Hopkins, Jackie (Mims) 1952-

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HOPKINS, Jackie (Mims) 1952-

PERSONAL: Born October 2, 1952, in Tyler, TX; daughter of Levi Jackson (a geologist) and Rhebajo (a homemaker; maiden name, Rogers) Mims; married Jeffrey Van Hopkins (a commercial insurance manager), July 28, 1972; children: Jonathan, Katie. Education: Attended Texas Tech University, 1971-72; University of Arkansas, B.S., 1976; Texas A & M University, M.A., 1993. Politics: Republican. Religion: Christian.


ADDRESSES: Home—13223 Golden Valley, Cypress, TX 77429. E-mail—[email protected]


CAREER: Eastdale Academy, Memphis, TN, elementary school teacher, 1976-78; Lamkin Elementary, Houston, TX, elementary school teacher, 1978-81; Building Rainbows, Houston, kindergarten teacher, 1985-88; Matzke Elementary, Houston, elementary school teacher, 1988-91, librarian/media specialist, 1994—; Horne Elementary, Houston, librarian/media specialist, 1991-93.


MEMBER: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Association of Texas Professional Educators, Texas Library Association.


WRITINGS:

Tumbleweed Tom on the Texas Trail, illustrated by Kay Salem, Charlesbridge (Watertown, MA), 1994.

The Horned Toad Prince, Peachtree Publishers (Atlanta, GA), 2000.

Three Armadillies Tuff, Peachtree Publishers (Atlanta, GA), 2002.


SIDELIGHTS: Jackie Hopkins has written fanciful children's books set in the state of Texas. The Horned Toad Prince retells the classic fairy tales about the Frog Prince, while Three Armadillies Tuff is a version of "Three Billy Goats Gruff."


In The Horned Toad Prince Reba Jo, a young cowgirl, loses her new sombrero down a dried-up well. A horned toad recovers it for her, but wants three favors in return: Reba Jo must feed him some chili, sing him a song on her guitar, and let him take a nap in her sombrero. Once she has completed these tasks, a kiss from her transforms the horned toad into a prince. The story includes some twenty-five words in Spanish which are easily learned from the context in which they are used. A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that Hopkins "spices up the Brothers Grimm's 'The Frog Prince' by setting it in the American Southwest." Ilene Cooper of Booklist called The Horned Toad Prince "a sassy update" of the Grimm Brothers' tale. She concluded that Hopkins's story was "fun through and through." Maryann H. Owen, in School Library Journal, found the story to be "an entertaining version of 'The Frog Prince' with a Texas twist."

Three Armadillies Tuff is a Texas version of the old fairy tale "Three Billy Goats Gruff." In Hopkins's story, three armadillo sisters—Lilly, Jilly, and Dilly—want to cross a highway to visit a new dance hall on the other side. But the traffic is dangerous and armadillos are slow creatures. So they decide to take a safe short cut through a drain pipe under the road. There they meet up with a hungry, determined coyote who can only be outwitted with a dance invitation of her own. "Droll turns of phrase ('Lilly . . . knew how to shake her shell on the dance floor') and hints of dialect add fun and flavor to the tale," according to Gay Lynn Van Vleck in School Library Journal.


Hopkins once commented: "The first book I can remember reading as a child is The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss. I loved the rhythm and the silliness of the words. Dr. Seuss's books were fast-paced like me. I didn't enjoy reading any book of length because I was so hyperactive and couldn't sit still long enough to read. I liked picture books, but when I was old enough to begin reading chapter books like Nancy Drew, I continued to only want picture books that I could finish quickly. Who would have ever imagined that a kid who had no interest in reading would someday become a teacher and, later, a librarian? It was more than twenty years ago in a college children's literature class that I first fell in love with books.


"Over the years I've spent a good portion of my teacher paychecks on children's books to supplement the curriculum. It was during one of these searches for the perfect books on Texas that I discovered a real deficit. Like many native Texans, I take great pride in our state. It was this pride and a need for literature about Texas for younger students that sparked my interest in creating my first book, Tumbleweed Tom on the Texas Trail. The children loved my book, and eight years later, I found a publishing company that liked it, too.


"As an educator and a librarian I continue to firmly believe in using literature to enrich curriculum. I provide my teachers with as many books on a subject as I can find. In addition to helping out the teachers, I love reading aloud and story-telling to the children. It's wonderful to share literature just for the fun of it, too!


"I hope to write more books that teachers will find useful in their teaching, but it is also my desire to write books that will enchant and delight children of all ages. Hopefully they won't have to wait until they are in college to discover the magic of books."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2000, Ilene Cooper, review of The Horned Toad Prince, p. 1756.

Horn Book Guide, fall, 1995, p. 399.

Publishers Weekly, March 6, 2000, review of The Horned Toad Prince, p. 110.

School Library Journal, April, 2000, Maryann H. Owen, review of The Horned Toad Prince, p. 106; April, 2002, Gay Lynn Van Vleck, review of The Three Armadillies Tuff, p. 112.

ONLINE

Charlesbridge Publishing Web site, http://www.charlesbridge.com/hopkins.htm/ (November 15, 2002), biography of Hopkins.

Three Armadillies Tuff Web site, http://www.armadillies.com/index.html/ (November 15, 2002), plot summary of Three Armadillies Tuff.*

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