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Davies, Nicola 1958- (Stevie Morgan)

Davies, Nicola 1958- (Stevie Morgan)

Personal

Born May 3, 1958, in Birmingham, England; daughter of William Howard Davies and Beryl Rona Morgan; married Mark Harrison, July 21, 1984 (divorced December 19, 1997); children: Joseph, Gabriel. Education: Kings College, Cambridge, degree (zoology; with honours). Hobbies and other interests: Films, cartoons.

Addresses

Home—Holkworthy, Somerset, England. Agent—Lizzy Kremer, David Higham Associates, 5-8 Lower John St., Golden Square, London W1F 9HA, England. E-mail—nicola.davies@btinternet.com.

Career

Freelance broadcaster and writer. British Broadcasting Corporation, London, England, researcher for Natural History Unit, then host of The Really Wild Show. Freelance author. Bath Spa University College, Bath, England, associate lecturer in creative writing.

Awards, Honors

Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor, for Surprising Sharks; Branford Boase Award shortlist, 2006, for Home; Blue Peter Book Award shortlist, 2006, for Poop.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Wild about Dolphins, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable, illustrated by Neal Layton, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Ice Bear: In the Steps of the Polar Bear, illustrated by Gary Blythe, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

Home (novel), Walker (London, England), 2005.

Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth, illustrated by Neal Layton, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

White Owl, Barn Owl, illustrated by Michael Foreman, Walker (London, England), 2007.

What's Eating You?: Parasites—The Inside Story, illustrated by Neal Layton, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

Also author of television scripts.

"READ AND WONDER" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Big Blue Whale, illustrated by Nick Maland, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1997.

Bat Loves the Night, illustrated by Sarah Fox-Davies, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

One Tiny Turtle, illustrated by Jane Chapman, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Surprising Sharks, illustrated by James Croft, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

"KINGFISHER YOUNG KNOWLEDGE" SERIES; FOR CHILDREN

Birds, Kingfisher (Boston, MA), 2003.

Oceans and Seas, Kingfisher (Boston, MA), 2004.

Deserts, Kingfisher (Boston, MA), 2005.

FOR ADULTS; UNDER PSEUDONYM STEVIE MORGAN

Delphinium Blues, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1999.

Fly away Peter, Flame (London, England), 1999.

Checking Out, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2002.

Columnist for London Independent; contributor to periodicals.

Adaptations

Poop was the basis of an exhibition staged at the Rothchilds Museum, 2005.

Sidelights

Trained as a zoologist and working for several years as a television host for England's British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Nicola Davies is known for her ability to introduce the natural world and its fascinating creatures to picture-book audiences. Her works, which include One Tiny Turtle, Wild about Dolphins, Bat Loves the Night, and Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth, as well as the humorous Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable, pair an engaging text with interesting facts, sparking young readers' interests in topics ranging from zoology and oceanography to ecology. Noting that "Davies has a poet's touch with metaphor," Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Online essayist Carolyn LaMontagne added that in all the author's work "narration and exposition flow together to create ideal books for young children eager to learn more about the natural world." While many of Davies' books for children feature both a simple story and useful information, she has also moved into fiction with the children's novel Home.

Davies' many interests are evident in Big Blue Whale, part of the "Read and Wonder" series and a look at one of Earth's most majestic animals. In the book Davies presents facts and anecdotes ranging from the texture of the blue whale's skin to its diet. "Conversational text and soft, crosshatched pen-and-ink illustrations ebb and flow in a fluid look at the largest mammal ever to inhabit the earth," noted a Kirkus Reviews critic, the reviewer adding that Davies' "unassuming book is teeming with new discoveries upon each rereading." Ellen Fader, writing in Horn Book, maintained that Big Blue Whale "offers young readers exactly what they want to know about this magnificent animal." In her Booklist review, Ellen Mandel predicted that Big Blue Whale "will definitely satisfy youngsters' curiosity."

