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Fine, Anne 1947-

Fine, Anne 1947-

Personal

Born December 7, 1947, in Leicester, England; daughter of Brian (a chief scientific experimental officer) and Mary Laker; married Kit Fine (a university professor), 1968 (divorced, 1988); children: Ione, Cordelia. Education: University of Warwick, B.A. (with honors), 1968.

Addresses

Home—County Durham, England. Agent—David Higham Associates, Ltd., 5-8 Lower John St., Golden Square, London W1R 4HA, England.

Career

Writer. English teacher at Cardinal Wiseman Girls' Secondary School, 1968-70; Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, Oxford, England, assistant information officer, 1970-71; Saughton Jail, Edinburgh, Scotland, teacher, 1971-72; freelance writer, 1973—. Volunteer for Amnesty International.

Awards, Honors

London Guardian/Kestrel Award nominations, 1978, for The Summer-House Loon, 1983, for The Granny Project, and 1987, for Madame Doubtfire; Scottish Arts Council Book Award, 1986, for The Killjoy; Observer Prize for Teenage Fiction nomination, 1987, for Madame Doubtfire; Parents' Choice award, 1988, for Alias Madame Doubtfire; Smarties (6-8) Award, and Carnegie Highly Commended designation, both 1990, both for Bill's New Frock; Carnegie Medal, 1989, and Guardian Award for Children's Fiction, 1990, both for Goggle-eyes; Publishing News Children's Author of the Year designation, British Book Awards, 1990, 1993, runner-

up, 1991; Notable Book designation, American Library Association (ALA), and International Reading Association Young-Adult Choice citation, both 1991, both for My War with Goggle-eyes; Carnegie Medal, 1992, and Whitbread Children's Novel award, 1993, both for Flour Babies; Whitbread Children's Book of the Year, 1996, and ALA Notable Book designation, and Booklist Award for Youth Fiction, both 1997, all for The Tulip Touch; Hans Christian Andersen Award British nominee, 1998; named children's laureate of Great Britain, 2001-03; Carnegie Medal highly commended citation, 2002, for Up on Cloud Nine; Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, 2003, for The Jamie and Angus Stories; Royal Society of Literature, fellow, 2003; named to Order of the British Empire, 2003; D.Litt., University of Warwick, 2005; Carnegie Medal shortlist, 2007, for The Road of Bones; Nestlé Children's Book Award Silver Medal, 2007, for Ivan the Terrible; D.Let., University of Teesside, 2007.

Writings

JUVENILE FICTION

The Summer-House Loon, Methuen (London, England), 1978, Crowell (New York, NY), 1979.

The Other, Darker Ned, Methuen (London, England), 1979.

The Stone Menagerie, Methuen (London, England), 1980.

Round behind the Ice-House, Methuen (London, England), 1981.

The Granny Project, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1983.

Scaredy-Cat, illustrated by Vanessa Julian-Ottie, Heinemann (London, England), 1985, new edition, illustrated by Nick Ward, Egmont (London, England), 2002.

Anneli the Art Hater, Methuen (London, England), 1986.

Madame Doubtfire, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1987, published as Alias Madame Doubtfire, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1988.

Crummy Mummy and Me, illustrated by David Higham, Deutsch (London, England), 1988.

A Pack of Liars, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1988.

My War with Goggle-eyes, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1989, published as Goggle eyes, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1989.

Stranger Danger?, illustrated by Jean Baylis, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1989.

Bill's New Frock, illustrated by Philippe Dupasquier, Methuen (London, England), 1989.

A Sudden Puff of Glittering Smoke (also see below), illustrated by Adriano Gon, Picadilly Press (London, England), 1989.

Only a Show, illustrated by Valerie Littlewood, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1990.

A Sudden Swirl of Icy Wind (also see below), illustrated by David Higham, Picadilly Press (London, England), 1990.

The Country Pancake, illustrated by Philippe Dupasquier, Methuen (London, England), 1990, new edition published as Saving Miss Mirabelle, Egmont (London, England), 2007.

Poor Monty, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1991, new edition, illustrated by Kevin Evans, Egmont (London, England), 2002.

A Sudden Glow of Gold (also see below), Picadilly Press (London, England), 1991.

The Worst Child I Ever Had, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1991.

Design-a-Pram, Heinemann (London, England), 1991.

The Book of the Banshee, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1991, Joy Street (Boston, MA), 1992.

The Same Old Story Every Year, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1992.

The Genie Trilogy (contains A Sudden Puff of Glittering Smoke, A Sudden Swirl of Icy Wind, and A Sudden Glow of Gold), Mammoth (London, England), 1992.

The Angel of Nitshill Road, illustrated by K. Aldous, Methuen (London, England), 1992.

The Haunting of Pip Parker, Walker (New York, NY), 1992.

Flour Babies, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1992, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1994.

Chicken Gave It to Me, illustrated by Philippe Dupasquier, Methuen (London, England), 1993, published as The Chicken Gave It to Me, illustrated by Cynthia Fisher, Joy Street (Boston, MA), 1993.

The Diary of a Killer Cat, illustrated by Steve Cox, Puffin (London, England), 1994, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.

Press Play, Picadilly Press (London, England), 1994.

Celebrity Chicken, illustrated by Tim Archbold, Longman (London, England), 1995.

Step by Wicked Step, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1995, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1996.

Jennifer's Diary, illustrated by Kate Aldous, 1996, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2007.

Keep It in the Family, Penguin (New York, NY), 1996.

Countdown, illustrated by David Higham, Heinemann (London, England), 1996, new edition, illustrated by Tony Trimmer, Egmont (London, England), 2001.

How to Write Really Badly, illustrated by Philippe Dupasquier, Methuen (London, England), 1996.

Care of Henry, illustrated by Paul Howard, Walker (New York, NY), 1997.

The Tulip Touch, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.

Loudmouth Louis, illustrated by Kate Aldous, Puffin (New York, NY), 1998.

(Reteller) The Twelve Dancing Princesses, illustrated by Debi Gliori, Scholastic (London, England), 1998.

Ruggles, Mammoth (London, England), 1998.

Charm School, illustrated by Ros Asquith, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1999.

Roll over, Roly, illustrated by Phillippe Dupasquier, Puffin (New York, NY), 1999.

Telling Liddy: A Sour Comedy, Black Swab (London, England), 1999.

Bad Dreams, illustrated by Susan Winter, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2000.

Notso Hotso, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 2001, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.

Very Different and Other Stories, Mammoth (London, England), 2001.

The Jamie and Angus Stories, illustrated by Peggy Dale, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.

Up on Cloud Nine, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2002.

How to Cross the Road and Not Turn into a Pizza, Walker (New York, NY), 2002.

The True Story of Christmas, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003, published as The More the Merrier, Doubleday (London, England), 2003.

Nag Club, Walker (London, England), 2004.

Frozen Billy, illustrated by Georgina McBain, Doubleday (London, England), 2004, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.

The Road of Bones, Doubleday (London, England), 2006, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2008.

Ivan the Terrible, illustrated by Philippe Dupasquier, Puffin (New York, NY), 2007.

