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Leigh Hobbs (1953–) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

Born 1953, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Education: Attended art school.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Penguin Books Australia, P.O. Box 701, Hawthorn 3122, Victoria, Australia.


Illustrator, writer, sculptor, cartoonist, and painter. Art teacher until 2002. Exhibitions: Work exhibited widely, including at UWA Perth International Arts Festival, 2005; has exhibited drawings, paintings, and sculpture in galleries throughout Australia and England.

Honors Awards

Shortlisted, Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year award, 2002, for Horrible Harriet, and 2003, for Old Tom's Holiday; KOALA Award, 2004, for Old Tom, Man of Mystery.



Old Tom, Puffin Books (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1994.

Old Tom at the Beach, Puffin Books (Ringwood, Victoria, New South Wales), 1995.

Old Tom Goes to Mars, Puffin Books (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1997.

Old Tom's Guide to Being Good, Puffin Books (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1998.

Itsy-Bitsy, Puffin Books (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 2000.

Old Tom's Holiday, ABC Books (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2002, Peachtree (Atlanta, GA), 2004.

Horrible Harriet, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia), 2003.

Leigh Hobbs

Old Tom, Man of Mystery, ABC Books (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2003, Peachtree (Atlanta, GA), 2005.

Fiona the Pig, Running Press Kids (Philadelphia, PA), 2004.

Hooray for Horrible Harriet, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia), 2005.

4F for Freaks, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia), 2006.

Fiona the Pig's Big Day, Penguin/Viking (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2006.


Judy Tuer, Cheer up, Jessie, Collins Dove (Blackburn, Victoria, Australia), 1987.

Emily Dunt, Supersleuth's Brief: An Open and Shut Case, Martin Education (Cammeray, New South Wales, Australia), 1988.

Pippa MacPherson, Caro's Croc Café, Oxford University Press (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1991.

Kathleen J. Hill, Ding Dong Daily: Ideas for Writing in the Classroom, Rigby Jeinemann (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1991.

Else Edwards, Issues & Responses, Macmillan (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1991.

Mike Dumbleton, Mr Knuckles, Allen & Unwin (St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia), 1993.

Dianne Bates, Belly Busters, Red Fox (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 1994.

Valerie Thomas, Around the World with Miss Jones and Miss Brown, Hodder Headline (Rydalmere, New South Wales, Australia), 1996.

Jim Howes, Fish for Sale, Longman Australia (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1996, Sundance (Littleton, CO), 1997.

Gretel Killeen, My Sister's an Alien, Random House (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 1998.

Gary Crew, Leo the Lion Tamer, Lothian Books (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1999.

Meredith Costain, Get a Life with Freddy and Fifi, Puffin Books (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 1999.

Meg Caraher, Second Story Sally, Sundance (Littleton, MA), 1999.

Jen McVeity, Green with Red Spots Horrible, Sundance (Littleton, MA), 1999.

James Moloney, Blue Hair Day, Puffin Books (Ringwood, Victoria, Australia), 2000.

Christine Harris, Hairy Legs, Random House Australia (Milsons Point, New South Wales, Australia), 2001.

Gretel Killeen, My Sister's Yo-Yo, Red Fox (London, England), 2002.

Sofie Laguna, Bad Buster, Penguin Books (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2003.

Diana Lawrenson, It's True! Your Hair Grows Fifteen Kilometres Each Year, Allen & Unwin (East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2004.


Cartoonist for Melbourne, Australia newspaper the Age.


Hobbs's "Old Tom" series was adapted as a cartoon television series that aired in Australia, Europe, and the United States beginning in 2002.


Australian children's book author and illustrator Leigh Hobbs began writing and illustrating stories while still in primary school. Working in a range of mediums, he became a freelance cartoonist following art school, and has become well known for the books he writes and illustrates for children. Among Hobbs's self-illustrated books are those in the "Old Tom" series, a sequence featuring a scraggly, curmudgeonly feline that includes Old Tom, Man of Mystery and Old Tom's Holiday. Other books by Hobbs include Horrible Harriet, which introduces a girl that would be hard to top as a school bully, and Fiona the Pig, about a perfectionist pig who cares more about a chance to go on stage than she does a roll in the mud.

When a wily house cat is threatened with performing cleaning chores around the house, he devises an alter ego that distracts his housemate Angela while also adding spice to the neighborhood in Hobbs's quirky Old Tom, Man of Mystery.

Old Tom made his first appearance in Old Tom, published in the fall of 1994, and the adventures of the trouble-making cat continue in books such as Old Tom, Man of Mystery, Old Tom's Holiday, and Old Tom at the Beach. In Old Tom, Man of Mystery Old Tom pretends he has fallen ill in order to get out of performing the chores his keeper, tidy Angela Throgmorton, has assigned him. Taken in by the feline's clever ruse, Angela dotes on the ill kitty, tucking Tom into bed and doting on him throughout the day, while also doing the chores originally designated for Old Tom. A Kirkus Reviews critic praised Hobbs for his amusing story, noting that "the deadpan delivery and squiggly, almost drunken illustration are back, and fans who loved the first [Old Tom story] will enjoy this." In School Library Journal, Shawn Brommer also praised the book, commenting that Hobbs's "wacky artwork" features a "quirky childlike quality" and characters drawn with "angular, exaggerated features" in a variety of media.

Old Tom's Holiday finds Angela once again displeased with her lazy cat. She decides to leave Old Tom at home while she goes on a holiday trip. Upon arriving at her hotel and unpacking her suitcase, Angela does not realize—as do observant readers—that Old Tom has secretly stowed away in his keeper's luggage. While Angela enjoys her holiday activities, Old Tom can be seen following her about, loitering, lurking in the shrubbery, and even hanging from chandeliers. "The humor in this book is sure to appeal to children" commented Shawn Brommer, reviewing Old Tom's Holiday for School Library Journal.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), June 19, 2002, Anne Crawford, "Leigh's Leap of Fame."

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2004, review of Old Tom's Holiday, p. 807; August 1, 2005, review of Old Tom, Man of Mystery, p. 849.

Magpies, March, 1996, review of Old Tom at the Beach, p. 30; March 1997, review of Old Tom Goes to Mars, 30; November, 2001, review of Horrible Harriet, p. 30; May, 2002, review of Old Tom's Holiday, p. 30; September, 2003, review of Old Tom, Man of Mystery, p. 29; March, 2004, Liz Derouet, review of Fiona the Pig, p. 27; March, 2005, Moira Robinson, review of Hooray for Horrible Harriet, p. 30.

Publishers Weekly, July 19, 2004, review of Fiona the Pig, p. 160.

School Librarian, summer, 1998, review of Old Tom Goes to Mars, p. 79.

School Library Journal, November, 2004, Shawn Brommer, review of Old Tom's Holiday, p. 107.


Leigh Hobbs Home Page, http://www.leighhobbs.com.au/ (November 6, 2005).

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: James Heneghan (1930-) Biography - Personal to Rick Jacobson Biography - Personal