Other books Davies has contributed to the "Read and Wonder" series include Bat Loves the Night, One Tiny Turtle, and Surprising Sharks. Featuring illustrations by Sarah Fox-Davies, Bat Loves the Night follows a pipistrelle bat as she embarks for an evening of hunting insects and darting through the landscape, using her internal sonar as a guide. Through her simple story, Davies helps young children understand that a seemingly frightening creature such as a bat is in fact a dedicated parent and an exciting participant in the after-dark world, as well as a helpful consumer of mosquitoes. In One Tiny Turtle, the life cycle of an elusive loggerhead turtle unfolds through text and drawings, from the turtle's hatching and first dangerous toddle across the beach to the ocean, to her months hiding in a clump of driftwood, to her triumphant return, thirty years later, to the beach where she first hatched. Davies shows how loggerheads are able to travel thousands of miles through ocean currents and, by some unerring instinct, return to the location of their births. In Booklist Gillian Engberg called Bat Loves the Night "an enticing picture book," and School Library Journal critic Cynde Marcengill cited Davies for her "excellent writing." A Publishers Weekly critic praised the same work for its "enigmatic beauty" in both prose and illustration. Reviewing One Tiny Turtle, a Publishers Weekly critic noted the author's "accomplished storytelling," while a Reading Teacher reviewer dubbed the work "an outstanding read-aloud book." Hazel Rochman, reviewing One Tiny Turtle for Booklist, wrote that Davies' "simple, lyrical words … convey … astonishing facts."

In Surprising Sharks Davies works with illustrator James Croft to help dispel the shark's fearsome reputation as a predator of human beings. In what Horn Book contributor Danielle J. Ford described as "informative yet humorous writing," the author joins with the illustrator to show that shark species come in many different sizes and shapes. In her text, Davies also assures young readers that only three of the 500-odd species of sharks have actually been known to attack people. Reviewing the work for Booklist, Todd Morning called Surprising Sharks "solid nonfiction on a popular subject," and Lynda Ritterman wrote in her School Library Journal review that the book's "interesting facts … should help this title make a splash." "Rarely do author and illustrator complement each other as perfectly as in this undersea jewel," concluded a Kirkus Reviews contributor.

A childhood fascination with dolphins led Davies to pursue a career in zoology, and as a young adult she worked with dolphin study teams in Newfoundland and the Indian Ocean. Her book Wild about Dolphins recounts her experiences during those expeditions while also introducing readers to dolphin anatomy, behavior, and ecology. Patricia Manning, reviewing the book for School Library Journal, suggested that youngsters "will find themselves entranced by the eager enthusiasm that pours from the pages." In Booklist, Ilene Cooper deemed Wild about Dolphins "energetic" and concluded that children interested in the marine mammals "will page through this with glee."

In White Owl, Barn Owl Davies weaves interesting facts about owl pellets, territorial avian behavior, and a long list of barn-owl facts within her story about a young child who helps Grandfather puts a nest-box high in an oak tree hear the family home. Checking the box one spring evening, the two are greeted by a pair of large owl eyes peering out into the dusk. Davies' "poetic, sensory" text will inspire readers' "interest in these intriguing animals," according to Booklist contributor Gillian

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

Engberg. Betty Carter wrote in her Horn Book review of the work that Davies' many facts "smoothly complement the story," and each part of the book—fictional story and nonfiction reference—can be read independently." Citing illustrator Michael Foreman's "lovely watercolor and pastel paintings," Margaret Bush predicted in her School Library Journal review that White Owl, Barn Owl "will be enjoyed widely for personal reading" as well as research.

In what Rochman described as a "chatty, funny text," Extreme Animals introduces readers to a variety of creatures, all of which are capable of surviving in conditions that would kill most humans. Davies takes readers from harsh deserts and the dark depths of the sea to the sulfurous surface of volcanoes and the frigid polar regions, locations where cold-blooded frogs, water-toting camels, sulfur-eating microorganisms, and other creatures make quite comfortable homes. In her text, Davies compares these hardy critters with the weakling homo sapiens, adding an element of humor to a work that Rochman predicted would make biology "exciting" for young students. Another picture book that combines fact and fiction, Ice Bear: In the Steps of the Polar Bear takes a closer look at one of these hardy creatures through the fictional narrative of an Inuit. Praising illustrator Gary Blythe for contributing "impressionistic oil paintings of stunning polar settings," Booklist reviewer Jennifer Mattson deemed Ice Bear an "inviting" work, and Amelia Jenkins praised Davies' "quiet, thoughtful book" for treating polar bears as animals rather than anthropomorphized creatures.