Jamie and Angus Together, illustrated by Peggy Dale, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

The Return of the Killer Cat, illustrated by Steve Cox, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2007.

Fine's books have been translated into over twenty-five languages.

OTHER

The Killjoy (adult novel), Bantam (London, England), 1986, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Taking the Devil's Advice (adult novel), Viking (New York, NY), 1990.

In Cold Domain (adult novel), Black Swan (London, England), 1994.

Telling Liddy (adult novel), Black Swan (London, England), 1998.

Telling Tales (interview/autobiography), Mammoth (London, England), 1999.

All Bones and Lies (adult novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.

(Editor) A Shame to Miss 1 (poetry), Corgi (London, England), 2002.

(Editor) A Shame to Miss 2 (poetry), Corgi (London, England), 2002.

(Editor) A Shame to Miss 3 (poetry), Corgi (London, England), 2002.

Raking the Ashes (adult novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 2005.

Fly in the Ointment (adult novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 2008.

Also author of radio play The Captain's Court Case, 1987. Author of plays based on her books, including Bill's New Frock, The Angel of Nitshill Road, The Granny Project, Goggle-eyes, Stranger Danger?, Flour Babies, and The Tulip Touch. Contributor of short stories to periodicals.

Adaptations

Goggle-eyes was produced on cassette by Chivers Sound & Vision, 1992, and adapted as a British television series; Alias Madame Doubtfire was adapted as a motion picture starring Robin Williams, Sally Field, and Pierce Brosnan, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1993.

Sidelights

In such popular children's books as Alias Madame Doubtfire, The Tulip Touch, and My War with Goggle-eyes, novelist Anne Fine brings her keen comic insight to bear on family problems, particularly those caused by divorce. "I was brought up in the country, in a family of five girls, including one set of triplets," Fine once told SATA. "Family relationships have always interested me and it is with the close members of their families that the characters in my books are either getting, or not getting, along."

A multi-award-winning writer, Fine received one of the highest honors of her career in 2001 when she was named the United Kingdom's children's laureate for her outstanding achievement in children's literature. During her tenure, she established the Home Library Project, a Web site that offers scores of freshly designed and freely downloadable modern bookplates for children of all ages to encourage book collecting, and also published

three volumes of poetry during her three-year tenure. In 2003 Fine received yet another of her country's top honors when she was named to the Order of the British Empire.

St. James Guide to Children's Writers essayist Anthea Bell characterized Fine's style as "trenchantly witty," and called her books "20th-century comedies of manners, offering stylish entertainment to older children with a certain amount of sophistication." In addition to her books for both children and young adults, Fine is the author of several adult novels, including Taking the Devil's Advice, In Cold Domain, and Raking the Ashes.

Born in 1947, in Leicester, England, Fine exhibited a love of books and reading at an early age. Although reading and writing were enjoyable activities that came easily to her, she had no ambitions to be an author. In fact, Fine did not take writing seriously until after she had graduated from college, married, and begun to raise her family.

In her first published book, The Summer-House Loon, Fine presents Ione Muffet, the teenage daughter of a blind college professor who is sometimes oblivious to his offspring. The novel portrays a single, farcical day in Ione's life as she attempts to match her father's secretary with an intelligent yet fumbling graduate student. Calling the novel "original and engaging … mischievous, inventive and very funny," Times Literary Supplement writer Peter Hollindale praised Fine's "fine emotional delicacy" as a characteristic that "sensitively captures, among all the comic upheaval, the passionate solitude of adolescence." The Summer-House Loon is "not just a funny book, although it is certainly that," Marcus Crouch likewise commented in Junior Bookshelf. "Here is a book with deep understanding, wisdom and compassion" that "tosses the reader between laughter and tears with expert dexterity."

A sequel to The Summer-House Loon, The Other, Darker Ned finds Ione organizing a charity benefit for famine victims. "Through [Ione's] observations of other people" in both these works, Margery Fisher noted in Growing Point, "we have that delighted sense of recognition which comes in reading novels whose characters burst noisily and eccentrically out of the pages." While noting that Fine's first two novels require "a certain amount of sophistication," Anthea Bell asserted in Twentieth-Century Children's Writers that for readers "in command of that sophistication they are stylishly lighthearted entertainment."

Reflecting Fine's concern over social issues are several novels that examine such issues as homelessness and care of the elderly. The Stone Menagerie, in which a boy discovers that a couple is living on the grounds of a mental hospital, is "devised with a strict economy of words, an acute sense of personality and a shrewd, ironic humour that once more shows Anne Fine to be one of the sharpest and humorous observers of the human condition writing today for the young," Fisher wrote in Growing Point. Using humor while "tackling the aged and infirm," The Granny Project "contrives to be both audacious and heart-warming," as Charles Fox remarked in New Statesman. The story of four siblings who conspire to keep their grandmother out of a nursing home by making her care a school assignment, The Granny Project is "mordantly funny, ruthlessly honest, yet compassionate in its concern," Nancy C. Hammond noted in Horn Book.

Alias Madame Doubtfire shines a farcical light on a serious theme: the break-up of a family. To gain more time with his children, out-of-work actor Daniel poses as Madame Doubtfire, a supremely capable housekeeper, and gets a job in his ex-wife Miranda's household. Miranda remains blind to her housekeeper's identity while the couple's children quickly catch on, leading to several amusing incidents. "Beneath the farce, the story deals with a serious subject," Mark Geller explained in his appraisal of Alias Madame Doubtfire for the New York Times Book Review: "the pain children experience when their parents divorce and then keep on battling." "The comedy of disguise allows the author to skate over the sexual hates and impulses inherent in the situation without lessening the candour of her insights into the irreconcilable feelings of both adults and children," Margery Fisher concluded in her Growing Point review. "Readers of the teenage novel, weary of perfunctory blue-prints of reality, should be thankful to Anne Fine for giving them such nourishing food for thought within an entertaining piece of fiction."

For Fine, the "prime intent" of Crummy Mummy and Me and A Pack of Liars "is to make young people laugh," noted Chris Powling in the Times Educational Supplement. "Both exploit the standard comic techniques of taking a familiar situation, turning it on its head, and shaking it vigorously to see what giggles and insights fall into the reader's lap." A Pack of Liars recounts how a school assignment to write to a pen pal turns into a mystery of sorts, while Crummy Mummy and Me presents a role-reversal in the relationship between an irresponsible mother and her capable daughter. While Anthea Bell noted in her Twentieth-Century Children's Writers essay that "details of the plots … may sometimes seem a little farfetched in the abstract," the critic added that "the sheer comic verve" of Fine's text "carries them off." Powling agreed, commenting

that "once again the narrative shamelessly favours ingenuity over plausibility on the pretty safe assumption that a reader can't complain effectively while grinning broadly." Both books, the critic concluded, "offer welcome confirmation that humour is closer to humanity than apostles of high seriousness care to admit."

In My War with Goggle-eyes, Fine offers yet another "comic yet perceptive look at life after marriage," as Ilene Cooper stated in Booklist. From the novel's opening, in which young Kitty relates to a schoolmate how her mother's boyfriend "Goggle-eyes" came into her life, "to the happy-ever-after-maybe ending, Fine conveys a story about relationships filled with humor that does not ridicule and sensitivity that is not cloying," Susan Schuller commented in School Library Journal. In showing how Kitty gradually learns to accept her mother's new relationship, "Fine writes some of the funniest—and truest—family fight scenes to be found," Roger Sutton observed in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. The resulting novel is "thoroughly delightful to read," Schuller concluded.

