Chataway, Carol 1955-
CHATAWAY, Carol 1955-
PERSONAL: Born December 13, 1955, in England; daughter of John and Mary Morrison (Husthwaite) Harman; married Richard Chataway (a film maker), February 14, 1988; children: Tom, John, Rhys. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Flinders University, B.A., 2002.
CAREER: Author. Worked as a school assistant in Salisbury, South Australia, 1975-83, and a school treasurer in Birdwood, South Australia, 1983-88.
MEMBER: Ekidnas (children's book-writing club for published authors and illustrators).
AWARDS, HONORS: Crichton Award shortlist, Children's Book Council of Australia, 2002, for The Perfect Pet.
The Perfect Pet, illustrated by Greg Holfeld, Working Title Press (Adelaide, Australia), 2001, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Canada), 2002.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Wings, a picture book for Lothian.
SIDELIGHTS: Carol Chataway found that when her three boys, Tom, John, Rhys, were in school all day, she had extra time on her hands. She considered learning to write children's books, because, as she recalled to CA, "I had spent many wonderful hours with them reading picture books and hoped one day that I might write one. I always had ideas that I shared with them and they seemed to enjoy my stories. I found that I couldn't tell a story without it becoming funny or absurd in some way. My boys would add their little bit to it and we'd generally end up in hysterics." So she enrolled in a college English program, taking as many creative-writing courses as she could, and in 2001 her first children's book rolled off the press. The Perfect Pet, a "satisfying story," to quote Judith Constantinides of School Library Journal, features three pigs, Hamlet, Pygmalion, and Podge, who attempt to find a pet that is just right for all of them. Although they visit Mr. Pinkerton's pet shop with a dog in mind, after trying out several breeds of dogs, they discover another animal suits them better in what Resource Links reviewer Evette Signarowski called "a nice twist." Ian Stewart of Canadian Materials also recommended this picture book, describing it as "an excellent book" to use in teaching children to solve problems communally.
Reflecting on her creative process, Chataway told CA: "My favourite part of writing is when I first get an idea for a story. It consumes me. I write and re-write it in my head for days and can think of nothing else. I am thoroughly happy and so absorbed with it that it is not odd for me to discover I have absentmindedly put my shoes in the fridge. I haven't got as far as preparing them for dinner, thank goodness. Although the way I cook, no one would notice the difference. I think I feel another story coming on!"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Australian Book Review, October, 2001, Virginia Lowe, "Teaching Tradition," pp. 61-62.
Canadian Materials, May, 10, 2002, Ian Stewart, review of The Perfect Pet.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2002, review of The PerfectPet, p. 331.
Resource Links, April, 2002, Evette Signarowski, review of The Perfect Pet, pp. 2-3.
School Library Journal, July, 2002, Judith Constantinides, review of The Perfect Pet, p. 85.