Anholt, Laurence 1959-

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ANHOLT, Laurence 1959-


PERSONAL: Born August 4, 1959, in London, England; son of Gerald Simon (an artist) and Joan (a teacher; maiden name, Pickford) Anholt; married Catherine Hogarty (an illustrator and writer), July, 1984; children: Claire, Tom and Madeline (twins). Education: Attended Epsom School of Art and Design, 1976-77; Falmouth School of Art, B.A. (with honors), 1982; Royal Academy of Art, M.A., 1987.


ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Penguin Putnam, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014. E-mail— [email protected]


CAREER: Self-employed carpenter/joiner, London, England, 1983-84; freelance writer and illustrator of children's books, 1987—; art teacher in secondary school, Oxford, England, 1988-89. Part-time education teacher at Swindon School of Art and West Dean College, 1990—.


AWARDS, HONORS: Named one of Independent on Sunday's Top Ten UK Children's Authors; What I Like named among Children's Book Foundation Books of the Year, 1991; Gold Smarties Award, 1999, for Snow White and the Seven Aliens, 2001, for Chimp and Zee; Kids' Club Network Award; three Right Start Toy and Book awards; two Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award winners; two English Association Four-to-Eleven awards; Sainsbury Baby Book Award; Experian Big-3 Book Prize, Nottinghamshire Children's Book Award; Smithsonian Institute highly recommended designation; Sheffield Children's Book Award; Blue Peter Book Award, BBC, for Eco-Wolf and the Three Pigs.


WRITINGS:


with wife, catherine anholt; illustrated by catherine anholt, except as noted


Truffles' Day in Bed, Methuen (London, England), 1987, published as Truffles Is Sick, Little Brown (Boston, MA), 1987.

Truffles in Trouble, Joy Street Books (Boston, MA), 1987.

Chaos at Cold Custard Farm, Methuen (London, England), 1988.

When I Was a Baby, Joy Street Books (Boston, MA), 1988.

Tom's Rainbow Walk, Heinemann (London, England), 1989.

The Snow Fairy and the Spaceman, Dell (New York, NY), 1990.

Aren't You Lucky! Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1990.

What I Like, Putnam (New York, NY), 1991.

Going to Playgroup, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Going to Playground, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1992.

The Twins: Two by Two, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992.

Can You Guess? Frances Lincoln, 1992.

All about You, Viking (New York, NY), 1992.

Kids, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992.

Tiddlers, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1993.

Bear and Baby, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1993.

(And illustrator) Camille and the Sunflowers: A Story about Vincent van Gogh, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 1994.

Come Back, Jack! Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1994.

One, Two, Three, Count with Me, Viking (New York, NY), 1994.

What Makes Me Happy? Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1995.

Sun, Snow, Stars, Sky, Viking (New York, NY), 1995.

Here Come the Babies, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1995.

The New Puppy, Artists and Writers Guild (New York, NY), 1995.

Bear Skates, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1995.

(And illustrator) Degas and the Little Dancer: A Story about Edgar Degas, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 1996.

Knee-high Norman, illustrated by Arthur Robins, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.

The Magpie Song, illustrated by Dan Williams, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1996.

Cinderboy, illustrated by Arthur Robins, Orchard (New York, NY), 1997.

Eco-Wolf and the Three Pigs, illustrated by Arthur Robins, Orchard (New York, NY), 1997.

First Words and Pictures, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1996.

A Kiss like This, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 1997.

(And illustrator) Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 1998.

Catherine and Laurence Anholt's Big Book of Families, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.

Silly Jack and the Bean Stack, illustrated by Arthur Robins, Meadowbrook Press (Minnetonka, MN), 1999.

Summerhouse, illustrated by Lynne Russell, DK Publishers (New York, NY), 1999.

Bill and the Big New School Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 1999.

The Emperor's New Underwear, illustrated by Arthur Robins, Meadowbrook Press (Minnetonka, MN), 1999.

Stone Girl, Bone Girl: The Story of Mary Anning, illustrated by Sheila Moxley, Orchard (New York, NY), 1999.