Step by Wicked Step also focuses on divorce and shifting family relationships. The novel is narrated by a succession of high school-age classmates, each beginning his or her portion of the story where another has left off. Claudia, Pixie, Colin, Ralph, and Rob are on an overnight field trip and spend a stormy night in a creaky, nineteenth-century house. While exploring the house, the students find a diary written by a previous resident more than a hundred years ago. A reading of the diarist's entries, which describe the gradual destruction of his family due to the controlling personality of a strict stepfather, sparks a discussion of step-parents and other elements of modern family life. Each of the teens describes his or her experiences of life after divorce and feels frustration, fear, and sadness. "Each storyteller has learned that those who shatter families are sometimes not good at fixing them, and that someone has to try to get along, ‘step by wicked step,’" according to Jamie S. Hansen in her summary of the novel for Voice of Youth Advocates. Praising Step by Wicked Step as a "sure-fire success," School Library Journal contributor Julie Cummins noted that Fine's protagonists "are genuine, their stories are poignant, and the book as a whole is affecting without being maudlin, didactic, or biblio therapeutic."

In The Book of the Banshee, Estelle Flowers has become a teenager, and the Flowers home has become a war zone, according to brother Will, who narrates the middle-grade novel. With his parents distraught over Estelle's constant histrionics, Will fends for himself, recounting a saga that Horn Book contributor Hanna B. Zeiger maintained "will bring many a laugh to the reader." "Estelle's adolescent angst and injuries" are handled capably, wrote Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor Roger Strong, and "when it comes to family fights," Fine always provides her readers with "the best seat in the house." In the opinion of School Library Journal contributor Connie Tyrrell Burns, The Book of the Banshee "has some of the funniest fight scenes in YA literature," while also operating as "a well-crafted work with layers of meaning and serious themes richly interwoven with the more comic ones."

Winner of several awards, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal, Fine's young-adult novel Flour Babies examines the flip-side of the parent-child relationship. Inspired by a magazine article describing a class project to make teens appreciate the hard work involved in parenthood, the book finds underachieving teen Simon Martin and the rest of his class of troublemakers each assigned to care for a six-pound sack of flour as if it was a live infant. Along with the rest of his class, Simon ridicules the idea at first, but gradually begins to transfer the caring behavior he was never given as a child to his flour-sack "baby." As an essayist noted in Children's Books and Their Creators, Fine's "hulking teenage protagonist … reaches new levels of self-awareness and is perhaps the most appealing character to be found in any of the author's books." While imbuing Flour Babies with her characteristic humor, Fine also "takes a down-to-earth scenario and, like her protagonist, turns it into an extraordinary adventure in living and learning," in the opinion of a Publishers Weekly contributor.

The Tulip Touch finds its author navigating "new territory," according to Anthea Bell in her St. James Guide to Children's Writers essay on Fine. "Gone is the wry humour, although the sharp detailed observation of human behavior remains." In this highly praised work, Fine tells the story of Natalie, who lives in rural England where her family manages a grand hotel called the Palace which caters to well-heeled out-of-towners. With companions her age at a premium, Natalie is eager to become friends with Tulip, a local farm girl whose eccentric behavior eventually reveals a bitter, dark side to her personality. Only gradually does self-effacing Natalie realize she has lost confidence in herself, as a result of her participation in the increasingly dangerous games initiated by her unusual and strong-willed new friend. "This complex and compelling book hits hard at a society which is aware of child abuse that is just within the limits of the law and so, feeling powerless to act, does nothing about it," explained Magpies reviewer Joan Zahnleiter, the critic describing Tulip as a victim of a "sadistic father," "neglected and deeply disturbed with a need to possess and humiliate." Noting that Fine only hints at the state of affairs that brought Tulip to her current emotional state, Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman wrote that, "with thrilling intensity, she dramatizes the attraction the good girl feels for the dangerous outsider…. [Fine's] message grows right out of an action-packed story that not only humanizes the bully but also reveals the ugly secrets of the respectable." Concluding her laudatory review of The Tulip Touch in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Deborah Stevenson noted that "while many children's

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books underestimate the intensity of youthful friendship and the seriousness of its repercussions, this one goes right to the heart of the matter."

Described by Horn Book contributor Vicky Smith as "a piece of Edwardiana with just a touch of the macabre," Fine's middle-grade novel Frozen Billy introduces readers to siblings Clarrie and Will. Since their father left for Australia to find his fortune, and their mother was wrongfully arrested in Ireland, the two have been living with Uncle Len. A well-meaning man who earns his living as a ventriloquist, Len is also an alcoholic with a penchant for gambling. When he discovers young Will's knack for imitating voices, Len hits upon a fraudulent scheme wherein the boy pretends to be a second dummy and performs onstage. As Will becomes increasingly caught up in his stage persona, older sister Clarrie finds her surreal family situation disturbing, and looks for help in regaining a stable family. Frozen Billy "paints an effective picture of a family on the edge," noted Smith, and "As usual," concluded School Library Journal contributor B. Allison Gray, "Fine creates fascinating characters, an intense impression of time and place, and a fast-paced plot."

Fine takes readers to the Soviet Union under the government of Josef Stalin in the young-adult novel The Road of Bones. In its first few decades, communism has progressed through several generations, and now ten-year-old Yuri sees that the corrupt single-leader government has begun engaging in widespread purges. When he speaks out, Yuri attracts unwanted attention that forces him to flee north to the inhospitable Russian steppe, and he is eventually sentenced to work in a Siberian mining camp. Writing that the novel successfully depicts the "desolation, cold, hunger, and hardship" of life under totalitarianism, Cara von Wrangel Kinsley added in School Library Journal that The Road of Bones provides "a good segue into discussions of both historical Communist Russia and modern society." Praising Fine's ability to create a compelling protagonist in Yuri, a Kirkus Reviews writer added that "the crushing atmosphere of Stalinist Russia is brilliantly evoked" in the author's "dark, intelligent novel." "Although the rise of movements against the government at first appear to offer Yuri hope," observed a Publishers Weekly, Fine's conclusion in The Road of Bones "underscores the notion that history repeats itself."

Named a Carnegie Medal highly commended book, Up on Cloud Nine focuses on the relationship between Stolly and Ian, two very different teenage boys. The book opens as Stolly lies unconscious in the hospital, his body bruised and broken after a fall from an upper-story window. His best friend, Ian, suspects the fall was no accident, however, and he begins to sort through his memories in an effort to determine if his friend attempted suicide. "The narrative shifts smoothly between past and present as it pieces together anecdotes of the boys' shared time," noted a critic in Publishers Weekly; readers learn of Stolly's penchant for Ouija boards, his uncanny ability to invent stories, and his distrust of authority. The teen's "philosophical viewpoint and way of life are the antithesis of Ian's solid practicality, and he expresses feelings that others are afraid to say," observed Carol A. Edwards in School Library Journal. When Stolly finally awakens, a Kirkus Reviews critic explained, "the author has brought readers so close to him and to those who love him that the question of whether he fell by accident or not has become, not irrelevant, but unimportant." According to Horn Book contributor Peter D. Sieruta, "Fine outdoes herself here, creating a truly singular character—a wildly imaginative boy with outsized emotions and manic enthusiasms who also happens to have a self-destructive streak."

