Teresa Bateman (1957–) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1957 in Moscow, ID; Education: Ricks College, Associate of Arts and Sciences, 1978; Brigham Young University, B.S., 1982; University of Washington, M.A., 1987. Religion: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon).
Office—Brigadoon Elementary School, 3601 SW 336th St., Federal Way, WA 98023.
Writer. Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA, librarian, 1987–.
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Washington Educators Association, Washington Library Media Association.
Merit Award, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators magazine, 1993, for "Traveling Tom and the Leprechaun"; Highlights for Children Fiction Contest, 1994, for "The Alien"; Paul A. Witty Short Story Award, 1997, for "Trapped in the Arctic"; Storytelling World Award, and Governor's Writers Award, both 1998, both for The Ring of Truth: An Original Irish Tale; Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award, 2001, for Farm Flu, and 2004, for The Bully Blockers Club and April Foolishness; Notable Social Studies Book designation, 2002, for Red, White, Blue, and Uncle Who?; Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People designation, 2004, for The Bully Blockers.
The Ring of Truth: An Original Irish Tale, illustrated by Omar Rayyan, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1997.
Leprechaun Gold, illustrated by Rosanne Litzinger, Holiday House (New York, NY), 1998.
Harp o' Gold: An Original Tale, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2001.
A Plump and Perky Turkey, Winslow, 2001.
Farm Flu, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2001.
Red, White, Blue, and Uncle Who?: The Stories behind Some of America's Patriotic Symbols, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2001.
The Merbaby, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2001.
Hunting the Daddyosaurus, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2002.
The Princesses Have a Ball, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2002.
April Foolishness, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2004.
The Bully Blockers Club, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2004.
Hamster Camp: How Harry Got Fit, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2005.
Fluffy, Scourge of the Sea, Charlesbridge (Watertown, MA), 2005.
Keeper of Soles, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2005.
Will You Be My Valenswine?, Albert Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2005.
Regular contributor to Cricket and Highlights for Children; contributor of reviews to Puget Sound Council and School Library Journal.
Children's book writer Teresa Bateman has worked as a librarian for many years, inspired both in her career choice and her writing by her childhood love of stories and books. As she once told SATA: "I was raised in a family of ten children. My mother made a point of reading to us at every opportunity, especially on long car trips. As a result, we are all voracious readers. There are few things that delight me more than a well-written book. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why I decided to write." Among Bateman's lighthearted books for children are A Plump and Perky Turkey, The Merbaby, and Fluffy, Scourge of the Sea.
"I've always been a storyteller," Bateman explained. "When I was a teen-ager I had to share a bedroom with a younger sister who always 'ratted me out' to my parents when I stayed up past bedtime, reading. I used to tell her stories about a bear that lived in the closet and liked to eat succulent young things. I, naturally, was too old and stringy….
"As the years went by I continued making up stories. Now I tell them to my many nieces and nephews. Eventually I thought it would be fun to write them down and see if they were publishable. I am now the owner of an ENORMOUS stack of rejection letters. However, I also have had many things published. I don't let rejection discourage me. I write because I love to write. I'd still write even if none of my stories ever got published. Writing is as much a part of me as breathing. I write each day, without fail. Some days I write a lot. Some days I write a little, but I write EVERY day."
Bateman's first book, The Ring of Truth: An Original Irish Tale, is the story of Patrick O'Kelly, a peddler who tells impressive tales as a way to keep people buy-ing his wares. Patrick makes the mistake of bragging that he can "spout better blarney" than the king of the leprechauns, which causes the king to become upset and give Patrick a ring which will force him to tell the truth. In a twist, Patrick ends up winning a blarney contest by telling the true story of his meeting with the leprechaun king. As a Kirkus Reviews critic wrote, "Bateman's first book is a beautifully layered, consistently sprightly take on the notion that truth is stranger than fiction," while a Publishers Weekly critic noted that, "Epitomizing the best of Irish storytelling, this blithe debut pokes fun at its own blustery genre." Beth Tegart, writing for the School Library Journal, concluded that the book "is a well-crafted tale told with a storyteller's touch; the language flows, and the story satisfies."
Leprechaun Gold is Bateman's story of Donald O'Dell, a kindhearted handyman who rescues a leprechaun from drowning. As a reward, the leprechaun offers Donald gold, but the man refuses, saying he does not need it. The leprechaun, who refuses to take "no" for an answer, leaves the gold in Donald's pockets, on his door-step, and in Donald's shoes, but each time Donald returns the gold. The leprechaun ends up tricking the lonely Donald into meeting a similarly lonely beautiful woman with golden hair and a golden heart, ensuring that Donald accepts the gift of gold. April Judge, in a review for Booklist, declared that Bateman's "well-crafted story is told in a robust, lively manner" and deemed the book "a top-notch candidate for reading aloud." A critic for Kirkus Reviews noted that the story "has an Irish lilt that would certainly withstand an energetic reading out loud—and not just on St. Patrick's Day."
A touch of Ireland is also found in Bateman's story Harp o' Gold: An Original Tale, in which a wandering minstrel named Tom happily plays his old harp but cannot seem to make a living from it. When a leprechaun offers him a new, shiny harp in exchange for his old one, Tom agrees. He soon discovers, however, that the beautiful new harp sounds tinny. But people come to see the shiny harp, and he is finally making a living from his music, although the music is not as good as it was before. Tom comes to realize that getting what one wishes may not be the same as getting what one wants. Helen Foster James, writing in the School Library Journal, called Harp o' Gold "a satisfying and well-crafted story."
