Asquith, Ros

views updated



Born in Sussex, England; married John Fordham; children: two sons. Education: Camberwell Art School, B.A. (with honors).


Office—The Guardian, 119 Farringdon Rd., London EC1R 3ER, England. Agent—Rosemary Canter, Peter Fraser Dunlop, Inc., 34-43 Russell St., London WG2B 5HA, England. E-mail—[email protected].


Graphic designer and mural painter, 1973-77; City Limits, theatre editor, 1981-90; Time Out and Observer, London, England, theatre critic, 1976-90; Guardian, London, cartoonist, 1982—.


Society of Authors, British Cartoonists Association, Cartoon Art Trust, Critics Circle.



Baby!, Macdonald Optima (London, England), 1988.

Toddler!, Pandora Press (London, England), 1989.

I Was a Teenage Worrier, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 1989.

Babies!, Pandora Press (London, England), 1990.

Green!, Pandora Press (London, England), 1991.

I Was a Teenage Worrier: Dilemma Handbook, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 1992.

The Teenage Worrier's Friend: All-in-One Diary, Address Book, and Survival Kit, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 1993.

The Teenage Worrier's Guide to Lurve, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 1996.

The Teenage Worrier's Christmas Survival Guide, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 1996.

The Teenage Worrier's Guide to Life, Corgi (London, England), 1997.

The Teenage Worrier's Pocket Guide to Romance, Corgi (London, England), 1998.

The Teenage Worrier's Pocket Guide to Families, Corgi (London, England), 1998.

The Teenage Worrier's Pocket Guide to Mind and Body, Corgi (London, England), 1998.

The Teenage Worrier's Pocket Guide to Success, Corgi (London, England), 1998.

The Teenage Worrier's Worry Files, Corgi (London, England), 1999.

The Teenage Worrier's Panick Diary, Corgi (London, England), 2000.

Creator of comic strip "Doris," for Guardian newspaper.


Nora Normal and the Great Shark Rescue, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 1996.

Nora Normal and the Great Ghost Adventure, Hodder Children's Books (London, England), 1997.

Bad Hair Days, Orchard Books (London, England), 1997.

Keep Fat Class, Orchard Books (London, England), 1997.

Unbridled Passion, Orchard Books (London, England), 1998.

Make It Me, Orchard Books (London, England), 1998.

Ball!, illustrated by Sam Williams, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 1998.

My Do It!, illustrated by Sam Williams, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2000.

Trixie Tempest and the Amazing Talking Dog, Collins (London, England), 2003.

Trixie Tempest and the Ghost of St. Aubergine's, Collins (London, England), 2003.

Boo!, illustrated by Andi Good, HarperCollins (London, England), 2003.

Babies, illustrated by Sam Williams, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.

Drama Queen, Orchard Books (London, England), 2003.

The Love Bug, Orchard Books (London, England), 2003.

All for One, Orchard Books (London, England), 2003.

Frock Shock, Orchard Books (London, England), 2003.

Three's a Crowd, Orchard Books (London, England), 2003.

Mrs. Pig's Night Out, illustrated by Selina Young, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2003.

Trixie Tempest's ABZ of Life, Collins (London, England), 2004.

Also author of Pass the Parcel, Collins (London, England), and Trixie Tempest and the Witches' Academy, Collins.


(Contributor of photographs) Elizabeth Leyh, Concrete Sculpture in the Community, Institute for Social Enterprise (Boston, MA), 1980.

Angela Phillips, Your Body, Your Baby, Your Life, Pandora Press (London, England), 1983.

Diana Coles, The Clever Princess, Sheba Feminist (London, England), 1983.

Yvonne Coppard Quirk, Not Dressed like That, You Don't!, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 1991.

Yvonne Coppard Quirk, Everybody Else Does! Why Can't I?: More Diaries of a Teenager, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 1992.

Amanda Cuthbert and Angela Holford, The Briefcase and the Baby: A Nanny and Mother's Handbook, Mandarin (London, England), 1992.

Nick Fisher, Inside Men's Minds, Piccadilly Press (London, England), 1992.

Dick King-Smith, Dirty Gertie Mackintosh, Corgi (London, England), 1996.

Francesca Simon, Helping Hercules, Dolphin (London, England), 1999.

