Mini Grey Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Born 0027;s name Tony. Education: University College, London, B.A. (English); studied theatre design; University of Brighton, M.A. (sequential design). Hobbies and other interests: Running, cycling, playing electric piano.
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Jonathan Cape, Random House, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Rd., London SW1V 2SA, England.
Author and illustrator. Formerly worked as a puppet maker; teacher in South London for six years.
Kate Greenaway Award shortlist, 2004, for The Pea and the Princess; Smarties Prize, 2004, for Biscuit Bear.
Egg Drop, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2002.
The Pea and the Princess, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2003, published as The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be, Knopf (New York, NY), 2003.
Biscuit Bear, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2004, Knopf (New York, NY), 2005.
Traction Man Is Here, Cape Children's (London, England), 2005.
The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon, Knopf (New York, NY), 2006.
Author and illustrator Mini Grey has combined a degree in English, training in both theatre arts and fine arts, a job as a puppet-maker, and six years' experience working as a teacher in South London schools to fashion a career as an award-winning creator of children's picture books. In addition to her titles The Pea and the Princess—published in the United States as The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be—and Biscuit Bear, Grey is the author and illustrator of Traction Man Is Here!, the chronicle of a young boy's adventures while putting his brand new, camouflage-wearing action figure through its high-adventure paces. Told through the boy's eyes, the story follows Traction Man as he battles household horrors such as the Poisonous Dishcloth and rises above the indignity of wearing a green sweater knitted up by a loving grandma, creating a story that School Library Journal reviewer Marge Loch-Wouters dubbed an "imaginative and very funny romp."
A well-known tale is turned topsy-turvy in The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be, as Grey recounts the classic test for princess-hood from the poor pea's point of view. Raised in a pod in the palace garden, this particular pea knows it has a higher purpose than the royal dining table, and sure enough, it is plucked by the queen and used as a way to test potential wives for her son, the prince. Realizing that the test is flawed after a number of highly qualified princesses have slept like babies atop the pile of mattresses under which the small pea has been placed, the pea decides to intervene; when the pretty young gardener who once tended it is tested for princess-hood, the pea climbs the mattress mountain and whispers relentlessly about the lump in the girl's mattress. A Kirkus Reviews critic described the story as a "rib-tickling" tale, adding that Grey's illustrations contain "plenty of sight gags" that pair with her "chatty narrative." Susan Dove Lempke also praised the story
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in Horn Book, citing its "visual wit" and commenting on the "vegetable and fruit motifs" that appear in the painted illustrations.
Biscuit Bear, which features a mix of photography and digital art, finds a bear-shaped cookie coming magically to life and escaping its fate—being eaten—by making a nighttime journey to the display window of a nearby city bakery. Other books by Grey include Egg Drop, about an egg that knows its destiny is to fly, and The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon, a saga that follows the famed Dish and Spoon of "Hey Diddle Diddle" fame as they make their way in the world during the Great Depression. Biscuit Bear won the Smarties Prize in 2004, a special achievement considering it was Grey's third picture book.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, March 1, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Traction Man Is Here!, p. 1203.
Horn Book, November-December, 2003, Susan Dove Lempke, review of The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be, p. 730; March-April, 2005, Christine M. Heppermann, review of Traction Man Is Here!, p. 188.
Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2003, review of The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be, p. 1073; March 15, 2005, review of Traction Man Is Here!, p. 352.
Publishers Weekly, March 7, 2005, review of Traction Man Is Here!, p. 67.
School Librarian, winter, 2002, review of Egg Drop, p. 186; autumn, 2003, review of The Princess and the Pea, p. 130.
School Library Journal, September, 2003, Wendy Woodfill, review of The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be, p. 179; June, 2005, Marge Loch-Wouters, review of Traction Man Is Here!, p. 115.
Book Trust Web site, http://www.booktrusted.co.uk/ (December 1, 2005), Madelyn Travis, "Bear-faced Biscuit."
Random House Canada Web site, http://www.www.randomhouse.ca/ (December 1, 2005), "Mini Grey."
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