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Judd Palmer (1972-) Biography

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

Born 1972, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Education: Earned degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto.

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Bayeux Arts, Inc., 119 Stratton Crescent S.W., Calgary, Alberta T3H 1T7, Canada; fax: 403-249-2477.

Puppeteer, illustrator, and writer. Puppeteer for Disney, YTV, and Whoopi's Littleburg; founding member of the Old Trout Puppet Workshop theater company, Alberta, Canada, 1999—; Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, lead singer and slide banjo. Exhibitions: Drawings of the Preposterous, University of Calgary, 2003.

Governor General's Literary Award for English text shortlist, Canada Council, 2003, for The Maestro.


The Tooth Fairy, Bayeux Arts (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2002.

The Maestro, Bayeux Arts (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2002.

The Wolf King, Bayeux Arts (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2003.

The Sorcerer's Last Words, Bayeux Arts (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2003.

Abigail is determined to go to the castle of the Tooth Fairy even though her eccentric grandfather tries to prevent her. (From The Tooth Fairy, written and illustrated by Judd Palmer.)

Also the author of a play version of The Tooth Fairy, first performed by the Old Trout Puppet Workshop in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in 2001.


Victor Mintz, Musical Cheers: A Music & Opera Lover's Guide to Humorous Verse, Bayeux Arts (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2001.

Judd Palmer has reworked several classic fairy tales into slightly twisted picture books in the "Preposterous Fables for Unusual Children" series. These books sprang from Palmer's work with the puppet company that he founded, Old Trout Puppet Workshop. The Tooth Fairy began its life as a play that Palmer wrote and the Old Trout Puppet Workshop performed, and only later did Palmer write the story down and provide illustrations for it.

Palmer's Tooth Fairy is not the sweet, elderly, coin-dispensing lady of most children's imaginations. Instead of wings, this fairy uses a hot-air balloon, and the aviator goggles that this mode of transportation requires make "its eyes look huge and watery." Abigail is determined not to surrender her perfect smile, still composed entirely of baby teeth despite the fact that the girl is twelve years old, to this creature. She decides to fight the Tooth Fairy to keep them forever, but while chasing after the Tooth Fairy she has a series of perilous adventures involving pirates and a sea monster who writes poetry. Susan Miller praised the book's tone in Resource Links, calling it "almost like a 'penny dreadful' novel written in Victorian times."

Other books in the series take up the question of what happened after the purported end of the story in fairy tales including "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" and "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." In The Maestro, the orphan Hannah moves in with her aunt and uncle in Hamelin. Because there are no other children in town to play with (having all been lured away by the Pied Piper), Hannah becomes friends with a ghostly rat named Oskar—ghostly, of course, because all of the rats in town were killed by the Pied Piper. With the rat's help, Hannah discovers the abducted children, who are imprisoned in caves and forced to perform in the Pied Piper's orchestra. A whole pack of rats and the adults of Hamelin free the children, but Hannah, who loves to sing, asks to stay and study with the Maestro. The book "is well written (almost in a lyrical manner) and is a wonderful story," Antonia Gisler wrote in Resource Links, while Canadian Materials critic Mary Thomas suggested that both The Tooth Fairy and The Maestro would appeal to readers "particularly keen on the sound and feel of language."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Palmer, Judd, The Tooth Fairy, Bayeux Arts (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), 2002.

Hannah wants to learn about music and tries to join the Pied Piper's School of Music for Children, led by a mysterious, somewhat menacing instructor. (From The Maestro, written and illustrated by Palmer.)


Canadian Materials, November 14, 2003, Mary Thomas, review of The Tooth Fairy and The Maestro.

FFWD Weekly (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), October 9, 2003, Wes Lafortune, "More Than Fairy Tales: Judd Palmer Brings the Preposterous to Life."

Resource Links, April, 2003, Antonia Gisler, review of The Maestro, p. 20, and Susan Miller, review of The Tooth Fairy, pp. 20-21; February, 2004, Carolyn Cutt, review of The Sorcerer's Last Words, p. 56, and Evette Berry, review of The Wolf King, p. 56.


Bayeux Arts Web Site, http://www.bayeux.com/ (March 17, 2004).

Old Trout Puppet Workshop Web Site, http://theoldtrouts.org/ (January 14, 2004).*

Additional topics

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