Christine Loomis Biography
Personal, Career, Writings, Sidelights
Author of children's books, family travel guides, and magazine articles; former family travel editor for Family Life magazine and Parents' magazine.
My New Baby-Sitter, photographs by George Ancona, Morrow (New York, NY), 1991.
At the Laundromat, illustrated by Nancy Poydar, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1993.
At the Library, illustrated by Nancy Poydar, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1993.
The Cleanup Surprise, illustrated by Julie Brillhart, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1993.
At the Mall, illustrated by Nancy Poydar, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1994.
In the Diner, illustrated by Nancy Poydar, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1994.
One Cow Coughs: A Counting Book for the Sick and Miserable, illustrated by Pat Dypold, Ticknor & Fields (New York, NY), 1994.
We're Going on a Trip, illustrated by Maxie Chambliss, Morrow (New York, NY), 1994.
The Hippo Hop, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1995.
Fodor's Family Adventures, Fodor's Travel Publications (New York, NY), 1996, second edition, 1998.
Rush Hour, illustrated by Mari Takabayashi, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1996.
Simplify Family Travel, illustrated by Travis Foster, Reader's Digest (New York, NY), 1998.
Across America, I Love You, illustrated by Kate Kiesler, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2000.
The Ten Best Things about My Dad, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic, Cartwheel Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor of articles to Parents' magazine, 1986-90.
Cowboy Bunnies, illustrated by Ora Eitan, Putnam (New York, NY), 1997.
Astro Bunnies, illustrated by Ora Eitan, Putnam (New York, NY), 1998.
Scuba Bunnies, illustrated by Ora Eitan, Putnam (New York, NY) 2004.
Christine Loomis is the author of two family travel guides and several books for small children. Many of her books seek to introduce youngsters to the commonplace experiences they encounter as they grow up, such as going out to dinner or on a vacation. For instance, My New Baby-Sitter tells children what to expect while being looked after by a caregiver at home or in a home-based day care center. It also includes a long introductory note to parents giving advice on how to work with children and caregivers in such situations. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the book "lucid" and "candid" and praised its "sharp, realistic photos." Deborah Abbott, writing in Booklist, objected to Loomis's "idealized" treatment of day care, but concluded that My New Baby-Sitter "comforts and supports and is a good one to share."
In the Diner uses short rhymes ("Waiters hurry. Busboys scurry.") and watercolor illustrations to convey the cheerful sociability of a meal at a fast-food diner. As in My New Baby-Sitter, the illustrations feature children and adults of many ethnic backgrounds. Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman wrote that "Children will see why they feel right at home here." In a review for School Library Journal, Mary Rinato Berman extolled "the catchy, short text and clear, lively pictures."
One Cow Coughs is a counting book that helps children with the flu understand their illness. "Sick and miserable" farm animals are used to guide young readers and listeners through the numbers one to ten ("Two mules moan. Three sheep shake."), and then backward from ten to one, and as the numbers decrease, children learn that the flu eventually goes away. Booklist contributor Mary Harris Veeder termed the illustrations "appealing" and recommended the book as "eminently suitable" for small children. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews, while questioning Pat Dypold's "strangely bleached and uniform" looking illustrations, nonetheless thought the book "an excellent choice" for sick youngsters. Loomis explained how she came up with the book on the Children's Literature Web site: "We were driving through West Virginia farm country and everyone was hacking and throwing up. Suddenly I put down what I was doing and started writing and everyone had great fun helping me think of the rhymes."
We're Going on a Trip follows three families getting ready for trips by car, train, and airplane. A five-page foreword offers travel advice for parents, which a reviewer in Publishers Weekly found "thoughtful." This reviewer also declared the watercolor illustrations "wholesome" and "cheery." Camille Hodges, writing in Childhood Education, considered the illustrations appealing and called the dialogue "humorous and realistic."
The setting of The Hippo Hop is a funky jungle dance club where animals both familiar and exotic gather to party all night. The story is conveyed through verse and watercolor illustrations. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews described The Hippo Hop as "a modest, preschool-sized helping of zoology enjoyably insinuated in verse." A Publishers Weekly reviewer thought the "jitterbug-jump art and text" works well together, and in School Library Journal, Martha Topol praised the illustrations and Loomis's "lively rhyming text."
Rush Hour, set in New York City, shows mothers and fathers at work and explains how they get to and from their jobs each day. A reviewer in Publishers Weekly admired the book's "engaging" watercolor illustrations and "concise" rhymes, and predicted that Loomis's story might "instill a love of the kinetic vibrancy of urban life" in children. New Yorker John Peters, writing in the School Library Journal, commented that "the simple, energetic language and visuals are well matched," but added that the illustrations do not provide an ethnically accurate representation of the city's population.
