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Cartlidge, Michelle 1950-

CARTLIDGE, Michelle 1950-

PERSONAL: Born October 13, 1950, in London, England; daughter of Haydn Derrick (a director of transportation) and Barbara (a gallery director; maiden name, Feistmann) Cartlidge; married Richard Cook (an artist), June 25, 1982 (divorced, 1994); children: Theo. Education: Attended Hornsey College of Art, 1967-68, and Royal College of Art, 1968-70. Hobbies and other interests: Travel abroad.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Laura Cecil, 17 Alwyne Villas, London N1 2HG, England.

CAREER: Artist, 1970—; writer and illustrator of children's books, 1978—.

MEMBER: Society of Authors.

AWARDS, HONORS: Mother Goose Award, Books for Your Children Booksellers, 1979, for Pippin and Pod.

WRITINGS:

mouse books; self-illustrated

Pippin and Pod, Pantheon (New York, NY), 1978.

A Mouse's Diary, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (New York, NY), 1981.

Mousework, Heinemann (London, England), 1982.

Welcome to Mouseville, Methuen (New York, NY), 1982.

Baby Mouse, Heinemann (London, England), 1984, Penguin (New York, NY), 1986.

Mouse's Christmas Tree, Penguin (New York, NY), 1985.

Little Mouse Makes a Garden, Walker (New York, NY), 1986.

Little Mouse Makes a Mobile, Walker (New York, NY), 1986.

Little Mouse Makes Cards, Walker (New York, NY), 1986.

Little Mouse Makes Sweets, Walker (New York, NY), 1986.

A House for Lily Mouse, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1986.

Mouse House, Dutton (New York, NY), 1990.

Baby Mice, Heinemann (New York, NY), 1991.

Clock Mice, Campbell (London, England), 1991.

Mouse in the House, Dutton (New York, NY), 1991.

Mouse Time, Dutton (New York, NY), 1991.

Mouse's Christmas House: A Story/Activity Book, Andrews & McMeel (Fairway, KS), 1991.

Mouse Theater, Dutton (New York, NY), 1992, published as Theatre Mice, Campbell (London, England), 1992.

Baby Mice at Home, Dutton (New York, NY), 1992.

Mouse Letters, Dutton (New York, NY), 1993.

The Mouse Wedding: A Press-out Model Book, Andrew & McMeel (Fairway, KS), 1993.

Mouse Birthday, Dutton (New York, NY), 1994, published as Birthday Mouse, Campbell (London, England), 1994.

Mouse's Scrapbook, Dutton (New York, NY), 1995.

Mouse Christmas, Dutton (New York, NY), 1996.

Mouse Magic, Dutton (New York, NY), 1996, published as Magic Mouse, Campbell (London, England), 1996.

The Mice of Mousehole: A Movable Picture Book, Walker (New York, NY), 1997.

School Mouse, Campbell (London, England), 1997.

Baby Mouse, Macmillan (New York, NY), 2000.

Mouse Ballet, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.

Mouse Fairy Village, Mathew Price, 2001.

Toy Shop, Buster Books, 2003.

Clothes Shop, Buster Books, 2003.

Grocery Shop, Buster Books, 2003.

Café, Buster Books, 2003.

bear and teddy books; self-illustrated

The Bears' Bazaar: A Story/Craft Book, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (New York, NY), 1979.

Teddy Trucks, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (New York, NY), 1981.

Dressing Teddy (cut-out book), Heinemann (London, England), 1983, Penguin (New York, NY), 1986.

Teddy's Holiday, Heinemann (London, England), 1984.

Teddy's Birthday Party, Penguin (New York, NY), 1985.

Bear's Room: No Peeping, Methuen (New York, NY), 1985.

Teddy's Dinner, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.

Teddy's Garden, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.

Teddy's House, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.

Teddy's Toys, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.

Teddy's Christmas, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1986.

Hello, Teddy, Heinemann (London, England), 1991.

Bear in the Forest, Dutton (New York, NY), 1991.

Bears on the Go, Dutton (New York, NY), 1992.