Tina the Tiniest Girl, illustrated by Tony Ross, Orchard (New York, NY), 1999.

Little Red Riding Wolf, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

Ghostyshocks and the Three Scares, illustrated by Arthur Robins, Orchard (New York, NY), 2000.

(And illustrator) Leonardo and the Flying Boy, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 2000.

Harry's Home, Farrar Straus Giroux (New York, NY), 2000.

Sophie and the New Baby, Whitman (Morton Grove, IL), 2000.

Chimp and Zee, Penguin Putnam (New York, NY), 2001.

I Like Me, I Like You, illustrated by Adriano Gon, DK Publishers (New York, NY), 2001.

(And illustrator) The Child's Gift of Art, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 2002.

Jack and the Dream Sack, illustrated by Ross Collins, Bloomsbury Publishing (New York, NY), 2003.

(And illustrator) Magical Garden of Claude Monet, Barron's Educational (Hauppauge, NY), 2003.

Monkey around with Chimp and Zee, Penguin Putnam (New York, NY), 2002.

Chimp and Zee's Noisy Book, Penguin Putnam (New York, NY), 2002.

Chimp and Zee and the Big Storm, Penguin Putnam (New York, NY), 2002.


other


(And illustrator) The Forgotten Forest, Sierra Book Club (San Francisco, CA), 1992.


SIDELIGHTS: Laurence Anholt is a British writer and illustrator for children, author of over fifty picture books in collaboration with his wife, illustrator Catherine Anholt, and others. Among his most popular team efforts with his wife is the "Chimp and Zee" series, winner of the prestigious Gold Smarties Award in 2001. Working with illustrator Arthur Robins, Anholt has also produced a number of humorous take-offs on the standard fairy tale repertoire, including Silly Jack and the Bean Stack and The Emperor's New Underwear. Anholt once told CA: "Almost all the titles listed have been produced with my wife, Catherine. People are often confused about which one of us writes and which one illustrates. In general, Catherine does the illustration and I do the writing, but there are one or two exceptions, for example, The Forgotten Forest, which I illustrated and wrote. . . . Just to make things more complicated, I did not use my name as a writer until 1991 because I was still primarily working as a teacher and wanted to keep the writing as a separate activity. Our titles published before this date are therefore in Catherine's name only."

Anholt's background contributes to his abilities as a children's book writer and illustrator. "I was born in London, but spent much of my childhood in Holland as my father's family is Dutch," the author told CA. "My father has painted on and off for many years and for me it seemed only natural to follow in his footsteps. I spent eight years at art school and it was not until much later that I began writing seriously. I still spend a lot of time working on my painting and teach painting classes at Adult Education Centers."

In 1984, Anholt married illustrator and writer Catherine Hogarty. "Catherine and I have three children: Claire, and twins Tom and Madeline. All the ideas for our books come from our day-to-day experiences with the family and we often test ideas on the children to see how they respond. In fact one of our . . . projects, The Twins: Two by Two, is really about our own twins."

Though his publishing career began in 1987 in joint projects under his wife's name, Anholt's first title under his own name was the 1991 What I Like, "one of the simplest books that we have worked on," the author recalled. "Again, the idea came from listening to our children talking. At first the idea seemed too simple and I had to resist the temptation to complicate it by adding a story or more text. However, in the end it is the simplicity which makes it direct and, in this country, the book was recently selected one of the Children's Book Foundation Books of the Year. I think this lesson on simplicity, or, more to the point, economy, is one of the hardest to learn, but it is there in much of the literature and art that I admire." Reviewing that title in School Library Journal, Virginia Opocensky praised the "cheerful watercolor cartoons and rhyming text" which lists likes and dislikes of a half-dozen children. Booklist's Hazel Rochman also lauded the "strong and subtle" text.