In Poop, a subject of perennial fascination to many children is discussed openly. Grounding her description of the whys, wheres, and hows of animal defecation in scientific terms, Davies posits poop as the ultimate in recycling. She also includes an intriguing list of "Poop Facts," and further engages readers with humorous chapter headings that School Library Journal contributor Blair Christolon predicted would "bring a smile to many faces." In Kirkus Reviews a contributor deemed Poop a "breezy introduction" to the many facts—including uses—for the surprisingly useful substance, and Betty Carter noted in Horn Book that Poop takes its subject "out of the sewers and into the scientific community where it belongs." Expressing appreciation that the book features illustrations rather than photographs, Cooper noted that artist Neal Layton's characteristically "clever ink-and-watercolor cartoons go for big laughs," and a Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the book's "slap-dash cartoons mine the scatological humor of the subject."

Although Davies has also produced several novels for adults under the pseudonym Stevie Morgan, she does most of her writing for young readers. She also teaches creative writing at the college level. As she once told SATA: "I am interested in communication: communication about zoology, about science and about how we as humans experience and interpret our existence. I'm convinced that art and science are all part of the same picture and can contribute enormously to each other. It's the crossovers and combinations of fields of interest that motivate me in life and work."

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 1, 1997, Ellen Mandel, review of Big Blue Whale, p. 128; September 1, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Bat Loves the Night, p. 114; November 1, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of Wild about Dolphins, p. 471; December 1, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of One Tiny Turtle, p. 656; October 15, 2003, Todd Morning, review of Surprising Sharks, p. 413; October 15, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable, p. 400; December 1, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of Ice Bear: In the Steps of the Polar Bear, p. 55; December 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Extreme Animals: The Toughest Creatures on Earth, p. 58; May 15, 2007, Gillian Engberg, review of White Owl, Barn Owl, p. 53.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 1997, review of Big Blue Whale, p. 48; October, 2001, review of Wild about Dolphins, p. 53; November, 2001, review of One Tiny Turtle, p. 99; December, 2001, review of Bat Loves the Night, p. 135; February, 2004, Karen Coats, review of Surprising Sharks, p. 227; November, 2004, Deborah Stevenson, review of Poop, p. 118.

Horn Book, May-June, 1997, Ellen Fader, review of Big Blue Whale, pp. 338-339; January-February, 2004, Danielle J. Ford, review of Surprising Sharks, p. 99; September-October, 2004, Betty Carter, review of Poop, p. 605; January-February, 2006, Betty Carter, review of Ice Bear, p. 97; January-February, 2007, Danielle J. Ford, review of Extreme Animals, p. 81; July-August, 2007, Betty Carter, review of White Owl, Barn Owl, p. 411.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1997, review of Big Blue Whale, pp. 871-872; August 1, 2001, review of Bat Loves the Night, p. 1120; September 15, 2003, review of One Tiny Turtle, p. 1210; September 15, 2003, review of Surprising Sharks, p. 1173; August 15, 2004, review of Poop, p. 804; November 15, 2005, review of Ice Bear, p. 1230; August 15, 2006, review of Extreme Animals, p. 838.

New York Times Book Review, March 10, 2002, review of Bat Loves the Night, p. 20.

Publishers Weekly, August 13, 2001, review of One Tiny Turtle, p. 312; November 12, 2001, "Natural Wonders," p. 62; August 30, 2004, review of Poop, p. 55.

Reading Teacher, October, 2002, Cyndi Giorgis and Nancy J. Johnson, "Living Creatures," p. 200; November, 2002, review of One Tiny Turtle, p. 257.