Good Night, Teddy, Walker (New York, NY), 1992.

Teddy's Friends, Walker (New York, NY), 1992.

Teddy's Cat, Walker (New York, NY), 1996.

bunny books; self-illustrated

Playground Bunnies, Walker Books (London, England), 1987.

Seaside Bunnies, Walker Books (London, England), 1987.

Toy Shop Bunnies, Walker Books (London, England), 1987.

Birthday Bunnies, Walker Books (London, England), 1987.

Little Bunny's Picnic, Dutton (New York, NY), 1990.

Bunny's Birthday, Dutton (New York, NY), 1992.

other; self-illustrated

Little Boxes (cut-out book), Heinemann (London, England), 1983.

Munch and Mixer's Puppet Show: Presenting the Magic Lollipop, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1983.

Little Shops, Heinemann (London, England), 1985.

Gerry's Seaside Journey, Heinemann (London, England), 1988.

Rabbit's Party, Heinemann (London, England), 1991.

Duck in the Pond, Dutton (New York, NY), 1991.

Elephant in the Jungle, Dutton (New York, NY), 1991.

Doggy Days, Heinemann (London, England), 1991, Dutton (New York, NY), 1992.

The Cats That Went to the Sea, PictureLions (London, England), 1992.

Fairy Letters, Campbell (London, England), 1993.

Michelle Cartlidge's Book of Words, Dutton (New York, NY), 1994.

other; illustrated by kim raymond and ruth blair

Bella's Birthday Party, Heinemann (London, England), 1994.

Boss Bear's Boat, Heinemann (London, England), 1994.

Gerry Kicks Off, Heinemann (London, England), 1994.

Gerry's Big Move, Heinemann (London, England), 1994.

illustrator

Brian Patten, Mouse Poems, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Brian Patten, A Year of Mouse Poems, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Some of Cartlidge's works have been translated and published in Spanish, Japanese, French, German, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, and Welsh.

SIDELIGHTS: When her first book, Pippin and Pod, was published in 1978, Michelle Cartlidge was honored with the Mother Goose Award as the "most exciting newcomer to children's book illustration." Since that time, Cartlidge has created a number of children's picture books featuring anthropomorphized mice, bears, and bunnies. Cartlidge's books usually contain few words; they are known for her finely detailed, delicate line drawings and warm pastel watercolors. While some critics have described her characters as static or have reported that it is difficult to tell them apart, many are charmed by the simple plots and cuddly animals Cartlidge portrays.

Cartlidge once told CA that she began her career as an artist at an early age. She was just fourteen when she left school to work in a pottery studio. Later, Cartlidge studied pottery at the Hornsey School of Art and then the Royal College of Art. When she was twenty years old, she decided that her pottery "was becoming so fragile that I was the only person who could touch it with safety." Cartlidge began to devote her efforts to drawing. "To support myself, I did odd jobs, waitressing and washing up, but had the opportunity to show publisher and illustrator Jan Pienkowski a selection of cards I'd produced for my family and friends. This resulted in a commission to design a series of cards for Gallery Five."

Cartlidge also wrote that she does her "best to create a world that a child will recognize, the kind of book he or she can step into to mingle with the characters portrayed." Throughout her career, Cartlidge has created picture books which provide activities, see-through windows, or movable parts, so that children "who have enjoyed reading about" her "characters can meet them again in active play." Little Bunny's Picnic, for example, has windows on every other page that give children a peek at the next scene. Liza Bliss of School Library Journal described this as "a fun gimmick." Mouse Birthday, Mouse Time, Mouse Theater, Mouse's Scrapbook, and Mouse Letters are movable books; in the latter two books, attached envelopes contain letters and mementos relating to the story. For her younger fans, Cartlidge creates board books with watercolor teddy bears engaged in daily activities, from playing to eating lunch. While these books, which include Teddy's Friends, Teddy's House, Teddy's Toys, Teddy's Garden, and Teddy's Dinner, do not move, according to School Library Journal contributor Linda Wicher in a review of Teddy's Friends, they are "easy for young hands to hold."

