Dyer, Sarah L. 1978-
Dyer, Sarah L. 1978-
Born September 3, 1978, in Brighton, England. Education: Kingston University, B.A., 2001.
Home—Kingston, South London, England. Agent—Sophie Hicks, Ed Victor, Ltd., 6 Bayley St., Bedford Sq., London WC1B 3HE, England. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer and illustrator. Kingston University, London, England, part-time instructor.
Bronze Smarties Prize, 2001, and United Kingdom Reading Award, 2002, both for Five Little Fiends.
(And illustrator) Five Little Fiends, Bloomsbury Children's Books (New York, NY), 2002.
(And illustrator) Clementine and Mungo, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2004.
(And illustrator) Princess for a Day: A Clementine and Mungo Story, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2007.
Sarah L. Dyer is a British illustrator and children's book writer. Born in Brighton, England, on September 3, 1978, Dyer earned a bachelor of arts degree in illustration in 2001 from Kingston University. After graduation she began teaching foundation courses and illustration classes at the university on a part-time basis.
In 2002 Dyer published her first self-illustrated children's book, Five Little Fiends. The book centers on the greed of five imps who decide to take the things in life they most enjoy. The five individually take the sea, land, sky, sun, and moon. Although they used to discuss how beautiful the world was, their selfish actions show them that each of the objects they took needs the other to work properly. The imps eventually restore the objects to the world. Dyer's debut won a Bronze Smarties Prize in 2001 and a United Kingdom Reading Award in 2002. Booklist contributor Kathy Broderick called the characters "appealing." Broderick added that "even the youngest child will recognize feelings of personal greed and group sharing." Heather E. Miller, writing in School Library Journal, doubted "that children will understand or enjoy this story." Miller also found the layout "awkward, varying in placement and order throughout the book." A contributor to Publishers Weekly wrote that "the wordless closing image … suggests that wholehearted optimism is premature, but doesn't quash the hopefulness of the narrative."
In 2004 Dyer introduced the title characters of Clementine and Mungo, two friendly monsters who are brother and sister. Mungo asks his older sister Clem- entine about everything they come across. In the process of one day, Mungo learns from Clementine that leaves change color in the fall from painting pigs, dragons live inside houses' indoor plumbing to heat the water, and cats unzip their fur coats in the summer to stay cool. Although the answers are creatively wrong, Mungo appreciates Clementine, providing an example of sibling love. A contributor to Publishers Weekly described the book as a "quirky tale of childhood imagination and sibling love." The same reviewer added that "Dyer's illustrations convey both a sophisticated and naive quality, much like Clementine's answers." Nicole Vosper, writing in Childhood Education, thought similarly, remarking that "this story shows the strong bond between siblings." A critic reviewing the book in Kirkus Reviews wrote that the illustrations "will not capture the attention of young readers." The same critic continued, saying that "Dyer's simplistic illustrations are reminiscent of grade-school colored-pencil drawings." Booklist contributor Ilene Cooper found Mungo and Clementine "endearing" but thought their fangs and pointed ears were "distracting." Cooper believed that "the uncluttered design provides a very appealing format in which" the characters are developed. Overall, Cooper thought that "Dyer gets the sibling relationship just right." Jane Marino, writing in School Library Journal, called the story "short but sweet." Marino added that "spare text and quiet humor make this story an irresistible storytime choice."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2002, Kathy Broderick, review of Five Little Fiends, p. 136; August, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of Clementine and Mungo, p. 1941.
Childhood Education, fall, 2005, Nicole Vosper, review of Clementine and Mungo.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2004, review of Clementine and Mungo, p. 684.
Magpies, November, 2001, review of Five Little Fiends, p. 28.
Publishers Weekly, April 29, 2002, review of Five Little Fiends, p. 70; July 26, 2004, review of Clementine and Mungo, p. 53.
School Library Journal, September, 2002, Heather E. Miller, review of Five Little Fiends, p. 189; September, 2004, Jane Marino, review of Clementine and Mungo, p. 158.
Bloomsbury Web site,http://www.bloomsbury.com/ (December 9, 2007), author interview.
Sarah Dyer Home Page,http://sarahdyer.com (December 9, 2007), author biography.