5 minute read

Katie ?)- Davis (1959() Biography

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

Born 1959, in New York, NY; Education: Attended American College of Paris; Boston University, B.S. Hobbies and other interests: Camping, tennis, eating Hot Tamales candy.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarcourtSanDiego, 525 "B" St., Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101.


Author and illustrator. Formerly worked in public relations and advertising. Founder, Dirty Dishes (ceramics and design company), 1986—. Creator of "Scared Guy" (licensed character).


Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Honors Awards

Oppenheim Platinum Award, and Junior Library Guild selection, both 1998, both for Who Hops?; Children's Book Choice Award, NAPPA Award, and Junior Library Guild selection, all 1999, all for I Hate to Go to Bed!; Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, 2002, for Who Hoots?, and 2003, for Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job.



Who Hops?, Harcourt Brace (San Diego, CA), 1998.

I Hate to Go to Bed!, Harcourt Brace (San Diego, CA), 1999.

Katie Davis

Who Hoots?, HarcourtSanDiego (San Diego, CA), 2000; 2002.

Scared Stiff, HarcourtSanDiego (San Diego, CA), 2001.

Party Animals, HarcourtSanDiego (San Diego, CA), 2002.

Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job, HarcourtSanDiego (San Diego, CA), 2003.

Kindergarten Rocks!, HarcourtSan Diego (San Diego, CA), 2005.

Davis's books have been translated into Spanish.


As children's book author and illustrator Katie Davis states on her Web site, she is inspired to create her quirky picture books by "my life, my kids, and the world around me." After graduating from Boston University, Davis worked in public relations and advertising, but moved on to start her own business in 1986. Using the name Dirty Dishes, Davis sold hand-painted ceramics and also created a character she dubbed "Scared Guy" that she licensed for use on various products. In 1996, after being urged by her filmproducer husband, Davis attended a conference for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. It was then that she discovered a perfect career that fit in with her energetic, creative personality, and she has been doing it ever since. Among Davis's highly praised books are titles such as Who Hoots? and Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job.

Davis's first published book, Who Hops?, focuses on identifying which animals do what by showcasing a glaring error that young listeners will immediately latch onto. For example, elephants DON'T slither, and cows DON'T hop. Praising the interaction between listener and reader that Davis's book inspires, Booklist contributor Susan Dove Lempke called Who Hops? a book that will make "a toddler's story hour dream come true," while in Publishers Weekly the book was praised as "silly" and "entertaining."

A sequel of sorts to Who Hops?, Who Hoots? is a lively and imaginative story designed for the preschool and kindergarten crowd. The book starts by asking the question "Who hoots?" and readers are then shown numerous animals, all non-hooters. When the owl is suggested, Davis's text states: "Owls don't hoot," creating questions on the part of readers who eventually figure out the book's puzzle. Marlene Gawron, reviewing Who Hoots? in School Library Journal, praised the book as "a definite winner", while Kathy Broderick in Booklist stated that "Davis definitely knows her audience."

With Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job, Davis once again offers young readers a unique and mesmerizing story. Mabel Becaharuvic has been your average, every-day fairy for much of her 42,364 years. However, due to a lack of good personal hygiene, and not enough brushing or flossing, she has begun to lose her teeth. While trying to quickly think of a solution before she ends up toothless, Mabel decides to visit kids at night and adopt the teeth children lose naturally. In this way Mabel amasses more than enough teeth to make a mouthful, but now there is another problem: none of them fit her, forcing her to seek the help of a friendly dentist.

Reviewers praised Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job, commenting in particular on the book's illustrations, which are heavily outlined in black and bright and colorful, in Davis's trademark style. The text is given a cartoon feel as well, through the use of speech balloons. While Maryann H. Owen questioned in School Library Journal whether young children would "warm up to a story that mentions halitosis, gingivitis, false teeth, plaque, and comprehensive dental coverage," a reviewer for Publishers Weekly answered "Yes," writing that "Davis's humor, ranging from slightly sarcastic to downright silly, gives kids of tooth-losing age an enjoyable behind-the-scenes look at a mysterious figure—and an easy-to-swallow message." A Kirkus Reviews contributor hailed Mabel the Tooth Fairy as a "sidesplitting dental romance."

In addition to her writing, Davis regularly visits elementary schools as a guest speaker. It is her hope to entertain kids, but also inspire them to become interested in reading, or even better yet, maybe want to get into writing themselves one day. While visiting she will often work with kids—sometimes up to 100 children at a time—and create, write, and illustrate a story on the spot, and her spontaneity has made her a popular speaker. Despite her success, Davis remains humbled by the more serious part of her job: kids use her books to learn how to read everyday. Advising young authors, Davis told interviewer Cynthia Leitich Smith of Children's Literature Resources Web site: "If it is your passion, don't ever give up…. Learn as much as possible about your genre, and go to any and all meetings/conferences/workshops where you'll meet other people who love doing this too. Comradery is essential to keeping the spirit up in this very tough business. And read as many books as possible!"

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, September 15, 1998, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Who Hops?, p. 234; October 1, 2000, Kathy Broderick, review of Who Hoots?, p. 344.

Good Housekeeping, February, 2003, Ellen Welty, "Writing Their Own Fairy Tale," p. 85.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2001, review of Scared Stiff, p. 1421; September 15, 2002, review of Party Animals, p. 1387; September 15, 2003, review of Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job, p. 1173.

Publishers Weekly, August 24, 1998, review of Who Hops?, p. 55; August 23, 1999, review of I Hate to Go to Bed, p. 57; September 24, 2001, review of Scared Stiff, p. 92; December 9, 2002, review of Party Animals, p. 21; October 13, 2003, review of Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job, p. 79.

Record-Review (Westchester county, NY), January 25, 2002, Ellen S. Best, "What's All the Hoot about Katie Davis?," p. 17.

School Library Journal, September, 1998, Adele Greenlee, review of Who Hops?, p. 171; March, 2000, Ginny Gustin, review of I Hate to Go to Bed, p. 194; December, 2000, Marlene Gawron, review of Who Hoots?, p. 107; September, 2001, Sarah O'Neal, review of Scared Stiff, p. 187; December, 2002, Sheilah Kosco, review of Party Animals, p. 86; Januray, 2004, Maryann H. Owen, review of Mabel the Tooth Fairy and How She Got Her Job, p. 96.


Children's Literature Resources Web site, http://www.cynthialeitichsmith/com/ (September, 2000), interview with Davis.

Katie Davis Home Page, http://www.katiedavis.com/ (February 5, 2004).*

Additional topics

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