Cartlidge's first book, Pippin and Pod, featuring "dainty line and watercolor" illustrations according to a Kirkus Reviews critic, was published in 1978. Set in Cartlidge's childhood neighborhood of Hampstead, London, the book follows the afternoon adventures of two mice. While their mother shops, the brothers wander through a colorfully rendered market, construction site, playground, and park. Then, as a critic for Publishers Weekly noted, the "wee mice suddenly realize they're lost and want to go home." The mice finally find their mother and all ends well. Barbara Elleman of Booklist complimented Cartlidge's illustrations in the book, stating that the pictures give "a warm feeling to this simply told tale."

The Bears' Bazaar, Cartlidge's next book, presents craft ideas and instructions within a tale about a bear sister and brother. A Publishers Weekly reviewer described the book as "a buoyant story with ideas for projects that can involve the whole family." Together with their parents, the bear siblings make a mobile, painted paperweights, paper dolls, gingerbread bears, and mustard men. Although a Junior Bookshelf critic voiced some concerns about the presentation of the projects, the reviewer described the overall work as "attractive, with seemingly inexhaustible detail." Writing in Growing Point, Margery Fisher called The Bears' Bazaar "the most attractive craft-book of last year."

After The Bears' Bazaar, Cartlidge continued to produce books about tiny mice or soft-looking bears, all with simple plots or scenes. A Mouse's Diary features a mouse girl who writes in her diary about such activities as going to the park, to ballet class, and on a nature walk. A critic for Growing Point appreciated how Cartlidge rendered fully detailed scenes with "bright paint and a strong sense of composition." According to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, the story "rolls along effortlessly." In Bear's Room: No Peeping, Bear is busy working in the house when the mice do their best to spy on him. In "crowded strip pictures," as a Junior Bookshelf critic described them, Cartlidge portrayed the large, dressed bear preparing treats, painting a mural in his room, and then taking a bath. At the end of the story, Bear invites the mice into his room for a party, and they take delight in the seesaw he has crafted for them.

Michelle Cartlidge's Book of Words, published in 1994, features a watercolor-rendered mouse family in a number of detailed everyday scenes on double-page spreads. As the mice get dressed, go to school, go grocery shopping, visit the playground and have fun at a birthday party, Cartlidge presents over 300 common words for young children and beginning readers. A Kirkus Reviews critic questioned the "conventional picture of mouse family life portrayed" in the book, and noted that the female mice were placed in some stereotypical female roles. Similarly, Patricia Pearl Dole of School Library Journal pointed out that the female characters were all in dresses, but observed that chores were "shared by both sexes."

Cartlidge once explained to CA how she goes about creating her books. "When planning a book, I like to decide on a location, do lots of sketches, and develop the story from them. The amount of detail I include appeals to children, and Theo, my small son, takes a lively and useful interest in my work. I find him a most useful critic."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

periodicals

Booklist, October 1, 1978, Barbara Elleman, review of Pippin and Pod, pp. 290-291.

Growing Point, May, 1980, Margery Fisher, review of The Bears' Bazaar: A Story/Craft Book, p. 3704; November, 1981, review of A Mouse's Diary, p. 3960; March, 1983, p. 4046.

Horn Book Guide, fall, 1994, p. 267.

Junior Bookshelf, June, 1980, review of The Bears' Bazaar, p. 114; April, 1982; October, 1985, review of Bear's Room: No Peeping, p. 211.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 1978, review of Pippin and Pod, p. 1065; November 15, 1994, review of Michelle Cartlidge's Book of Words, p. 1524.

Publishers Weekly, September 25, 1978, review of Pippin and Pod, p. 141; March 28, 1980, review of The Bears' Bazaar, p. 49; July 16, 1982, review of A Mouse's Diary, p. 78; October 28, 1983, p. 70.

School Library Journal, April, 1982, p. 56; August, 1990, Liza Bliss, review of Little Bunny's Picnic, p. 126; October, 1992, Linda Wicher, review of Teddy's Friends, p. 85; January, 1995, Patricia Pearl Dole, review of Michelle Cartlidge's Book of Words, pp. 82-83.

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