Hogg, Tracy 1960–2004

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Hogg, Tracy 1960–2004

PERSONAL: Born August 6, 1960, in Doncaster, England; died of melanoma, November 25, 2004, in Doncaster, England; married twice; second husband's name Tom; children: two. Education: Doncaster School of Nursing, Doncaster, England, R.N.M.H.

CAREER: Child care consultant and writer. St. Catherine's Hospital for the Mentally Handicapped, Doncaster, England, nurse; Baby Techniques (retail store and childcare consulting service), Encino, CA, founder.

WRITINGS:

(With Melinda Blau) Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Melinda Blau) Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Melinda Blau) The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (by Teaching You How to Ask the Right Questions), Atria Books (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Trained as a mental-health nurse in her native England, Tracy Hogg made a name for herself in the United States as a nanny and childcare consultant to Hollywood's elite. Her experience working with special-needs children and as an advisor to parents of newborns imparted a special talent for being able to interpret the cries and body language of infants. Hogg moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1992, and after establishing a clientele that included numerous movie and television stars, she opened a retail store and consulting service called Baby Technique. Her uncanny ability to soothe newborn babies—and their parents—led to her earning the nickname "the baby whisperer."

Hogg worked with freelance writer Melinda Blau to compose the popular three-part "Baby Whisperer" series. Hogg was encouraged to pen the first book in the series, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby, by her clients after her pamphlet "How to Hire a Nanny—Not a Ninny" became widely circulated. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer was released in 2001 and provides advice on easing the transition from the hospital to the home, relying on acronyms such as EASY (eating, activity, sleeping, your time) and SLOW (stop, listen, observe, what's up). At the core of Hogg's child-rearing philosophies is a balance between the extremes of "attachment parenting" (including cosleeping and on-cue feeding) and the "cry-it-out" method, with a focus on treating the infant with respect and establishing a structured routine from the outset. Nancy Spillman, a contributor to Booklist, wrote that the first book "bubbles with unbridled enthusiasm." A Publishers Weekly reviewer described Hogg as writing with "spunky British humor" and "compassion." Annette V. Janes, writing for Library Journal, described the book as possessing "unusual tenderness and heart…. This is the perfect gift for a new mom and family."

Hogg and Blau moved onto the toddler stage in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers, published in 2002. With a format similar to the original book, Hogg introduces the acronym HELP, which stands for hold yourself back, encourage exploration and experimentation, limit, and praise. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked, "Hogg offers basic advice on most aspects of childrearing, including toilet training, protecting newly ambulatory toddlers, sibling rivalry and tantrums. Her suggestions are occasionally humorous and always practical." Booklist contributor Mary Frances Wilkens commented that the book is "a welcome addition to childcare guides, an area that is crowded but lacking in substance. Its focus on just those few years between infancy and preschool makes it a real treasure."

The final book in Hogg's series is titled The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (by Teaching You How to Ask the Right Questions) and addresses many of the questions parents raised after reading the earlier "Baby Whisperer" books, in addition to offering several new techniques for preventing chronic sleeping and eating problems. A reviewer for Library Bookwatch described it as "an outstanding final book which explores how [Hogg] arrived at her solutions—and how parents can, too." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote, "The high-spirited Hogg is humorous yet relentless in her quest to help parents find out why their baby acts a certain way and how to manage and respond to various behaviors." Saddly, Hogg died at the age of forty-four of melanoma, just over a month before her last book was released.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, June 1, 2001, Nancy Spillman, review of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby, p. 1908; December 15, 2001, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers, p. 682.

Library Bookwatch, April, 2005, review of The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems (by Teaching You How to Ask the Right Questions).

Library Journal, January 1, 2001, Annette V. Janes, review of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, p. 146.

Publishers Weekly, December 18, 2000, review of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, p. 75; December 24, 2001, review of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers, p. 61; January 17, 2005, review of The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, p. 49.

ONLINE

Baby Whisperer Web site, http://www.babywhisperer.com/ (September 29, 2005).

OBITUARIES:

PERIODICALS

America's Intelligence Wire, December 8, 2004.

ONLINE

Telegraph Online, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ (October 12, 2004).

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Hogg, Tracy 1960–2004

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