School Library Journal, September, 2001, Cynde Marcengill, review of Bat Loves the Night, p. 187; October, 2001, Patricia Manning, review of Wild about Dolphins, p. 182; December, 2001, Margaret Bush, review of One Tiny Turtle, p. 120; October, 2003, Lynda Ritterman, review of Surprising Sharks, p. 148; De- cember, 2004, Blair Christolon, review of Poop, p. 128; June, 2005, Kathy Piehl, review of Deserts, p. 136; February, 2006, Amelia Jenkins, review of Ice Bear, p. 95; December, 2006, Cynde Suite, review of Extreme Animals, p. 161; July, 2007, Margaret Bush, review of White Owl, Barn Owl, p. 89.

ONLINE

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Online,http://bbcb.lis.uiuc.edu/ (February 1, 2004), Carolyn LaMontagne, "Nicola Davies."

Candlewick Press Web site,http://www.candlewick.com/ (December 9, 2003), "Nicola Davies."

David Higham Associates Web site,http://www.davidhigham.co.uk/ (August 27, 2007), "Nicola Davies."

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"Davies, Nicola 1958- (Stevie Morgan)." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Davies, Nicola 1958- (Stevie Morgan)." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/davies-nicola-1958-stevie-morgan

"Davies, Nicola 1958- (Stevie Morgan)." Something About the Author. . Retrieved November 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/davies-nicola-1958-stevie-morgan

Davies, Nicola 1958-

DAVIES, Nicola 1958-

(Stevie Morgan)

Personal

Born May 3, 1958, in Birmingham, England; daughter of William Howard Davies and Beryl Rona Morgan; married Mark Harrison, July 21, 1984 (divorced December 19, 1997); children: Joseph, Gabriel. Education: Kings College, Cambridge, UK, honors degree (zoology).

Addresses

Home Luckleigh Cottage, Hockworthy, Wellington, Somerset TA21 0NN, England. Agent Celia Catchpole, 56 Gilpin Ave., East Sheen, London. E-mail nicola.davies@btinternet.com.

Career

Freelance broadcaster and writer. Writes newspaper column for The Independent under the pseudonym Stevie Morgan.

Writings

Big Blue Whale, illustrated by Nick Maland, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1997.

Bat Loves the Night, illustrated by Sarah Fox-Davies, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

One Tiny Turtle, illustrated by Jane Chapman, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Wild about Dolphins, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

Birds, Kingfisher (Boston, MA), 2003.

Surprising Sharks, illustrated by James Croft, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

Oceans and Seas, Kingfisher (Boston, MA), 2004.

for adults; under pseudonym stevie morgan

Delphinium Blues, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1999.

Fly Away Peter, Flame (London, England), 1999.

Checking Out, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2002.

Sidelights

Nicola Davies is known for her ability to introduce topics about the natural world and its fascinating creatures to picture book audiences. Her works such as One Tiny Turtle, Surprising Sharks, and Bat Loves the Night combine lyrical narrative, hard facts, and artistic illustrations to spark young readers' interests in zoology, oceanography, and ecology. Having worked herself as a wildlife biologist tracking dolphin populations, Davies brings firsthand enthusiasm to her works as well as knowledge gleaned from the field.

Davies once told SATA: "I am interested in communicationcommunication about zoology, about science and about how we as humans experience and interpret our existence. I'm convinced that art and science are all part of the same picture and can contribute enormously to each other. It's the crossovers and combinations of fields of interest that motivate me in life and work."

The author's multiplicity of interests is evident in Big Blue Whale, Davies's highly regarded look at one of earth's most majestic animals. The book is filled with facts and anecdotes ranging from the texture of the blue whale's skin to its diet. "Conversational text and soft, crosshatched pen-and-ink illustrations ebb and flow in a fluid look at the largest mammal ever to inhabit the earth," noted a Kirkus Reviews critic, who added: "This unassuming book is teeming with new discoveries upon each rereading." Ellen Fader, writing in Horn Book, maintained that Big Blue Whale "offers young readers exactly what they want to know about this magnificent animal." Booklist reviewer Ellen Mandel concluded that Big Blue Whale "will definitely satisfy youngsters' curiosity."

