Elizabeth Shreeve (1956-) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights
Born 1956, in Riverhead, NY; Ethnicity: "Caucasian" Education: Harvard College, A.B. (geology; cum laude), 1978; Harvard Graduate School of Design, M.A. (landscape architecture), 1983. Politics: Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, hiking, piano, art.
Office—SWA Group, 2200 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965. Agent—Barbara Kouts, P.O. Box 560, Bellport, CA 11713-0560.
EDAW Inc., San Francisco, CA, resource planner, 1979-81; SWA Group, Sausalito, CA, principal planner, beginning 1984. School Environmental Education Docent (SEED), lead docent, 2000-02.
Society of Children's Book Writer and Illustrators, Northern California Children's Booksellers Association.
Presidential Environmental Award, 1974, for Carmans River Story: A Natural and Human History.
(With Pamela Borg) The Carmans River Story: A Natural and Human History, privately printed, 1974.
Hector Springs Loose, illustrated by Pamela Levy, Aladdin Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2004.
Hector on Thin Ice, illustrated by Pamela Levy, Aladdin Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2004.
Hector Finds a Fortune, illustrated by Pamela Levy, Aladdin Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2004.
Hector Afloat, illustrated by Pamela Levy, Aladdin Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2004.
Work in Progress
A middle-grade fantasy novel.
In addition to her work as an environmental planner, California writer Elizabeth Shreeve has begun a second career as a children's book author. Her books, which focus on a six-legged wumblebug named Hector Fuller, include Hector Afloat, Hector Finds A Fortune, Hector on Thin Ice, and Hector Springs Loose. A Kirkus Reviews critic, remarking on Shreeve's first children's book, commented that in Hector Springs Loose Shreeve keeps the tone "light, though, tucking in tongue-in-cheek details." Overall the critic praised the book as "lighthearted, silly, challenging fare for easy reader graduates." Enjoying the amusing pencil sketches by illustrator Pamela Levy, School Library Journal reviewer Shelley B. Sutherland added that Shreeve's concise style makes her picture-book debut "well pitched to beginning chapterbook readers." Reading a more recent volume in the "Adventures of Hector Fuller" series, James K. Irwin appraised Hector Finds a Fortune for School Library Journal and concluded that "fans will look forward to more adventures starring this down-to-earth bug."
Shreeve told Something about the Author: "To engage children in reading, in living a wider and deeper life, and in delighting in the natural world—this is my primary motivation for writing.
"I was a great reader as a child—the classics: 'The Wizard of Oz,' 'Narnia,' and 'Mrs. Pigglewiggle' books—and I love to read to my kids. But I'd never written fiction until the bug hero, Hector Fuller, popped into my head. The name is a 'lady's swear word' invented by my grandmother, and the character became the basis for my four-book series that changed my life. Now I cannot imagine living without the double life of following a character through a plot.
"As for my writing process, my stories are inspired by my kids and by physical places, not surprising given my professional training in environmental design. I also strive to energize my writing with the humor and fast pace that kids expect these days. I love doing research; the animal characters in the 'Hector' series are all created around the clues provided by researching the real creatures. For example, Henriette the snapping turtle has a big appetite for food, singing—life in general! To make a story I hit on a basic problem, then I let little bits of the story come to me when I'm hiking or driving to work. I write every bit down, until I've got enough to weave together into a plot. I use outlines, but I stray quite a bit. My husband, a toy merchant, gets to hear all the rough drafts. He is my muse.
"Then I edit. I love it! And now I'm doing lots of school visits to talk to kids about bugs, books, and reading. The big reward is seeing children enjoy the books, and to receive their wonderful letters and drawings."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2003, review of Hector Springs Loose, p. 454.
School Library Journal, March, 2004, Shelley B. Sutherland, review of Hector Springs Loose, p. 181; May, 2004, James K. Irwin, review of Hector Finds a Fortune, p. 124.
Elizabeth Shreeve Web site, http://www.elizabethshreve.com/ (January 4, 2005).
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