Pippa Goodhart (1958-)
Pippa Goodhart began working with books as a bookseller at the age of sixteen. It was not until much later that she began to write for children. "I loved books, particularly children's books, and have been a bookseller and a teacher and a mother and a publisher's reader, but I had never dared to think of trying to write books myself," Goodhart told interviewers at the Bloomsbury Publishing Web site. Not until 1994, with encouragement from her husband Mick, did Goodhart publish her first book. Flow was well received and was shortlisted for both the Smarties Prize and the Kathleen Fidler Award.
Goodhart has written more than thirty books since then, published in both England and the United States. Her titles cover a wide range of topics: Pam's Maps, for example, tells a pirate story, while Peter and the Waterwolf features a folktale from the Netherlands about a boy who saves his country by plugging a leak in a dyke with his finger. Noah Makes a Boat retells the story of Noah and the ark, but features Noah's grandson, Little Noah, as the brains behind the building of the ark.
Pudding, published as Pudgy: A Puppy to Love in the United States, is a story of two loners who manage to find each other and become friends. No one wants to play with Pudgy the puppy; the girl Lucy has no one to play with either. Eventually, Pudgy runs away from home, finds Lucy, and forms a lasting bond with the girl. Goodhart tells the story in only six sentences, which Sally R. Dow called "playful" in her review of Pudgy for School Library Journal. A critic for Kirkus Reviews noted that in a small amount of text, "Goodhart addresses a range of universal emotions."
Goodhart used fairy tales for her inspiration in such books as Sister Ella, a twist on the Cinderella story, and Molly and the Beanstalk, an adaptation of the traditional English story about Jack and his magic beans. In Arthur's Tractor: A Fairy Tale with Mechanical Parts, Goodhart used a different fairy tale strategy, one with two stories happening at the same time. As a knight tries to save a princess from a dragon, a nearby farmer hears the noises they make and becomes convinced that his tractor is broken. When the princess shrieks, Arthur is sure that he needs to oil his "sprocket spring sprigget." Arthur continues this way through the tale, completely oblivious to the ruckus behind him. However, by story's end, the farmer finally notices the interested princess joining him under the tractor's hood in an unusual happily-ever-after ending. "The book bubbles with delightful British colloquialisms," noted Karin Snelson in Booklist, and a reviewer for Publishers Weekly praised Goodhart's "snappy storytelling." G. Alyssa Sadler complimented Goodhart's "clever tale" in her review for School Library Journal, concluding that Arthur's Tractor "will appeal to children who love a tale with a twist."
In an interview on the Word Pool Web site, Goodhart explained that she enjoys writing for children "because they are a fresh, honest, interested audience open to almost anything." Goodhart told her interviewers at the Bloomsbury Publishing Web site that she gets her ideas from "everything around me and inside me, from the past, the present, and my imagination."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Goodhart, Pippa, Arthur's Tractor: A Fairy Tale with Mechanical Parts, illustrated by Colin Paine, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2003.
Booklist, October 1, 1997, Ilene Cooper, review of Noah Makes a Boat, p. 323; February 15, 2003, Karin Snelson, review of Arthur's Tractor: A Fairy Tale with Mechanical Parts, p. 1074.
Guardian (London, England), January 15, 2002, Lindsey Fraser, review of Peter and the Waterwolf, p. 69; October 25, 2003, Julia Eccleshare, review of You Choose, p. 33.
Horn Book, September-October, 1997, Martha V. Parravano, review of Noah Makes a Boat, p. 557.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2003, review of Arthur's Tractor, p. 60; April 1, 2003, review of Pudgy: A Puppy to Love, p. 534.
New York Times Book Review, February 15, 1998, review of Noah Makes a Boat, p. 25.
Publishers Weekly, August 25, 1997, review of Noah Makes a Boat, p. 65; December 23, 2002, review of Pudgy, p. 69, and review of Arthur's Tractor, p. 70.
School Library Journal, September, 1997, Kathy Piehl, review of Noah Makes a Boat, p. 182; December, 1997, Maria B. Salvadore, review of Row, Row, Row Your Boat, p. 90; March, 2003, G. Alyssa Sadler, review of Arthur's Tractor, p. 193; April, 2003, Sally R. Dow, review of Pudgy, p. 120.
Times Educational Supplement, April 25, 2003, Geraldine Brennan, "Read It Any Way You Want," p. 37.
Bloomsbury Publishing Web Site, http://www.bloomsbury.com/ (February 12, 2004).
Word Pool Web Site, http://www.wordpool.co.uk/ (February 12, 2004).*
Brief BiographiesBiographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) BiographyPippa Goodhart (1958-) Biography - Writings, Sidelights - Personal, Career, Honors Awards