Davies drew similar warm reviews for Bat Loves the Night. The picture book follows a pipistrelle bat as she embarks for an evening of hunting insects and darting through the landscape, using her internal sonar as a guide. Gillian Engberg in Booklist called the work "an enticing picture book attractive [and] well-written." School Library Journal correspondent Cynde Marcengill also felt that the book is "distinguished by excellent writing." Davies succeeds in helping young children to understand that a seemingly frightening creature such as a bat is in fact a dedicated parent and an exciting participant in the nighttime world, as well as a helpful consumer of mosquitoes. A Publishers Weekly critic

praised Bat Loves the Night for its "enigmatic beauty" in both prose and illustration.

In One Tiny Turtle, the life cycle of an elusive loggerhead turtle unfolds through text and drawings, from the turtle's hatching and first dangerous toddle across the beach to the ocean, to her months hiding in a clump of driftwood, to her triumphant return, thirty years later, to the beach where she first hatched. Davies shows how loggerheads can travel thousands of miles through ocean currents and yet, by some unerring instinct, return to the location of their births. A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised the picture book for its "accomplished storytelling," while Cyndi Giorgis and Nancy J. Johnson in Reading Teacher liked the "scientific fact written in poetic form." Another Reading Teacher reviewer thought that One Tiny Turtle works as "an outstanding read-aloud book," and Hazel Rochman in Booklist noted that the work's "simple, lyrical words convey astonishing facts."

A childhood fascination with dolphins led Davies to pursue a career in zoology, and as a young adult she worked with dolphin study teams in Newfoundland and the Indian Ocean. Wild about Dolphins is a memoir of those expeditions, as well as an introduction to dolphin anatomy, behavior, and ecology. Patricia Manning in School Library Journal suggested that youngsters "will find themselves entranced by the eager enthusiasm that pours from the pages." In Booklist, Ilene Cooper called Wild about Dolphins "energetic" and concluded that children interested in the marine mammals "will page through this with glee."

A similar personal/scientific sensitivity animates Surprising Sharks, a book that helps to dispel the shark's fearsome reputation as a predator of human beings. Using text and comparative illustrations, Davies shows the many different sizes and shapes of sharks and notes that only three of the 500-odd species of sharks have actually been known to attack people. Booklist contributor Todd Morning called Surprising Sharks "solid nonfiction on a popular subject," and Lynda Ritterman concluded in School Library Journal that the book's "interesting facts should help this title make a splash."

Davies lives in Great Britain, where she also writes adult fiction under the pseudonym Stevie Morgan. Her novels for adults deal with relationship and child-rearing topics and stem from her painful divorce and her personal efforts to restore herself through humor and creative writing. Davies lives in an English cottage. In the evenings she enjoys watching the pipistrelle bats that nest in her roof.

Biographical and Critical Sources

periodicals

Booklist, September 1, 1997, Ellen Mandel, review of Big Blue Whale, p. 128; September 1, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Bat Loves the Night, p. 114; November 1, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of Wild about Dolphins, p. 471; December 1, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of One Tiny Turtle, p. 656; October 15, 2003, Todd Morning, review of Surprising Sharks, p. 413.

Horn Book, May-June, 1997, Ellen Fader, review of Big Blue Whale, pp. 338-339.

Independent (London, England), Hilly Janes, "Family Affair: Divorce Is Like Death," p. 8.

Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1997, review of Big Blue Whale, pp. 871-72.

New York Times Book Review, March 10, 2002, review of Bat Loves the Night, p. 20.

Publishers Weekly, August 13, 2001, review of One Tiny Turtle, p. 312; November 12, 2001, "Natural Wonders," p. 62.

Reading Teacher, October, 2002, Cyndi Giorgis and Nancy J. Johnson, "Living Creatures," p. 200; November, 2002, review of One Tiny Turtle, p. 257.

School Library Journal, September, 2001, Cynde Marcengill, review of Bat Loves the Night, p. 187; October, 2001, Patricia Manning, review of Wild about Dolphins, p. 182; December, 2001, Margaret Bush, review of One Tiny Turtle, p. 120; October, 2003, Lynda Ritterman, review of Surprising Sharks, p. 148.

online

Candlewick Press, http://www.candlewick.com/ (December 9, 2003), "Nicola Davies."

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Davies, Nicola 1958-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Davies, Nicola 1958-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 23, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/davies-nicola-1958

"Davies, Nicola 1958-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved November 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/davies-nicola-1958