Chris Woodworth (1957–) Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Sidelights
Born 1957; Hobbies and other interests:
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 19 Union Square W., New York, NY 10003.
Writer. Attica Public Library, Lafayette, IN, part-time librarian.
When Ratboy Lived Next Door, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2005.
Georgie's Moon, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.
It took Indiana writer Chris Woodworth nearly two years to complete her debut novel When Ratboy Lived Next Door. Taking place in a small down in Indiana during 1962, the novel introduces readers to twelve-year-old Lydia, who is excited about news that her family will soon have new neighbors. Her anticipation is quickly diffused, however, when she is attacked by a raccoon that turns out to be the pet of the new family's son, Willis Merrill. Lydia quickly develops a strong dislike of Willis, whom she nicknames "Ratboy." However, learning from the example of her own mother, who befriends the family, Lydia attempts to behave with acceptance and compassion, befriends Willis, and begins to understand the reasons for his strange behavior.
Sharon R. Pearce, reviewing Woodworth's novel for School Library Journal, commented that When Ratboy Lived Next Door "should spark discussions about families, honesty, and what it means to be a good neighbor." A Kirkus Reviews critic also enjoyed the book, stating that "Woodworth convincingly describes" the complex shift in the mother-daughter relationship during adolescence as well as "the complicated ways in which families survive and thrive."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, January 1, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of When Ratboy Lived Next Door, p. 847.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February, 2005, Timnah Card, review of When Ratboy Lived Next Door, p. 272.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2005, review of When Ratboy Lived Next Door, p. 238.
School Library Journal, March, 2005, Sharon R. Pearce, review of When Ratboy Lived Next Door, p. 222.
Capital Times Online (Madison, WI), http://www.madison.com/ (May 27, 2005), Karyn Saemann, review of When Ratboy Lived Next Door.
Journal Courier (Lafayette, IN), http://www.jconline.com/ (March 6, 2005), Kevin Cullen, "Author Translates Love of Reading into Children's Books."