Anholt's first solo effort, The Forgotten Forest, has an eco-message. The forests of the world have all but disappeared and only one small, fenced-in patch remains. When bulldozers come to knock the trees down to make way for new buildings, children gather to watch. However the crew changes their mind at the last moment, and knock down the fence instead, then begin planting new trees. Anna Biagioni Hart, writing in School Library Journal, thought the art is better than the text in this picture book and commended the colors that "wash the pages with good feeling." A reviewer for Junior Bookshelf, however, enjoyed the "good surprise happy ending" of Anholt's "fable."

Anholt has also created a number of concept books, such as One, Two, Three, Count with Me, a blend of counting, size, days of the week, colors, and parts of the body. Booklist reviewer Rochman called this a "joyful concept book." Sun, Snow, Stars, Sky introduces the seasons, while What Makes Me Happy deals with emotions. Reviewing the latter title, Horn Book's Margaret A. Bush thought it was "at once simple and beautifully conceived as both a celebration of daily life and a means of helping children to recognize and name their feelings." Booklist's Rochman, reviewing the same title, noted that the Anholts "once again dramatize the small child's daily life."

New schools, puppies, and dogs take center stage in other books from the Anholts. Fear of the new inspires the concept book Billy and the Big New School, a "poignant but reassuring treatment of the anxiety a child feels facing the first day at a new school," according to a contributor for Publishers Weekly. Fearful of his first day, Billy learns a lesson from a sparrow he rescues and then sets free. "Reading this story is a reassuring way to help children talk about their anxieties," wrote Rochman in a Booklist review. Elizabeth Bush, writing in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, felt that though "the bird analogy is a bit labored," readers will still "understand the metaphor and welcome the reassurance of the Anholts' gentle tale." Shelley Woods, reviewing the same title in School Library Journal, likewise felt the book will "disipate children's fears about starting school." Fear of leaving home is addressed in Harry's Home, in which the young urban dweller leaves his mother for the first time to visit his grandfather on a small farm. Booklist's Rochman once again lauded the Anholts' work, noting that children would find satisfaction in this tale recognizing "their own discovery of differences." For Rochman, the "pleasure [of the book] is in the loving particulars of place." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly thought the Anholts "create warm picture postcards of both country and city life in this picture book about the meaning of home." And Miriam Lang Budin, writing in School Library Journal, called the same story a "very satisfying adventure . . . [with] plenty of child appeal."

Stories of puppies and new babies have also won favorable critical response for Anholt. Young Anna has a passion for dogs in The New Puppy, but when her father gets her a puppy named Tess, she learns that having a puppy can also be a big responsibility. Tess makes a mess on the floor and chews Anna's slippers, but after scolding the animal, she hears it crying in the middle of the night and comforts it. Leone McDermott, writing in Booklist, found that this "engaging story is gently instructive without preachiness," while Betsy Hearne, writing in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, concluded that "story and art share a traditional coziness with just enough mischief to keep things lively." With Sophie's New Baby, the Anholts "synchronize the cycle of life with the rhythms of the seasons," according to a contributor for Publishers Weekly. Sophie's mood is as black as the winter storms when her little brother first arrives, but over the course of the year she grows to love the new arrival. The same contributor felt that the author and illustrator "convincingly depict Sophie's maturation" in this "heartwarming" picture book. Martha Topol, reviewing the tale in School Library Journal, thought that the "changing of the seasons gives great supporting structure and expanded definition to the story."

Families are at the center of Catherine and Laurence Anholt's Big Book of Families, in which the collaborators celebrate domestic life in their "signature style," according to Rochman in a Booklist review, with "simple chanting verse and lots of small clear individual ink-and-watercolor scenarios." All sorts of families are pictured: small ones and sprawling extended ones; families at play and work. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly felt that the collection, with its "rollicking and sweet" short poems, "pays homage to families of various configurations and personalities."