Cowboy Bunnies uses rhyming couplets and Ora Eitan's gouache paintings on weathered wooden planks to tell the story of rabbits who "Start at sunup/Work all day/Roping cows/Tossing hay." A Publishers Weekly reviewer remarked that "the artwork's homespun yet sophisticated quality augments the book's central conceit, lending the characters depth and diversity." School Library Journal critic Ruth Semrau also praised the illustrations and called the book "a rollicking addition to the genre of bedtime reading for the very young." Horn Book contributor Roger Sutton enthused that "Eitan invests simple, suggestive shapes with luminous wonder."
The adventures of the bunnies continue in Astro Bunnies and Scuba Bunnies. In Astro Bunnies, the adventurous bunnies make their way to the stars, exploring different constellations in their rocket before returning home. "Everything about this mission is fun, right up to the satisfying ending," praised Carolyn Jenks in her School Library Journal review. In Horn Book, a critic commented that "it's rare to find such a lovely and fresh celebration" of children's desires to explore and return safely home, while Booklist contributor Kelly Milner Halls considered Astro Bunnies "'read it again' material."
The undersea adventures the bunnies undertake in Scuba Bunnies introduce the bunnies to sharks, dolphins, whales, and sea otters, and the bunnies bravely explore a sunken ship before heading home. While a Kirkus Reviews critic found this entry in the series "basically interchangeable with its two predecessors," Linda Ludke, writing in School Library Journal, felt that "Shared at bedtime, this title is sure to make a splash and to inspire many dreams." Ilene Cooper noted in her Booklist review that, "as Always, the rhyme is exquisitely simple."
Loomis's family travel experience led her to write Across America, I Love You. Though published as a picture book for children, many reviewers felt that because of the poetic motherly narrator, the book might make an excellent gift book for those readers who appreciate nostalgic writing. The mother and daughter, who begins as a baby at the beginning of the text and grows into an older child, travel from California through the Southwest, along the Pacific coastline and into the Rocky Mountains and the Florida swamps. Beth Tegart, writing for School Library Journal, considered the book "a lovely mood piece with poignant metaphors and tender phrases." A Publishers Weekly reviewer termed the book "an openly sentimental tribute to both America's varied landscapes and to the parent-child bond."
Loomis offers the following advice for family travel on the Something You Should Know Web site: "In planning a trip, involve the kids, because when the kids help plan a vacation they have something invested in it." She lives with her husband, three children, and two dogs in Boulder, Colorado.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, December 15, 1991, Deborah Abbott, review of My New Baby-Sitter, pp. 766-767; April 15, 1994, Hazel Rochman, review of In the Diner, p. 1537; October 15, 1994, Mary Harris Veeder, review of One Cow Coughs, p. 437; February 15, 2001, Kelly Milner Halls, review of Astro Bunnies, p. 1141; March 15, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of Scuba Bunnies, p. 1309.
Childhood Education, fall, 1994, Camille Hodges, review of We're Going on a Trip, p. 46.
Children's Book Review Service, September, 1996, p. 5.
Horn Book, November-December, 1997, Roger Sutton, review of Cowboy Bunnies, pp. 670-671; January, 2001, review of Astro Bunnies, p. 84.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1994, review of One Cow Coughs, p. 989; July 1, 1995, review of The Hippo Hop, p. 950; November 15, 2003, review of Scuba Bunnies, p. 1361.
Publishers Weekly, June 14, 1991, review of My New Baby-Sitter, pp. 58-59; February 14, 1994, review of We're Going on a Trip, p. 88; August 14, 1995, review of The Hippo Hop, p. 83; August 26, 1996, review of Rush Hour, p. 96; November 17, 1997, review of Cowboy Bunnies, p. 60; July 19, 2000, review of Across America, I Love You, p. 78; February 9, 2004, "More Duck and Bunny Tales," p. 83.
School Library Journal, October, 1991, Jacqueline Elsner, review of My New Baby-Sitter, pp. 110-111; May, 1994, Mary Rinato Berman, review of In the Diner, p. 99; June, 1994, Virginia Opocensky, review of We're Going on a Trip, pp. 109-110; September, 1995, Martha Topol, review of The Hippo Hop, p. 181; September, 1996, John Peters, review of Rush Hour; September, 1997, Ruth Semrau, review of Cowboy Bunnies, p. 186; July, 2000, Beth Tegart, review of Across America, I Love You, p. 82; February, 2001, Carolyn Jenks, review of Astro Bunnies, p. 102; February, 2004, Linda Ludke, review of Scuba Bunnies, p. 118.
Children's Literature Web site, http://www.childrenslit.com/ (May 3, 2005), "Christine Loomis."
Something You Should Know Online, http://www.somethingyoushouldknow.net (June 11, 2004), interview with Loomis.*