Friend, Catherine 1957(?)-
Friend, Catherine 1957(?)-
Born c. 1957. Education: University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire, B.A., 1979; University of Minnesota, M.S. Hobbies and other interests: Working on her farm, volunteering on her local library board.
Home—Zumbrota, MN. E-mail—[email protected]
Author. Has worked as a freelance editor, technical writer, and as a writing workshop instructor for the Institute of Children's Literature; has also worked at an organic vegetable farm, at a cheese and sausage packing business, at book stores, and as a Christmas decorations assembly-line packager.
Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn (autobiography), Marlowe (New York, NY), 2006.
My Head Is Full of Colors, illustrated by Kiki, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1994.
The Sawfin Stickleback: A Very Fishy Story, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1994.
Funny Ruby, illustrated by Rachel Merriman, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
Silly Ruby, illustrated by Rachel Merriman, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
Eddie the Raccoon, illustrated by Wong Herbert Yee, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.
The Perfect Nest, illustrated by John Manders, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.
Catherine Friend is a children's book author who writes primarily for pre-and grade-school readers. Her stories are typically simple tales that many critics have found charming. Her Eddie the Raccoon, for example, is a beginning reader story about the misadventures of a young raccoon; Silly Ruby contains four stories featuring such characters as a sheep, a dinosaur, and a worm; and The Perfect Nest has a cat trying to lure a chicken by building a nest, only to have his plans thwarted unexpectedly when the eggs quickly hatch and the chicks think the cat is their father. After having worked in a number of careers, ranging from editing and technical writing to teaching and working on an assembly line, Friend was establishing a career as a successful children's book writer when her life partner, Melissa, inherited a small Wisconsin farm. Insisting that they both move to the country, Melissa and Friend moved to rural Wisconsin. Friend was under the impression that Melissa, who loved the countryside, would occupy herself with the farm animals and crops while she would be allowed to continue writing. Friend quickly found herself drafted into helping out with many of the tasks on the farm, however. In her memoir, Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn, Friend relates her aggravation, consternation, and eventual adaptation to farm life.
Hit by a Farm includes many anecdotes about the surprising jobs Friend found herself doing, including some rather embarrassing tasks involving animal husbandry. Many of the moments are designed to convey the humor of a city slicker trying to adapt to the farm, but there are also more poignant, emotional moments, such as when some of their animals die from disease and from coyote attacks. Because of the amount of work needed to maintain the farm, Friend found it more and more difficult to write, and this led to such frustration that it threatened her relationship with Melissa. "This honest look at collaboration and compromise, the pain and the joy of partnership, and the hands-on of farming will find a ready audience," predicted Nancy Bent in Booklist. New York Times Book Review contributor Katherine Lanpher found this "chronicle of her transformation from Minneapolis city slicker to rural Minnesota shepherd" to be a "charming memoir," and Armchair Interviews writer Connie Anderson declared it "funny, poignant, sad—and educational."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Friend, Catherine, Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn, Marlowe (New York, NY), 2006.
Booklist, March 15, 1994, Ilene Cooper, review of My Head Is Full of Colors, p. 1372; July 1, 2004, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Eddie the Raccoon, p. 1850; April 15, 2006, Nancy Bent, review of Hit by a Farm, p. 14.
Eau Claire Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, WI), June 8, 2006, Ann Barsness, review of Hit by a Farm.
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2007, review of The Perfect Nest, p. 72.
Lambda Book Report, summer, 2006, Warren Keith Wright, review of Hit by a Farm.
Library Journal, April 1, 2006, Ilse Heidmann, review of Hit by a Farm, p. 114.
New York Times Book Review, July 9, 2006, Katherine Lanpher, "A Nation of Sheep," review of Hit by a Farm, p. 19.
Pittsburgh Tribune, March 18, 2007, Nicholas A. Basbanes, "Animals Take the Spotlight in this Month's Offerings," review of The Perfect Nest.
Publishers Weekly, April 25, 1994, review of My Head Is Full of Colors, p. 77; October 3, 1994, review of The Sawfin Stickleback: A Very Fishy Story, p. 68.
Saint Paul Pioneer Press, July 9, 2006, "Life among the Lambs: A Decade of Life on the Farm Provided the Inspiration for a Minnesota Woman's Funny and Touching New Memoir."
School Library Journal, February 1, 2001, Adele Greenlee, review of Funny Ruby, p. 100; March 1, 2001, Christina F. Renaud, review of Silly Ruby, p. 194; January 1, 2005, Marilyn Taniguchi, review of Eddie the Raccoon, p. 92.
Armchair Interviews,http://www.armchairinterviews.com/ (May 18, 2007), Connie Anderson, review of Hit by a Farm.
Catherine Friend Home Page,http://www.catherinefriend.com (May 18, 2007).
Hit by a Farm Web site,http://www.hitbyafarm.com (May 18, 2007).