In addition to more-serious fiction, Fine has written many illustrated stories for younger children. Here she focuses primarily on "that period during which the stability of childhood, when almost all decisions are made by others, is giving way to a wider world," as she once explained to SATA. "A sense of the need for a sort of personal elbow-room is developing, and people outside the family seem to be showing other ways to go. Growing through to a full autonomy is, for anyone, a long and doggy business, and for some more sabotaged than others by their nature or upbringing, it can seem impossible. I try to show that the battle through the chaos and confusions is worthwhile and can, at times, be seen as very funny."

In both The Jamie and Angus Stories and Jamie and Angus Together Fine introduces a young boy and his stuffed toy bull Angus. As soon as Jamie spots Angus in the window of a toy store in The Jamie and Angus Stories, he knows he has found the perfect companion. The pair becomes inseparable; Jamie builds a farm from fabric and Popsicle sticks for his new friend and clings to Angus even after a washing machine accident turns the toy from silky white to scruffy gray. Further adventures, recounted in the sequel, find Jamie guarding Angus from a playmate who treats toys roughly, but also learning to detach from his special toy friend in favor of human company. "The breezy, often humorous repartee between the lad and the adults in his life, plus the authentic interplay of boy and toy, keep the narrative

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moving at a sprightly clip," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor in describing The Jamie and Angus Stories, and Horn Book critic Susan P. Bloom commented that Fine "addresses young children in a natural read-aloud voice and is sentimental in only the right ways." Noting the similar accomplishment of Jamie and Angus Together, Susan Dove Lempke noted in the same periodical that "Fine always maintains Jamie's complete believability, conveying his perceptiveness and empathy side-by-side with his limited perspective."

Two other humorous chapter books created by Fine for early elementary readers are The Diary of a Killer Cat and The Return of the Killer Cat. The Diary of a Killer Cat contains the self-satisfied scriblings of a housecat named Tuffy, who stands accused of killing not only a bird and a field mouse, but also Thumper, the pet rabbit from next door. When his family places him in the care of a neighboring vicar in The Return of the Killer Cat, Tuffy the tabby cat hides at the neighbor's house but must endure the most terrible humiliation of all: being dressed up in baby clothes. In School Library Journal Diane Eddington cited the source of the cat's off-kilter wittiness as Tuffy's honest "confusion about reactions to his natural behavior," confusions that give rise to humor in "his defensive narrative." Both The Diary of a Killer Cat and The Return of the Killer Cat are highlighted by amusing line drawings by Steve Cox, resulting in "the same delicious wickedness" Fine exhibited in Alias Madame Doubtfire, according to Rochman in Booklist. Reviewing The Return of the Killer Cat, Ilene Cooper wrote in the same periodical that Fine's engaging tale will "resonate with kids who also like to have their own way."

In an essay she contributed to the Something about the Author Autobiography Series, Fine summarized her feelings about the power of fiction: "It changes people, and it changes lives. When we are young, we read about the miller's daughter spinning her straw to gold. And that, I believe, is the writer's great privilege. We only gain from letting our childhoods echo down the years, and we're allowed to spend our lifetimes spinning straw."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

An Interview with Anne Fine, Mammoth (London, England), 1999.

Children's Books and Their Creators, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1995.

Children's Literature Review, Volume 25, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1991.

St. James Guide to Children's Writers, fifth edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Something about the Author Autobiography Series, Volume 15, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1993.

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PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 1989, Ilene Cooper, review of My War with Goggle-eyes, p. 1465; September 15, 1997, Hazel Rochman, review of The Tulip Touch, p. 230; January 1, 1998, Hazel Rochman, "British Author Wins Booklist, Award for Youth Fiction," pp. 810-811; May 1, 2001, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Tulip Touch, p. 1610; June 1, 2002, Ilene Cooper, review of Up on Cloud Nine, p. 1716; November 15, 2002, Julie Cummins, review of The Jamie and Angus Stories, pp. 609-610; September 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of The True Story of Christmas, p. 133; May 1, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of Ruggles, pp. 1562-1563; January 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of The Diary of a Killer Cat, p. 111; September 1, 2006, Michael Cart, review of Frozen Billy, p. 125; March 15, 2007, Ilene Cooper, review of The Return of the Killer Cat, p. 47; June 1, 2007, Suzanne Harold, review of Jamie and Angus Together, p. 81; June 1, 2008, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Road of Bones, p. 67.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 1988, Roger Sutton, review of Alias Madame Doubtfire, p. 155; May, 1989, Roger Sutton, review of My War with Goggle-eyes, p. 222; September, 1997, Deborah Stevenson, review of The Tulip Touch, pp. 3-4; October, 2002, review of The Jamie and Angus Stories, p. 55; April, 2006, Deborah Stevenson, review of The Diary of a Killer Cat, p. 351; December, 2006, Elizabeth Bush, review of Frozen Billy, p. 169.

Growing Point, September, 1980, Margery Fisher, review of The Stone Menagerie, p. 3756; September, 1987, Margery Fisher, review of Madame Doubtfire, p. 4858; May, 1990, Margery Fisher, review of The Summer-House Loon and The Other, Darker Ned, pp. 5343-5344.

Horn Book, October, 1983, Nancy C. Hammond, review of The Granny Project, p. 573; March-April, 1992, Hanna B. Zeiger, review of The Book of the Banshee, p. 209; July-August, 2002, Peter D. Sieruta, review of Up on Cloud Nine, pp. 459-460; January-February, 2003, Susan P. Bloom, review of The Jamie and Angus Stories, pp. 71-72; November-December, 2003, Martha V. Parravano, review of The True Story of Christmas, p. 743; January-February, 2004, transcript of Fine's Boston Globe/Horn Book acceptance speech, pp. 27-31; November-December, 2006, Vicky Smith, review of Frozen Billy, p. 708; September-October, 2007, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Jamie and Angus Together, p. 574.

Junior Bookshelf, August, 1978, Marcus Crouch, review of The Summer-House Loon, pp. 202-203.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2002, review of Up on Cloud Nine, p. 732; August 1, 2002, review of The Jamie and Angus Stories, p. 1128; November 1, 2003, review of The True Story of Christmas, p. 1316; March 15, 2004, review of Ruggles, p. 268; January 1, 2006, review of The Diary of a Killer Cat, p. 40; November 1, 2006, review of Frozen Billy, p. 1122; April 1, 2007, review of The Return of the Killer Cat; June 1, 2007, review of Jamie and Angus Together; April 1, 2008, review of The Road of Bones.

Magpies, March, 1997, Joan Zahnleiter, review of The Tulip Touch, p. 36.

New Statesman, December 2, 1983, Charles Fox, "Beyond Tact," p. 26.

