Ford, Christine 1953-

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Ford, Christine 1953-

PERSONAL: Born 1953, in Pittsfield, MA.

ADDRESSES: Home and office— Arlington, TX. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER: Author and poet. Teaches picture-book-writing workshops for adults.

MEMBER: Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

WRITINGS

Snow!, illustrated by Candace Whitman, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 1999.

Scout (novel), Delacorte (New York, NY), 2006.

(With Trish Holland) The Soldiers’ Night before Christmas, illustrated by John Manders, Golden Books (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS: Poet Christine Ford is the author of the picture books Snow! and The Soldiers’ Night before Christmas, as well as the middle-grade novel Scout. Ford made her publishing debut in 1999 with Snow!, a work in verse illustrated by Candace Whitman. In the book, a father spends a wintry day playing outdoors with his son and daughter and their pet dog. The family goes sledding, throws snowballs, and builds a snowman before heading indoors. Kathy Broderick, writing in Booklist, noted that Ford’s “couplets work well with Whitman’s watercolor collage illustrations” and called Snow! a “fine picture book.”School Library Journal contributor Tana Elias stated that Ford’s “rhymes are pleasant.”

Based on Clement Moore’s famous holiday poem, Ford’s The Soldiers’ Night before Christmas, written with Trish Holland, appeared in 2006. Set on a U.S. Army base, the work begins: “’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the base/Only sentries were stirring—they guarded the place.” The poem’s narrator, a young soldier, is awakened in the middle of the night by the arrival of cigar-smoking Sergeant Mc-Claus in a Blackhawk helicopter, followed by eight brightly decorated Humvees laden with gifts from home. School Library Journal reviewer Virginia Walter deemed The Soldiers’ Night before Christmas“a lighthearted, even humorous, retelling,” and a Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that the authors “offer a witty parody that serves up a unique vision of a Santa who is very different from the traditional St. Nick.”

In 2006 Ford also published Scout, a novel written in free verse. According to a critic in Kirkus Reviews, “Ford shows considerable skill in distilling the messy complexity of grief and emotional renewal in poetry that often sings.” The book concerns Cecelia, nicknamed Scout, a motherless eleven-year-old who escapes her loneliness by playing in the nature area near her home. Cecelia makes friends with Redbud, a new student at her school who lives with his stern father, a former Marine. “At first Cecelia admits that she finds the father’s power fascinating,” observed Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman, but as the pair grows closer, she learns that Redbud is being abused. When Redbud is injured in a hit-and-run accident, Cecelia blames herself and is consumed with grief, prompting her emotionally distant father to rekindle his bond with his daughter. Scout“explores love for family and friends, courage, grief, guilt, and loss,” in the words of School Library Journal critic Nancy P. Reeder. “In the end, it is a story of hope.”

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES

BOOKS

Ford, Christine, and Trish Holland, The Soldiers’ Night before Christmas, Golden Books (New York, NY), 2006.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2000, Kathy Broderick, review of Snow!, p. 936; January 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Scout, p. 101.

Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2006, review of Scout, p. 229; November 1, 2006, review of The Soldiers’ Night before Christmas, p. 1130.

School Library Journal, December, 1999, Tana Elias, review of Snow!, p. 96; May, 2006, Nancy P. Reeder, review of Scout, p. 123; October, 2006, Virginia Walter, review of The Soldiers’ Night before Christmas, p. 97.

ONLINE

Christine Ford Home Page, http://www.christineford.com (January 10, 2007).