Working solo, Anholt has also written several picture books about artists. Camille and the Sunflowers tells a story of Vincent van Gogh's stay in the south of France. Partly based on real information, the tale concerns the family who helped newcomer van Gogh out with their furniture and friendship; van Gogh in turn painted members of the family. Using his own artwork as well as reproductions of van Gogh's actual paintings, Anholt presents a "sad tale," according to Carolyn Jenks in School Library Journal, and one that can "provide a greater understanding of this gifted, troubled man." Sheila Holligan, reviewing the title in School Librarian, felt that the "pictures are equally as important as words in this delightful book." Painter and sculptor Edgar Degas is featured in Degas and the Little Dancer, a story that helps explain the statue of the same name. Anholt tells the story of the young ballerina who inspired Degas's work. Frances Ball, writing in School Librarian, felt that the book "provides a delightful introduction to seeing a stature rather than just looking at it." Pablo Picasso receives a similar treatment in Picasso and the Girl with a Pony Tail, which is "beautifully illustrated and engagingly told," according to Kit Spring in the Observer. And Leonardo da Vinci also comes under the Anholts' scrutiny in Leonardo and the Flying Boy, a "cleverly executed and engaging account," as a reviewer for Publishers Weekly described the book. The same reviewer found this account a "fun-filled and accessible introduction." The story of young Zoro and how he worked with da Vinci on his flying machine, the book is an "attractive starting point for youngsters learning about Leonardo's work for the first time," according to Booklist's Gillian Engberg.

A change of pace for Anholt is 1999's Stone Girl, Bone Girl, the story of young British fossil hunter Mary Anning, who helped to advance dinosaur studies with her discovery of an ichthyosaur skeleton when she was just twelve years old. Janice M. Del Negro, writing in Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, thought that Anholt "capably tells the early life story of the fossil-hunting Mary" in this picture-book biography. Booklist's Ilene Cooper found Mary Anning to be a "wonderfully fresh topic for a book," and concluded that the book "works well as biography and history . . . [and] is also a fine piece of storytelling."

One of Anholt's most popular creations, in collaboration with his wife, is the "Chimp and Zee" series. The stories recount the adventures of two mischievous monkeys and their mother, Mumkey. In the first outing, Chimp and Zee, the eponymous heroes are separated from Mumkey while shopping for bananas, but manage to end up back home. Reviewing that title in School Library Journal, Rachel Fox felt that "youngsters should enjoy the story and the oversized, action-packed pictures." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly also had praise for the book, noting that the Anholts "offer a decidedly old-fashioned but surely toddler-pleasing tale." The pair resume their adventures in Monkey around with Chimp and Zee and Chimp and Zee's Noisy Book. Olga R. Kuharets, writing in School Library Journal, pointed out that "babies and toddlers can easily follow these rhythmic texts." And in Chimp and Zee and the Big Storm, the monkey siblings are tired of being inside, but going outside on a windy day they are soon swept away. Finally Mumkey is able to catch up to the twins and snag one of their tails with an umbrella. Once again, Chimp and Zee pleased the reviewers. Diane Foote, writing inBooklist, felt that the "livley images, bright colors, and recognizable mischief make this a cheerful read—rain or shine."

Anholt elaborated for CA on the responsibilities inherent in becoming a children's book author: "When we work on a book we are always very aware of the responsibility that we have. Books are extremely influential. I was reminded of this recently when I bought an old children's anthology from a secondhand book store. It was a book I had loved as a child, but had not seen for more than twenty-five years. I was amazed to find how intimately I knew each story and illustration. I even found that my favorites and least favorites had remained the same. A young child enters into a book completely and, as they read and reread, it shapes the adult they become—and so the society they inhabit. I think it is essential, then, that children's writers and illustrators put a huge amount of care into what they say. I would like to think that our books help children to open their minds to issues of equality—gender and race—to environmental issues, but most of all I want children to get the message that books are fun—it is okay to enjoy yourself, there is plenty to be optimistic about, and the world is a good place to grow up in."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


