Dunbar, Polly 1980(?)–

views updated

DUNBAR, Polly 1980(?)–

PERSONAL: Born c. 1980, in England; daughter of Joyce Dunbar (a writer). Education: Graduated from Brighton University, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Home—London, England. Agent—Celia Catchpole, Literary Agent, 56 Gilpin Ave., London SW14 8QY, England. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Illustrator and writer.



Help! I'm out with the In-Crowd (and Other Saturday Nightmares), Kingfisher (London, England), 1996.

Help! I've Forgotten My Brain: And Other Exam Nightmares, Kingfisher (London, England), 1996.

(And illustrator) Dog Blue, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

(And illustrator) Flyaway Katie, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

(Illustrator) Joyce Dunbar, Shoe Baby, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.


Henry VIII, Scholastic (London, England), 2002.

Scrooge, Scholastic (London, England), 2002.

Cleopatra, Scholastic (London, England), 2002.

Also illustrator for A Saucepan on His Head (illustration anthology), Walker, and Lesley Ely's Looking after Louis, Frances Lincoln.

SIDELIGHTS: Juvenile book writer and illustrator Polly Dunbar demonstrated her talents early and had two books published by the time she was sixteen years old. In Flyaway Katie, Dunbar tells the story of Katie, who wakes up one day in a "gray" mood. As the story progresses, Katie slowly transforms her mood by intentionally brightening up her day. She puts on bright-colored clothes and lipstick and even paints her face various colors. Katie's emotional transformation is complete when she suddenly sprouts her own wings and flies into a bright-colored painting on her bedroom wall, where she soars around with the many-colored birds depicted there. Writing for New Pages.com, Denise Hill called Flyaway Katie "an absolutely delightful book." Hill went on to note that "Katie is a great role model for inspiring children to be self-empowered in controlling their emotions and to take steps to create positive changes in themselves," while a Kirkus Reviews contributor called the book "A joyous cure for a case of the doldrums." In a review in Booklist, Ilene Cooper praised Dunbar's illustrations, noting that "Children will be engaged by the artwork." The quality of Dunbar's artwork was also commented on by Wanda Meyers-Hines in School Library Journal, the critic noting that "The mixed-media illustrations perfectly capture Katie's transformation." Meyers-Hines went on to comment, "Told at just the right pace, this whimsical story presents a gentle reminder of the power of a child's imagination."

Dog Blue focuses on young Bertie and his wish to have a dog. Since blue is Bertie's favorite color, he would like a blue dog. Before Bertie gets a dog of his own, he satisfies his desire for one by creating his own imaginary pet. Using his imagination, he goes through all the rituals of having a pet, including playing catch—even though Bertie himself fetches the sticks he throws. Eventually, Bertie does get a dog, but the puppy is black and white. Bertie decides that, if the dog cannot be blue, he can at least name it after his favorite color. Although Bertie finally has the dog he wanted, he still uses his imagination while playing with Blue, who now watches his new owner chase sticks. Writing in School Library Journal, Janet M. Bair commented that Dunbar's "pencil-and-watercolor cartoon drawings are simple enough to appeal to preschoolers, but the monochromatic colors … are not especially eye-catching." However, a Kirkus Reviews contributor praised the artwork's "informal but elegant simplicity" and added that in the story "Bertie's joy comes through loud and clear." Jennifer Mattson, writing in Booklist, commented that "Dunbar makes clever use of page turns, unfolding the story in pithy, alliterative prose." Calling Bertie and Blue "charmers" in a review in Horn Book, Joanna Rudge Long also noted that "The point that make-believe can be satisfying even though a longed-for reality may turn out to be even better is gently made."



Booklist, June 1, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of Flyaway Katie, p. 1740; July, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of Dog Blue, p. 1846.

Horn Book, September-October, 2004, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Dog Blue, p. 566.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2004, review of Flyaway Katie, p. 576; July 1, 2004, review of Dog Blue, p. 627.

Publishers Weekly, July 5, 2004, review of Flyaway Katie, p. 54; August 30, 2004, review of Dog Blue, p. 53.

School Library Journal, September, 2004, Wanda Meyers-Hines, review of Flyaway Katie, and Jane M. Bair, review of Dog Blue, p. 158.


Celia Catchpole, Literary Agent, Web sitehttp://www.celiacatchpole.co.uk/ (March 24, 2005), "Polly Dunbar."

New Pages.com, http://www.newpages.com/ (March 24, 2005), Denise Hill, review of Flyaway Katie.

Polly Dunbar Home Page, http://www.pollydunbar.com (March 24, 2005).

About this article

Dunbar, Polly 1980(?)–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article