Horse Tales, p. 133.

Junior Bookshelf, August, 1989, p. 169; October, 1990, p. 228.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2005, review of Horse Tales, p. 787.

Magpies, July, 1995, review of The Train Ride, p. 20; September, 1998, review of Cows in the Kitchen, p. 27, and Emmelina and the Monster, p. 33.

Publishers Weekly, May 24, 1993, review of Fly by Night, p. 84; May 29, 1995, review of The Train Ride, p. 83; July 13, 1998, review of Cows in the Kitchen, p. 76.

School Librarian, spring, 2000, review of Snap-Happy Annie, p. 18; summer, 2000, review of The Puffin Book of Fantastic First Poems, p. 95; summer, 2001, review of Tarquin the Wonder Horse, p. 80; winter, 2004, Sarah Jupe, review of Hal the Pirate, p. 186.

School Library Journal, November, 1989, p. 150; April, 1993, p. 94; May, 1995, Ruth Semrau, review of Danny's Duck, p. 83; October, 1995, Carole D. Fiore, review of The Train Ride, p. 97; April, 1996, Helen Rosenberg, review of Into the Castle, p. 106; August, 2005, Carol Schene, review of Horse Tales, p. 126.

Times Educational Supplement, December 16, 1988, p. 20.

ONLINE

Walker Books Web site, http://www.walkerbooks.co.uk/ (March 27, 2006), "June Crebbin."

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almost 2 years ago

its over. it can't be done. i give up.