periodicals


Booklist, September 1, 1991, Hazel Rochman, review of What I Like, p. 59; June 1, 1994, Hazel Rochman, review of One, Two Three, Count with Me, p. 1824; December 1, 1994, Hazel Rochman, review of Camille and the Sunflowers, p. 684; May 1, 1995, Hazel Rochman, review of What Makes Me Happy? p. 1578; May 15, 1995, Janice M. Del Negro, review of Sun, Snow, Stars, Sky, p. 1650; August, 1995, Leone McDermott, review of The New Puppy, p. 1954; December 15, 1998, Hazel Rochman, review of Catherine and Laurence Anholt's Big Book of Families, p. 753; February 1, 1999, Ilene Cooper, review of Stone Girl, Bone Girl, p. 974; February 15, 1999, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Summerhouse, p. 1074; March 1, 1999, Hazel Rochman, review of Billy and the Big New School, p. 1218; May 1, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of Harry's Home, p. 1675; September 15, 2000, Connie Fletcher, review of Sophie and the New Baby, p. 247; January 1, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Leonardo and the Flying Boy, p. 954; October 1, 2002, Diane Foote, review of Chimp and Zee and the Big Storm, p. 330.

Books for Keeps, November, 1992, review of Going to the Playgroup, p. 15; March, 1997, review of Cinderboy and Daft Jack and the Bean Stack, p. 22; July, 1999, review of Picasso and the Girl with a Pony Tail, p. 4.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July, 1995, Betsy Hearne, review of The New Puppy, p. 376; February, 1999, Janice M. Del Negro, review of Stone Girl, Bone Girl, p. 195; May, 1999, Elizabeth Bush, review of Billy and the Big New School, p. 307.

Horn Book, July-August, 1995, Margaret A. Bush, review of What Makes Me Happy? p. 447.

Junior Bookshelf, April, 1992, review of The Forgotten Forest, pp. 55-56; February, 1995, review of Camille and the Sunflowers, p. 7; August, 1996, review of Degas and the Little Dancer, p. 145.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2000, review of Sophie and the New Baby, p. 1418.

Magpies, November, 1992, Renya Spratt, review of Going to Playgroup, p. 26.

New York Times Book Review, November 21, 1999, Natalie Angier, review of Stone Girl, Bone Girl, p. 31.

Observer (London, England), December 13, 1998, Kit Spring, review of Picasso and the Girl with a Pony Tail, p. 16.

Publishers Weekly, November 23, 1998, review of Catherine and Laurence Anholt's Big Book of Families, p. 65; February 8, 1999, review of Billy and the Big New School, p. 213; March 15, 1999, review of Stone Girl, Bone Girl, p. 58; May 8, 2000, review of Harry's Home, p. 220; October 30, 2000, review of Sophie and the New Baby, p. 74; November 6, 2000, review of Leonardo and the Flying Boy, p. 90; July 30, 2001, review of Chimp and Zee, p. 83; July 15, 2002, review of Chimp and Zee and the Big Storm, p. 75.

School Librarian, May, 1995, Sheila Holligan, review of Camille and the Sunflowers, p. 57; August, 1996, Frances Ball, review of Degas and the Little Dancer, p. 98.

School Library Journal, December, 1991, Virginia Opocensky, review of What I Like, p. 78; April, 1992, Anna Biagioni Hart, review of The Forgotten Forest, p. 86; February, 1995, Carolyn Jenks, review of Camille and the Sunflowers, p. 72; December, 1998, Maura Bresnahan, review of Catherine and Laurence Anholt's Big Book of Families, p. 99; March, 1999, Shelley Woods, review of Billy and the Big New School, p. 162; April, 2000, Miriam Lang Budin, review of Harry's Home, p. 90; November, 2000, Martha Topol, review of Sophie and the New Baby, p. 110; February, 2001, Miriam Lang Budin, review of Leonardo and the Flying Boy, p. 92; October, 2001, Rachel Fox, review of Chimp and Zee, p. 104; April, 2002, Olga R. Kuharets, review of Chimp and Zee's Noisy Book, p. 100; September, 2002, Heather E. Miller, review of Chimp and Zee and the Big Storm, p. 180.


online


Catherine and Laurence Anholt Web site,http://www.anholt.co.uk (May 22, 2003).