New York Times Book Review, May 1, 1988, Mark Geller, review of Alias Madame Doubtfire, p. 34.

Publishers Weekly, March 21, 1994, review of Flour Babies, p. 73; June 17, 2002, review of Up on Cloud Nine, pp. 65-66; July 29, 2002, review of The Jamie and Angus Stories, p. 72; September 22, 2003, review of The True Story of Christmas, p. 72; February 20, 2006, review of The Diary of a Killer Cat, p. 157; November 27, 2006, review of Frozen Billy, p. 51; May 12, 2008, review of The Road of Bones, p. 55.

School Library Journal, May 1989, Susan Schuller, review of My War with Goggle-eyes, p. 104; December, 1991, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of The Book of the Banshee, pp. 135-136; June, 1996, Julie Cummins, review of Step by Wicked Step, pp. 121-122; July, 2001, June, 2002, Carol A. Edwards, review of Up on Cloud Nine, pp. 137-138; September, 2002, Cathie Bashaw Mor- ton, review of The Jamie and Angus Stories, p. 190; October, 2003, Susan Patron, review of The True Story of Christmas, p. 63; February, 2006, Diane Eddington, review of The Diary of a Killer Cat, p. 97; November, 2006, B. Allison Gray, review of Frozen Billy, p. 134; February, 2007, Debbie Stewart Hoskins, review of The Return of the Killer Cat, p. 86; August, 2007, Sadie Mattox, review of Jennifer's Diary, and Donna Atmur, review of Jamie and Angus Together, both p. 80; June, 2008, Cara von Wrangel Kinsey, review of The Road of Bones, p. 138.

Times Educational Supplement, June 3, 1988, Chris Powling, "Relative Values," p. 49.

Times Literary Supplement, July 7, 1978, Peter Hollindale, "Teenage Tensions," p. 767.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1996, Jamie S. Hansen, review of Step by Wicked Step, p. 156; August, 2002, review of Up on Cloud Nine, p. 191; August, 2008, Amy Sisson, review of The Road of Bones, p. 239.

ONLINE

Anne Fine Home Page,http://www.annefine.co.uk (January 26, 2009).

Children's Laureate Web site,http://www.childrenslaureate.org/ (April 25, 2005), "The Second Laureate."

My Home Library Web site,http://www.myhomelibrary.org (July 15, 2005).

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Fine, Anne 1947-

FINE, Anne 1947-

Personal

Born December 7, 1947, in Leicester, England; daughter of Brian (a chief scientific experimental officer) and Mary Laker; married Kit Fine (a university professor), 1968 (divorced, 1988); children: Ione, Cordelia. Education: University of Warwick, B.A. (with honors), 1968.

Addresses

Home County Durham, England. Agent David Higham Associates, Limited, 5-8 Lower John St., Golden Square, London W1R 4HA, England.

Career

Writer. English teacher at Cardinal Wiseman Girls' Secondary School, 1968-70; Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, Oxford, England, assistant information officer, 1970-71; Saughton Jail, Edinburgh, Scotland, teacher, 1971-72; freelance writer, 1973. Volunteer for Amnesty International.

Awards, Honors

Guardian/ Kestrel Award nominations, 1978, for The Summer-House Loon, 1983, for The Granny Project, and 1987, for Madame Doubtfire; Scottish Arts Council Book Award, 1986, for The Killjoy; Observer Prize for Teenage Fiction nomination, 1987, for Madame Doubtfire; Parents' Choice award, 1988, for Alias Madame Doubtfire; Smarties (6-8) Award, and Carnegie Highly Commended designation, both 1990, both for Bill's New Frock; Carnegie Medal, 1989, and Guardian Award for Children's Fiction, 1990, both for Goggle-Eyes; Publishing News Children's Author of the Year, British Book Awards, 1990, 1993, runner-up, 1991; Notable Book, American Library Association (ALA), Best Books, School Library Journal, and International Reading Association Young-Adult Choice citations, all 1991, all for My War with Goggle-Eyes; Carnegie Medal, 1992, and Whitbread Children's Novel award, 1993, both for Flour Babies; Whitbread Children's Book of the Year, 1996, and ALA Notable Book, and Booklist Award for Youth Fiction, both 1997, all for The Tulip Touch; Hans Christian Andersen Award British nominee, 1998; named children's laureate of Great Britain, 2001-03; Carnegie Medal highly commended citation, 2002, for Up on Cloud Nine; Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, 2003, for The Jamie and Angus Stories; Royal Society of Literature, fellow, 2003; named to Order of the British Empire, 2003; D.Litt, University of Warwick, 2005.

Writings

JUVENILE FICTION

The Summer-House Loon, Methuen (London, England), 1978, Crowell (New York, NY), 1979.

The Other, Darker Ned, Methuen (London, England), 1979.

The Stone Menagerie, Methuen (London, England), 1980.

Round behind the Ice-House, Methuen (London, England), 1981.

The Granny Project, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1983.

Scaredy-Cat, illustrated by Vanessa Julian-Ottie, Heinemann (London, England), 1985, new edition, illustrated by Nick Ward, Egmont (London, England), 2002.

Anneli the Art Hater, Methuen (London, England), 1986.

Madame Doubtfire, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1987, published as Alias Madame Doubtfire, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1988.

Crummy Mummy and Me, illustrated by David Higham, Deutsch (London, England), 1988.

A Pack of Liars, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1988.

My War with Goggle-Eyes, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1989, published as Goggle Eyes, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1989.

Stranger Danger?, illustrated by Jean Baylis, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1989.

Bill's New Frock, illustrated by Philippe Dupasquier, Methuen (London, England), 1989.

A Sudden Puff of Glittering Smoke, illustrated by Adriano Gon, Picadilly Press (London, England), 1989.

Only a Show, illustrated by Valerie Littlewood, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1990.

A Sudden Swirl of Icy Wind, illustrated by David Higham, Picadilly Press (London, England), 1990.

The Country Pancake, illustrated by Philippe Dupasquier, Methuen (London, England), 1990.

Poor Monty, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy, Clarion Books (New York, NY), 1991, new edition, illustrated by Kevin Evans, Egmont (London, Egmont), 2002.

A Sudden Glow of Gold, Picadilly Press (London, England), 1991.

The Worst Child I Ever Had, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1991.

Design-a-Pram, Heinemann (London, England), 1991.

The Book of the Banshee, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1991, Joy Street (Boston, MA), 1992.

The Same Old Story Every Year, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1992.

The Genie Trilogy (contains A Sudden Puff of Glittering Smoke, A Sudden Swirl of Icy Wind, and A Sudden Glow of Gold ), Mammoth (London, England), 1992.

The Angel of Nitshill Road, illustrated by K. Aldous, Methuen (London, England), 1992.

The Haunting of Pip Parker, Walker (New York, NY), 1992.

Flour Babies, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1992, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1994.

Chicken Gave It to Me, illustrated by Philippe Dupasquier, Methuen (London, England), 1993, published as The Chicken Gave It to Me, illustrated by Cynthia Fisher, Joy Street (Boston, MA), 1993.

The Diary of a Killer Cat, illustrated by Steve Cox, Puffin (London, England), 1994, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.