Anne Fine, Charm School, Doubleday (London, England), 1999.

Rosie Rushton, All Change, Barrington Stoke (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2001.

Yvonne Coppard and Emily Huws, Mega Miliwn (title means "To Be a Millionaire"), Gwasg Gomer (Llandysul, Wales), 2001.

Also illustrator, Patricia Hewitt's Your Second Baby, and Angela Phillips's Until They Are Five. Illustrator of numerous nonfiction titles for young readers, including Answers to Acne, Herpes, Law Book, Pay Less to Keep Warm, Gareth Parry's DIY Book, Sic Transit, Judging Women, Genital Herpes and What to Do about It, HIV AIDS and What to Do about It, Thrush and What to Do about It, and Out on a Limb.


Baby's Shoe, for Random House; Wizard's Walk, for Little Tiger; Mrs. Pig II, for Hodder & Stoughton; THING!, for Oxford University Press; and The Life and Loves of Amy Chicken, for Transworld.


Ros Asquith contributes a regular cartoon feature, "Doris," to England's Guardian newspaper. Many young readers in Great Britain know her better, however, for her lively "Teenage Worrier" books that realistically explore the many anxious moments facing teens, and explain how to solve them with humor and self-reliance. Asquith covers some of the same ground in her fiction, particularly the "Trixie Tempest" books aimed at the "tween" market of readers between the ages of nine and twelve. Although Asquith is better known in the United Kingdom, where her "Teenage Worrier" series includes some best sellers, she is becoming more visible in the United States as the author of read-aloud books for the very youngest audience: babies and toddlers. These dual interests in simple picture books and humorous commentary for teens have been a part of the author's publishing profile since early in her career.

An honors graduate of Camberwell Art School, Asquith worked in graphic design and mural painting before moving into cartooning in the 1980s. She has also served as a theatre critic for several English periodicals. By 1990 she was well established as a cartoonist, author, and illustrator, with many projects running simultaneously. The "Teenage Worrier" series, for instance, has run into a dozen volumes, many of which were published in the same years that she wrote other fiction or picture-book titles. Additionally, the artist/author herself once commented that she has lost count of the number of covers she has designed for books by other writers.

Among Asquith's popular titles in America are My Do It!, Babies, and Mrs. Pig's Night Out. All three of these books aim at a preschool audience and reflect actions and adventures common to all young children. In My Do It! a toddler insists on accomplishing tasks that his mother wants to do for him. Readers are invited to lift a flap to help the enterprising toddler along. Olga R. Barnes in School Library Journal found My Do It! "enjoyable," particularly for Sam Williams's "simple, uncluttered illustrations."

Babies, also illustrated by Williams, celebrates the many facets of babyhood and the wide variety of baby appearance and behavior. The final double-page spread, a Mylar mirror, invites a youngster to see himself or herself as part of the book. "Young children and their parents will find this short, simple picture book irresistible," predicted Carolyn Phelan in Booklist. In School Library Journal, Blair Christolon praised Babies for its "cozy rhyming text" and "colorful illustrations."

A cluster of piglet siblings run amok in Mrs. Pig's Night Out. As Mrs. Pig prepares to go out without her children, they weep and wail for her—until she leaves. Then the youngsters manipulate their weary father, despite his protests that it's time for bed. Pillow fights and extra television-watching ensue, and eventually it's Father Pig who goes to sleep. A mad scramble for bed at Mrs. Pig's return does not fool the wise mother: She notes that the piglets are in bed in their daytime clothes. Nevertheless, she is good-natured about it, praising her husband for a job well done. A Publishers Weekly critic noted of the title: "The premise may be an oldie, but this team turns it into a goodie." Be Astengo in School Library Journal felt that both parents and children "will recognize and laugh at the ruses of the clever piglets over their domestically incompetent father."



Booklist, February 1, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Babies, p. 999; May 15, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Mrs. Pig's Night Out, p. 1668.

Publishers Weekly, December 16, 2002, p. 65; May 12, 2003, review of Mrs. Pig's Night Out, p. 65.

School Library Journal, October, 2000, Olga R. Barnes, review of My Do It!, p. 110; March, 2003, Blair Christolon, review of Babies, p. 176; August, 2003, Be Astengo, review of Mrs. Pig's Night Out, p. 122.