Bateman once commented on her Irish themes, telling SATA: "Many people ask me why I write so many Irish stories. My father says that one of our family lines goes back to Ireland. I've always loved Irish stories, and I enjoy telling them to my students. In fact, during the week of St. Patrick's Day I pick up an Irish accent that follows me around for weeks. It's usually in March that I write my best leprechaun stories."
In The Merbaby, Bateman tells a fantasy story about two brothers, Josh and Tarron, who are fishermen. Josh only fishes to make money, while Tarron appreciates the beauties of the sea as well. When the pair find a merbaby, Josh plans to put the child on display and charge admission. But Tarron knows better. He returns the baby to the merpeople, who reward him with treasure from the bottom of the sea. According to John Peters in Booklist, The Merbaby is a "well-told, elegantly illustrated original story," while a Kirkus Reviews critic called it "a gentle teaching story."
Bateman retells the traditional fairy tale about the twelve dancing princesses in The Princesses Have a Ball. In her version, the "ball" referred to is a basketball, and the princesses yearn not for dancing but for playing a game of hoops. Their father will not hear of such a thing, so the princesses sneak away at night to play ball. When their worn-out shoes cause their father to grow suspicious, the cobbler suggests that the girls confess and let their father know how well they can play. A critic for Kirkus Reviews found that Bateman's "rhymed update of this classic tale trips cheerfully along." Bina Williams, in her review for School Library Journal, wrote that Bateman "offers a fresh look at the beloved story."
April Foolishness focuses on April Fool's Day, when the grandchildren visit their grandparents' farm and attempt to pull some pranks. Despite dire warnings from the children that the cows have gotten loose, the goats are stampeding, and the pigs are in the garden, Grandpa will not budge from calmly eating his breakfast. When Grandma comes in and quietly announces that April Fool's Day is tomorrow, Grandpa runs outside in panic. Her joke turns out to be the best one of all; it really is April Fool's Day and Grandpa has been tricked. Carolyn Phelan, writing in Booklist, found that the story contains "plenty of fun," while a critic for Publishers Weekly called it "a surefire giggle-inducer."
"One of the things I enjoy most is doing research for nonfiction articles and books," explained Bateman in discussing the writing life. "To me, research is a blast. I love going to the University of Washington Suzzalo library and pulling out microfilm, or prowling through stacks of old books. I find the strangest things that way—odd facts that tickle my fancy. Doing the research is often just as much fun as doing the writing! Being a librarian also helps. I'm surrounded by books and children every day. It's a great combination."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, August, 1998, April Judge, review of Leprechaun Gold, p. 2012; March 1, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of Harp o' Gold: An Original Tale, p. 1285; April 1, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of Farm Flu, p. 1470; September 1, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of A Plump and Perky Turkey, p. 119; December 15, 2001, Caro-lyn Phelan, review of Red, White, Blue and Uncle Who?: The Stories behind Some of America's Patriotic Symbols, p. 725, and Stephanie Zvirin, review of Farm Flu, p. 728; May 1, 2002, Carolyn Phelan, review of Hunting the Daddyosaurus, p. 1530; November 1, 2002, Lauren Peterson, review of The Princesses Have a Ball, p. 504; November 15, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of April Foolishness, p. 584; January 1, 2005, review of April Foolishness, p. 774, and Carolyn Phelan, review of Fluffy, Scourge of the Sea, p. 867.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 1997, p. 313.
Children's Bookwatch, January, 2005, review of April Foolishness.
Horn Book, July-August, 1998, p. 470.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 1997, review of The Ring of Truth, p. 218; March 15, 1998, review of Leprechaun Gold, p. 398; August 1, 2001, review of The Merbaby, p. 1116; August 15, 2001, review of A Plump and Perky Turkey, p. 1207; September 1, 2002, review of Red, White, Blue and Uncle Who?, p. 1285; February 1, 2002, review of Hunting the Daddyosaurus, p. 176; August 15, 2002, review of The Princesses Have a Ball, p. 1215; October 1, 2004, review of April Foolishness, p. 956.
Publishers Weekly, February 24, 1997, review of The Ring of Truth, p. 91; September 27, 1999, review of The Ring of Truth, p. 107; January 29, 2001, review of Farm Flu, p. 88; March 5, 2001, review of Harp o' Gold, p. 78; September 24, 2001, review of A Plump and Perky Turkey, p. 46; July 15, 2002, review of The Princesses Have a Ball, p. 74; December 20, 2004, review of April Foolishness, p. 59.
School Library Journal, May, 1997, Beth Tegart, review of The Ring of Truth, p. 92; June, 1998, p. 94; April, 2001, Kathy M. Newby, review of Farm Flu, p. 98; May, 2001, Helen Foster James, review of Harp o' Gold, p. 109; September, 2001, Gay Lynn Van Vleck, review of A Plump and Perky Turkey, p. 182; November, 2001, Marlene Gawron, review of Red, White, Blue, and Uncle Who?, p. 170; January, 2002, Miriam Lang Budin, review of The Merbaby, p. 89; March, 2002, Gay Lynn Van Vleck, review of Hunting the Daddyosaurus, p. 172; December, 2002, Bina Williams, review of The Princesses Have a Ball, p. 84; November, 2004, Elaine Lesh Morgan, review of The Bully Blockers Club, p. 90, and Mary Elam, review of April Foolishness, p. 90; May, 2005, Jennifer Ralston, review of The Bully Blockers Club, p. 49; July, 2005, Linda Staskus, review of Hamster Camp: How Harry Got Fit, p. 64.
Charlesbridge Publishing Web site, http://www.charlesbridge.com/ (January 26, 2006), "Teresa Bateman, Author."
Ravenstone Press Web site, http://ravenstonepress.com/ (January 26, 2006), interview with Bateman.
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