Press Play, Picadilly Press (London, England), 1994.

Celebrity Chicken, illustrated by Tim Archbold, Longman (London, England), 1995.

Step by Wicked Step, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1995, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1996.

Keep It in the Family, Penguin (New York, NY), 1996.

Countdown, illustrated by David Higham, Heinemann (London, England), 1996, new edition, illustrated by Tony Trimmer, Egmont (London, England), 2001.

How to Write Really Badly, illustrated by Philippe Dupasquier, Methuen (London, England), 1996.

Care of Henry, illustrated by Paul Howard, Walker (New York, NY), 1997.

The Tulip Touch, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.

Loudmouth Louis, illustrated by Kate Aldous, Puffin (New York, NY), 1998.

(Reteller) The Twelve Dancing Princesses, illustrated by Debi Gliori, Scholastic (London, England), 1998.

Ruggles, Mammoth (London, England), 1998.

Charm School, illustrated by Ros Asquith, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1999.

Roll over, Roly, illustrated by Phillipe Dupasquier, Puffin (New York, NY), 1999.

Telling Liddy: A Sour Comedy, Black Swab (London, England), 1999.

Bad Dreams, illustrated by Susan Winter, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2000.

Notso Hotso, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 2001, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.

Very Different and Other Stories, Mammoth (London, England), 2001.

The Jamie and Angus Stories, illustrated by Peggy Dale, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.

Up on Cloud Nine, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2002.

How to Cross the Road and Not Turn into a Pizza, Walker (New York, NY), 2002.

The True Story of Christmas, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2003, published as The More the Merrier, Doubleday (London, England), 2003.

Frozen Billy, Doubleday (London, England), 2004.

Nag Club, Walker (London, England), 2004.

Fine's books have been translated into over twenty-five languages.

OTHER

The Killjoy (adult novel), Bantam (London, England), 1986, Mysterious Press (New York, NY), 1987.

Taking the Devil's Advice (adult novel), Viking (New York, NY), 1990.

In Cold Domain (adult novel), Black Swan (London, England), 1994.

Telling Liddy (adult novel), Black Swan (London, England), 1998.

Telling Tales (interview/autobiography), Mammoth (London, England), 1999.

All Bones and Lies (adult novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.

(Editor) A Shame to Miss 1 (poetry), Corgi (London, England), 2002.

(Editor) A Shame to Miss 2 (poetry), Corgi (London, England),2002.

(Editor) A Shame to Miss 3 (poetry), Corgi (London, England), 2002.

Raking the Ashes (adult novel), Bantam (New York, NY), 2005.

Also author of radio play The Captain's Court Case, 1987. Author of plays based on her books including Bill's New Frock, The Angel of Nitshill Road, The Granny Project, Goggle Eyes, Stranger Danger?, Flour Babies, and The Tulip Touch. Contributor of short stories to periodicals.

Adaptations

Goggle-Eyes was produced on cassette by Chivers Sound & Vision, 1992, and adapted as a British television series; Alias Madame Doubtfire was made into a motion picture starring Robin Williams, Sally Field, and Pierce Brosnan, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1993.

Sidelights

In such children's books as Alias Madame Doubtfire, The Tulip Touch, and My War with Goggle-Eyes, novelist Anne Fine brings her keen comic insight to bear on family problems, particularly those caused by divorce. "I was brought up in the country, in a family of five girls, including one set of triplets," Fine once told Something about the Author (SATA ). "Family relationships have always interested me and it is with the close members of their families that the characters in my books are either getting, or not getting, along."

St. James Guide to Children's Writers essayist Anthea Bell characterized Fine's style as "trenchantly witty," and called her books "20th-century comedies of manners, offering stylish entertainment to older children with a certain amount of sophistication." In addition to books for both children and young adults, Fine is the author of several adult novels, including Taking the Devil's Advice, and In Cold Domain.

Born in 1947 in Leicester, England, Fine possessed a love of books and reading from an early age. "As the story was always told, the local education authority took pity on my mother and let her pack me off to Highlands Road Infant School two years earlier than usual," the author related in her Something about the Author Autobiography Series (SAAS ) essay. "I was three. And so it is that I can truthfully claim that, apart from stepping off that log into the duckweed, I have no memory at all of a time when I couldn't read." While the young Fine found reading and writing enjoyable activities that came easily to her, she had no ambitions to be an author. In fact, Fine didn't begin writing until after she had graduated from college, married, and begun to raise a family.

In her first published book, The Summer-House Loon, Fine presents Ione Muffet, the teenage daughter of a blind college professor who is sometimes oblivious to his offspring. The novel portrays a single, farcical day in Ione's life as she attempts to match her father's secretary with an intelligent yet fumbling graduate student. Calling the novel "original and engaging mischievous, inventive and very funny," Times Literary Supplement writer Peter Hollindale praised Fine for "a fine emotional delicacy which sensitively captures, among all the comic upheaval, the passionate solitude of adolescence." The Summer-House Loon is "not just a funny book, although it is certainly that," Marcus Crouch of Junior Bookshelf likewise commented. "Here is a book with deep understanding, wisdom and compassion. It tosses the reader between laughter and tears with expert dexterity."

Fine's sequel, The Other, Darker Ned, finds Ione organizing a charity benefit for famine victims. "Through [Ione's] observations of other people" in both these works, Margery Fisher noted in Growing Point, "we have that delighted sense of recognition which comes in reading novels whose characters burst noisily and eccentrically out of the pages." While these books "are not for everyone, requiring a certain amount of sophistication," Anthea Bell remarked in Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, for readers "in command of that sophistication they are stylishly lighthearted entertainment."

Reflecting their author's personal dedication to social concerns, several of Fine's novels directly examine such issues as homelessness and care of the elderly. The Stone Menagerie, in which a boy discovers that a couple is living on the grounds of a mental hospital, is "devised with a strict economy of words, an acute sense of personality and a shrewd, ironic humour that once more shows Anne Fine to be one of the sharpest and humorous observers of the human condition writing today for the young," Fisher wrote in Growing Point.

Using humor while "tackling the aged and infirm," Fine's The Granny Project "against all the odds contrives to be both audacious and heart-warming," Charles Fox remarked in New Statesman. The story of how four siblings conspire to keep their grandmother out of a nursing home by making her care a school assignment, The Granny Project is "mordantly funny, ruthlessly honest, yet compassionate in its concern," Nancy C. Hammond noted in Horn Book.

Alias Madame Doubtfire brings a more farcical approach to a serious theme, this time the breaking up of a family. "Novels about divorce for children are rarely funny," Roger Sutton observed in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, but Fine's work "will have readers laughing from the first page." To gain more time with his children, out-of-work actor Daniel poses as Madame Doubtfire, a supremely capable housekeeper, and gets a job in his ex-wife Miranda's household. Miranda remains blind to her housekeeper's identity while the children quickly catch on, leading to several amusing incidents. But "beneath the farce, the story deals with a serious subject," Mark Geller stated in New York Times Book Review: "the pain children experience when their parents divorce and then keep on battling." "The comedy of disguise allows the author to skate over the sexual hates and impulses inherent in the situation without lessening the candour of her insights into the irreconcilable feelings of both adults and children," Margery Fisher concluded in her Growing Point review. "Readers of the teenage novel, weary of perfunctory blue-prints of reality, should be thankful to Anne Fine for giving them such nourishing food for thought within an entertaining piece of fiction."

