Lynne Bertrand (1963-) Biography
Personal, Career, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1963, in Exeter, NH; Education: Gordon College, B.A.; New York University, M.A. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Christian.
Newspaper reporter and freelance journalist and writer, 1987–; chair of local school committee, beginning 1993.
One Day, Two Dragons, illustrated by Janet Street, Clarkson Potter (New York, NY), 1991.
Good Night, Teddy Bear, Chapters, 1992.
Let's Go! Teddy Bear, Chapters, 1993.
Who Sleeps in the City?, Chapters, 1994.
Dragon Naps, illustrated by Janet Street, Viking (New York, NY), 1996.
Granite Baby, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, Farrar, Strauss (New York, NY), 2004.
Also author of humorous columns for Working Mother.
After authoring several picture books for young readers, New England native Lynne Bertrand decided to set a story in the "Granite State," as her home state of New Hampshire is known. In Granite Baby Bertrand tells the story of five giant sisters who, in typical tall-tale fashion, are able to deal with any obstacle they encounter. However, when one sister carves a whole town, including a tiny baby, out of rock. When the baby, Lil Fella, comes to life and begins to fuss, the sisters know they have met their match. Rocking Lil Fella, playing with him, and dressing him; all are tried and nothing seems to work, and although tiny, his cries are so loud that they awaken Vermonters and Mainers alike. Finally a smart young girl named Nellie comes to the giants' rescue, proving that sometimes monumental problems require the simplest of solutions.
Praising the detailed illustrations contributed by Kevin Hawkes, Horn Book contributor Kitty Flynn praised Granite Baby, noting that Bertrand's text is "loaded with folksy humor and a good dose of exaggeration." Noting that the story will be appreciated by children who will be reassured that a child can solve adult-sized problems, School Library Journal contributor Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan added that Bertrand's "vocabulary has a down-home flavor that adds to [the story's] comforting tone."
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Bertrand once told SATA: "I don't know how other people work, but I'm a very visual person. I map out my stories in big and little boxes, in sequence and sometimes even with pictures or symbols to show the place I've gotten to by that point in the story. I'm working on several picture books and storybooks now, and I've been taught (by my mentor, illustrator Janet Street[—who provided the artwork for my picture books One Day, Two Dragons and Dragon Naps—]and by my husband, a graphic designer who works with hundreds of illustrators) how to write in a way that will inspire the illustrator. Sometimes I plant a sentence or two in the book just for a present to the illustrator. But in all cases I am imagining the pictures as I go."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, January 1, 1996, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Dragon Naps, p. 842.
Horn Book, May-June, 2005, Kitty Flynn, review of Granite Baby, p. 306.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2005, review of Granite Baby, p. 413.
Publishers Weekly, March 18, 1996, review of Dragon Naps, p. 68.
School Library Journal, April, 1996, Jody McCoy, review of Dragon Naps, p. 99; April, 2005, Nancy Menaldi Scanlan, review of Granite Baby, p. 94.
Hippo Press Web site, http://www.hippopress.com/ (June 2, 2005), Lisa Parsons, review of Granite Baby.