Doder, Josh 1968- (Joshua Lacey)

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Doder, Josh 1968- (Joshua Lacey)

PERSONAL:

Born 1968, in London, England. Education: Cambridge University, B.A.

ADDRESSES:

Home—London, England. Agent—Linda Davis, Greene & Heaton, 37 Goldhawk Rd., London W12 8QQ, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Author and journalist.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Branford Boase Award shortlist, and East Sussex Primary Schools Book Award, both for A Dog Called Grk; Blue Peter Prize shortlist, 2006, for Grk and the Pelotti Gang.

WRITINGS:

FOR CHILDREN; UNDER NAME JOSHUA DODER

The Timetraveller's Guide to Shakespeare's London, Watling (London, England), 2004.

The Timetraveller's Guide to Saxon and Viking London, Watling (London, England), 2004.

A Dog Called Grk, Andersen Press (London, England), 2005, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2007.

Grk and the Pelotti Gang, Andersen Press (London, England), 2006, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2007.

Grk and the Hotdog Trail, Andersen Press (London, England), 2006, Delacorte (New York, NY), 2008.

The Duke of Wellington ("Who Was …?" series), Short Books (London, England), 2006.

Grk: Operation Tortoise, Andersen Press (London, England), 2007.

Grk Smells a Rat, Andersen Press (London, England), 2008.

Author's books have been translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Danish, Finnish, Swedish, Thai, and Romanian.

OTHER

God Is Brazilian: Charles Miller, the Man Who Brought Football to Brazil, NPI Media Group (London, England), 2005.

Bearkeeper (for children), Marion Lloyd (London, England), 2008.

Also author of plays and films. Book reviewer and contributor of essays to periodicals, including Bookseller and London Guardian.

ADAPTATIONS:

Film rights for the "Grk" novels were optioned by Xingu Films.

SIDELIGHTS:

London-based author and journalist Josh Doder is the author of the popular "Grk" series of children's books, which he publishes under his pen name. His real name is Josh Lacey. Set in London, the series follows the adventures of a boy named Tim and his companion, named Grk the dog, as they travel the world, fighting Eastern European dictators, chasing dangerous criminals in Brazil, and even making a visit across the Atlantic to New York City to find a stolen statue. In addition to his "Grk" books, Doder has authored several books about the city of London as it was in different time periods, such as The Timetraveller's Guide to Shakespeare's London and The Timetraveller's Guide to Saxon and Viking London.

Readers meet Tim and Grk in A Dog Called Grk, which finds the country of Stanislavia taken over by a military dictator. When the Stanislavian ambassador, his wife, and children Natascha and Max hurry back to their home country, they leave behind the family dog, Grk. When Tim finds the dog, his parents do not want him to keep it, so he sets off to find Grk's owners. After a series of misadventures, he arrives in Stanislavia, just in time to save Natascha and brother Max from captivity at the hands of the country's new dictator. "Doder sets a whimsically slapstick tone for the proceedings," wrote a critic for Publishers Weekly. In Booklist, Shelle Rosenfeld found A Dog Called Grk to be "occasionally implausible and sometimes violent, [but] … still exciting enough to have kids cheering on Tim and Grk." A Kirkus Reviews contributor felt that while "some characters are caricatures; many are likable and move the events quickly if implausibly to a satisfying resolution."

In Grk and the Pelotti Gang, Tim, Grk, Natascha, and Max head off to Brazil to stop brutal bank robbers from committing further crimes. Reviewing the second series installment in the London Sunday Times, Nicolette Jones listed several of the book's features: "a smart, pacy, staccato style, empathetic characterisation of Tim, … a likeable dog, [and] enjoyably caricatured villains." Noting that Doder does not shy away from hard issues and real-world violence, Amanda Craig wrote in the London Times that the author "combines lightness of spirit with a sense of the dark things that adults to do each other." "Not since Tintin and Snowy has there been such a touching boy-dog partnership," Craig added, while Madelyn Travis concluded on the British Book Trust Web site that Doder's "fast-paced adventures are warm and witty, and they have a slightly old-fashioned charm."

Along with his children's books, Doder has written a history of Brazilian soccer, as introduced by Charles Miller, and the clash of cultures between Britain and Brazil in the late 1800s. "Doder uses Miller's extraordinary life as a springboard for sketching the wider landscape of the little documented British-Brazilian colonial adventure," explained James Flint of the Daily Telegraph, who concluded that the author "proves a cogent and entertaining commentator." According to Andrew Baker in the London Sunday Telegraph, although "the author's research has clearly been thorough," because of his "fine, dry style … the story never plods."

When asked to describe his writing process on the British Book Trust Web site, Doder explained that the process is, in itself, a type of adventure. "I write the plot first and then I start writing the book, and then I realise that the plot is completely wrong because the characters do unexpected things; you plot it out and tell them what they're going to do and then it ends up as something completely different."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2007, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of A Dog Called Grk, p. 97.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April, 2007, April Spisak, review of A Dog Called Grk, p. 327.

Daily Telegraph (London, England), May 7, 2005, James Flint, review of God Is Brazilian: Charles Miller, the Man Who Brought Football to Brazil.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2007, review of A Dog Called Grk, p. 122.

Observer (London, England), December 4, 2005, review of God Is Brazilian.

Publishers Weekly, January 29, 2007, review of A Dog Called Grk, p. 327.

School Librarian, winter, 2005, Robin Barlow, review of A Dog Called Grk, p. 192; spring, 2007, Derek Lomas, review of Grk and the Hotdog Trail, p. 23.

School Library Journal, March, 2007, Maria B. Salvadore, review of A Dog Called Grk, p. 208.

Sunday Telegraph (London, England), November 10, 2005, Andrew Baker, review of God Is Brazilian.

Sunday Times (London, England), May 21, 2006, Nicolette Jones, "Children's Book of the Week," p. 48.

Times (London, England), April 29, 2006, Amanda Craig, "Just the Thing for Dog Day Afternoons," p. 16.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 2007, Walter Hogan, review of A Dog Called Grk, p. 523.

ONLINE

Andersen Press Web site,http://www.andersenpress.co.uk/ (December 24, 2007).

British Book Trust Web site,http://www.booktrusted.co.uk/ (December 24, 2007), Madelyn Travis, review of "Grk" series.

Greene & Heaton Literary Agency Web site,http://www.greeneheaton.co.uk/ (December 24, 2007), "Josh Doder."

Josh Lacey Home Page,http://www.joshlacey.com (December 12, 2007).