Crummy Mummy and Me and A Pack of Liars "are two more books whose prime intent is to make young people laugh," Chris Powling of the Times Educational Supplement observed. "Both exploit the standard comic techniques of taking a familiar situation, turning it on its head, and shaking it vigorously to see what giggles and insights fall into the reader's lap." A Pack of Liars recounts how a school assignment to write to a pen pal turns into a mystery of sorts, while Crummy Mummy and Me presents a role-reversal in the relationship between an irresponsible mother and her capable daughter.

"Details of the plots, though neatly worked out, may sometimes seem a little farfetched in the abstract," Anthea Bell noted in her Twentieth-Century Children's Writers essay; "in practice, however, the sheer comic verve of the writing carries them off." Powling agreed, commenting that "once again the narrative shamelessly favours ingenuity over plausibility on the pretty safe assumption that a reader can't complain effectively while grinning broadly." Both books, the critic concluded, "offer welcome confirmation that humour is closer to humanity than apostles of high seriousness care to admit."

In My War with Goggle-Eyes, Fine offers yet another "comic yet perceptive look at life after marriage," Ilene Cooper stated in Booklist. From the opening, in which young Kitty relates to a schoolmate how her mother's boyfriend "Goggle-Eyes" came into her life, "to the happy-ever-after-maybe ending, Fine conveys a story about relationships filled with humor that does not ridicule and sensitivity that is not cloying," Susan Schuller commented in School Library Journal. In showing how Kitty gradually learns to accept her mother's new relationship, "Anne Fine writes some of the funniestand truestfamily fight scenes to be found," Roger Sutton observed in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. The result is "a book that is thoroughly delightful to read," Schuller concluded.

In The Book of the Banshee, Estelle Flowers has become a teenager, and the Flowers home has become a war zone, according to brother Will, who narrates the novel. With his parents distraught over Estelle's constant histrionics, Will fends for himself, in a novel that Horn Book contributor Hanna B. Zeiger maintained "will bring many a laugh to the reader." In the opinion of School Library Journal contributor Connie Tyrrell Burns, The Book of the Banshee "has some of the funniest fight scenes in YA literature," while also operating as "a well-crafted work with layers of meaning and serious themes richly interwoven with the more comic ones." "Estelle's adolescent angst and injuries" are handled capably, according to Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor Roger Strong, who added that, "when it comes to family fights," Fine always provides her readers with "the best seat in the house."

Winner of the Carnegie Medal, considered one of England's most prestigious literary awards, Fine's 1992 novel Flour Babies looks at the flip-side of the parent-child relationship. Inspired by a magazine article that described a class project to make teens appreciate the hard work involved in parenthood, Flour Babies finds underachieving teen Simon Martin and the rest of his class of troublemakers each assigned to care for a six-pound sack of flour as if it was an infant. Along with the rest of his class, Simon ridicules the idea at first, but gradually begins to transfer the caring behavior he was never given as a child to his flour baby. As an essayist noted in Children's Books and Their Creators, Fine's "hulking teenage protagonist, Simon Martin, reaches new levels of self-awareness and is perhaps the most appealing character to be found in any of the author's books." While imbuing Flour Babies with her characteristic humor, Fine "takes a down-to-earth scenario and, like her protagonist, turns it into an extraordinary adventure in living and learning," in the opinion of a Publishers Weekly contributor.

Step by Wicked Step would find its author in a slightly more serious frame of mind than she had been while writing the comical Flour Babies, as she tackles her characteristic subject of divorce and shifting family relationships in a serious vein. The novel is narrated by a succession of high school-age classmates, each beginning his or her portion of the story where another has left off. Claudia, Pixie, Colin, Ralph, and Rob are on an overnight field trip and spend a stormy night in a creaky, nineteenth-century house. While exploring the house, the students find a diary written by a previous resident more than a hundred years ago, and a reading of the diarist's entries describing the gradual destruction of his family due to the controlling personality of a strict step-father sparks a discussion of interactions with step-parents and other aspects of modern family life. Each of the teens tells his or her story of life after divorce in tales imbued with frustrations, fears, and sadness. "Each storyteller has learned that those who shatter families are sometimes not good at fixing them, and that someone has to try to get along, 'step by wicked step,'" according to Jamie S. Hansen in her summary of the novel for Voice of Youth Advocates. Praising the novel as a "surefire success," School Library Journal contributor Julie Cummins noted that Fine's protagonists "are genuine, their stories are poignant, and the book as a whole is affecting without being maudlin, didactic, or biblio therapeutic."

The Tulip Touch "takes Anne Fine into new territory," according to Anthea Bell in her St. James Guide to Children's Writers essay; "Gone is the wry humour, although the sharp detailed observation of human behavior remains." In this highly praised work, published in 1997, Fine tells the story of Natalie, who lives in rural England where her family manages a grand hotel called the Palace which caters to well-heeled out-of-towners. With children her age at a premium, Natalie is eager to become friends with Tulip, a local farm girl whose eccentric behavior eventually reveals a bitter, dark side to her personality. Only gradually does self-effacing Natalie realize she has lost confidence in herself, as a result of her participation in the increasingly dangerous games initiated by her unusual and strong-willed new friend. "This complex and compelling book hits hard at a society which is aware of child abuse that is just within the limits of the law and so, feeling powerless to act, does nothing about it," explained Magpies reviewer Joan Zahnleiter, describing Tulip as a victim of a "sadistic father," "neglected and deeply disturbed with a need to possess and humiliate." Noting that Fine only hints at the state of affairs that brought Tulip to her current emotional state, Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman wrote that, "with thrilling intensity, she dramatizes the attraction the good girl feels for the dangerous outsider . [Fine's] message grows right out of an action-packed story that not only humanizes the bully but also reveals the ugly secrets of the respectable." Concluding her laudatory review of The Tulip Touch in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Deborah Stevenson noted that "while many children's books underestimate the intensity of youthful friendship and the seriousness of its repercussions, this one goes right to the heart of the matter."

In 2001 Fine received one of the highest honors of her career when she was named Great Britain's children's laureate for her outstanding achievement in children's literature. During her tenure, she established the Home Library Project, a Web site that offers scores of freshly designed and freely downloadable modern bookplates for children of all ages to encourage book collecting, and also published three volumes of poetry. Fine served as laureate until 2003, and two years later received another of Great Britain's top honors shen she was named to the Order of the British Empire.

Fine also received a pair of coveted honors for Up on Cloud Nine and The Jamie and Angus Stories, both published in 2002. Up on Cloud Nine, named a Carnegie Medal highly commended book, focuses on the relationship between Stolly and Ian, two very different teenage boys. The book opens as Stolly lies unconscious in the hospital, his body bruised and broken after a fall from an upper-story window. His best friend, Ian, suspects the fall was no accident, however, and he begins to sort through his memories in an effort to determine if his friend attempted suicide. "The narrative shifts smoothly between past and present as it pieces together anecdotes of the boys' shared time," noted a critic in Publishers Weekly; readers learn of Stolly's penchant for Ouija boards, his uncanny ability to invent stories, and his distrust of authority. Stolly's "philosophical viewpoint and way of life are the antithesis of Ian's solid practicality, and he expresses feelings that others are afraid to say," observed Carol A. Edwards in School Library Journal. When Stolly finally awakens, wrote a Kirkus Reviews critic, "the author has brought readers so close to him and to those who love him that the question of whether he fell by accident or not has become, not irrelevant, but unimportant." According to Horn Book contributor Peter D. Sieruta, "Fine outdoes herself here, creating a truly singular charactera wildly imaginative boy with outsized emotions and manic enthusiasms who also happens to have a self-destructive streak."

The Jamie and Angus Stories, a collection of six tales about a young boy and his stuffed toy bull, Fine earned the 2003 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. As soon as Jamie spots Angus in the window of a toy store, he knows he has found the perfect companion. The pair becomes inseparable; Jamie builds a farm from fabric and Popsicle sticks for his new friend and clings to him even after a washing machine accident turns Angus from silky white to scruffy gray. "The breezy, often humorous repartee between the lad and the adults in his life, plus the authentic interplay of boy and toy, keep the narrative moving at a sprightly clip," noted a reviewer in Publishers Weekly, and Horn Book contributor Susan P. Bloom commented, "The tone addresses young children in a natural read-aloud voice and is sentimental in only the right ways." "I'm told that what people value in my work is that sort of honesty that sees things how they are, rather than how we'd like them to be," Fine stated in her award acceptance speech. "And I suspect that what the readersand possibly even the judges of this prizeliked best about this book is its honesty about young children. What's made clear through these stories is that even the youngest children have a far wider emotional range than many people are willing to give them credit for."

Throughout her many books for children, Fine focuses primarily on "that period during which the stability of childhood, when almost all decisions are made by others, is giving way to a wider world," as she once explained to SATA. "A sense of the need for a sort of personal elbow-room is developing, and people outside the family seem to be showing other ways to go. Growing through to a full autonomy is, for anyone, a long and doggy business, and for some more sabotaged than others by their nature or upbringing, it can seem impossible. I try to show that the battle through the chaos and confusions is worthwhile and can, at times, be seen as very funny." And in SAAS, Fine summarized her feelings about the power of fiction: "It changes people, and it changes lives. When we are young, we read about the miller's daughter spinning her straw to gold. And that, I believe, is the writer's great privilege. We only gain from letting our childhoods echo down the years, and we're allowed to spend our lifetimes spinning straw."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

An Interview with Anne Fine, Mammoth (London, England), 1999.

Children's Books and Their Creators, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1995.

Children's Literature Review, Volume 25, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1991.

St. James Guide to Children's Writers, fifth edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1999.

Something about the Author Autobiography Series, Volume 15, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1993.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 1989, Ilene Cooper, review of My War with Goggle-Eyes, p. 1465; September 15, 1997, Hazel Rochman, review of The Tulip Touch, p. 230; January 1, 1998, Hazel Rochman, "British Author Wins Booklist, Award for Youth Fiction," pp. 810-811; May 1, 2001, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Tulip Touch, p. 1610; June 1, 2002, Ilene Cooper, review of Up on Cloud Nine, p. 1716; November 15, 2002, Julie Cummins, review of The Jamie and Angus Stories, pp. 609-610; September 1, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of The True Story of Christmas, p. 133; May 1, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of Ruggles, pp. 1562-1563.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 1988, Roger Sutton, review of Alias Madame Doubtfire, p. 155; May, 1989, Roger Sutton, review of My War with Goggle-Eyes, p. 222; February, 1992, p. 154; May, 1996, pp. 299-300; September, 1997, Deborah Stevenson, review of The Tulip Touch, pp. 3-4.

Growing Point, September, 1980, Margery Fisher, review of The Stone Menagerie, p. 3756; September, 1987, Margery Fisher, review of Madame Doubtfire, p. 4858; September, 1988; May, 1990, Margery Fisher, review of The Summer-House Loon and The Other, Darker Ned, pp. 5343-5344.

Horn Book, October, 1983, Nancy C. Hammond, review of The Granny Project, p. 573; March-April, 1992, Hanna B. Zeiger, review of The Book of the Banshee, p. 209; September-October, 1997, pp. 568-569; July-August, 2002, Peter D. Sieruta, review of Up on Cloud Nine, pp. 459-460; January-February, 2003, Susan P. Bloom, review of The Jamie and Angus Stories, pp. 71-72; November-December, 2003, Martha V. Parravano, review of The True Story of Christmas, p. 743; January-February, 2004, Christine M. Heppermann, "The Jamie and Angus Stories " (includes transcript of Fine's Boston Globe/Horn Book acceptance speech), pp. 27-31.

Junior Bookshelf, August, 1978, Marcus Crouch, review of The Summer-House Loon, pp. 202-203; October, 1996, p. 200.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2002, review of Up on Cloud Nine, p. 732; August 1, 2002, review of The Jamie and Angus Stories, p. 1128; November 1, 2003, review of The True Story of Christmas, p. 1316; March 15, 2004, review of Ruggles, p. 268.

Kliatt, September, 1999, p. 16.

Magpies, March, 1997, Joan Zahnleiter, review of The Tulip Touch, p. 36.

New Statesman, December 2, 1983, Charles Fox, "Beyond Tact," p. 26.

New York Times, March 27, 1987, p. 21.

New York Times Book Review, May 1, 1988, Mark Geller, review of Alias Madame Doubtfire, p. 34.

Publishers Weekly, March 21, 1994, review of Flour Babies, p. 73; June 17, 2002, review of Up on Cloud Nine, pp. 65-66; July 29, 2002, review of The Jamie and Angus Stories, p. 72; September 22, 2003, review of The True Story of Christmas, p. 72.

Quill & Quire, June, 1995, pp. 60-61.

School Library Journal, May 1989, Susan Schuller, review of My War with Goggle-Eyes, p. 104; December, 1991, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of The Book of the Banshee, pp. 135-136; June, 1996, Julie Cummins, review of Step by Wicked Step, pp. 121-122; July, 2001, June, 2002, Carol A. Edwards, review of Up on Cloud Nine, pp. 137-138; September, 2002, Cathie Bashaw Morton, review of The Jamie and Angus Stories, p. 190; October, 2003, Susan Patron, review of The True Story of Christmas, p. 63.

Spectator, July 4, 1987.

Times Educational Supplement, June 3, 1988, Chris Powling, "Relative Values," p. 49.

Times Literary Supplement, July 7, 1978, Peter Hollindale, "Teenage Tensions," p. 767; November 20, 1981.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 1996, Jamie S. Hansen, review of Step by Wicked Step, p. 156.

ONLINE

Anne Fine Web site, http://www.annefine.co.uk (April 25, 2005).

Children's Laureate Web site, http://www.childrenslaureate.org/ (April 25, 2005), "The Second Laureate."

My Home Library Web site, http://www.myhomelibrary.org (July 15, 2005).

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"Fine, Anne 1947-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Fine, Anne 1947-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/fine-anne-1947