Huggins, Peter

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Huggins, Peter

PERSONAL:

Education: University of Alabama, M.F.A.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Auburn, AL. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer and educator. Auburn University, Auburn, AL, professor of English.

MEMBER:

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Alabama Writers' Forum (president).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Award for Outstanding Professor, Auburn University Pan-Hellenic Council; Literature Fellowship in Poetry, Alabama State Council on the Arts, 2006; Children's Book Award nomination, International Reading Association, Ezra Jack Keats Award nomination, New York Public Library, and Golden Kite Award, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, 2006, and Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book designation and Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice designation, both 2007, all for Trosclair and the Alligator; instructor teaching award.

WRITINGS:

Hard Facts, Livingston Press (Livingston, AL), 1998.

Blue Angels: Poems, River City Publishing (Montgomery, AL), 2001.

Necessary Acts: Poems, River City Publishing (Montgomery, AL), 2004.

Trosclair and the Alligator, illustrations by Lindsey Gardiner, Star Bright Books (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

As a poet and professor of English at the University of Auburn, Peter Huggins brings to children's literature a depth and scope that is reminiscent of his poetry for adults. Jay Lamar, in reviewing Huggins's 2005 collection, Necessary Acts: Poems, for Phi Kappa Phi Forum, regarded the poet as a writer of "wide geographical and temporal range." In her review, Lamar also remarked that "Huggins is equally fluent with the things of the natural world," making the elements of nature—trees, birds, land and water—"major themes within his poetry." In a similar fashion, Huggins's children's book Trosclair and the Alligator tells the story of Trosclair, a Louisiana boy who is faced with the dangers of nature. As a local of the Bayou Fontaine, young Trosclair is fond of turtle-egg hunting. He is determined to find the best eggs in the Bee Island Swamp, even though there is an unfriendly gator that haunts the wetland. Despite Trosclair's father's warnings, the boy still dreams of capturing quality turtle eggs, and he ultimately heads out to the swamp, with his dog Ollie in tow. As predicted, a dangerous encounter occurs between Trosclair and the Bee Island Swamp gator. The boy must rely on his wits in order to escape the animal's strong jaws.

As reviewers noted, with Trosclair and the Alligator Huggins appeals to both young readers looking for an entertaining story and adults who appreciate the book's literary merits. A Children's Bookwatch reviewer predicted that the picture book, featuring illustrations by Lindsey Gardiner, "will thoroughly engage and entertain children," while Mary Hazelton noted in a review for School Library Journal that Huggins's prose, "rich with imagery," strikes a "careful balance between evocative dialect and a readable tale."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Trosclair and the Alligator, p. 51.

Children's Bookwatch, February, 2006, review of Trosclair and the Alligator.

Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 2005, Jay Lamar, review of Necessary Acts: Poems, p. 41.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2006, review of Trosclair and the Alligator, p. 132.

School Library Journal, March, 2006, Mary Hazelton, review of Trosclair and the Alligator, p. 194.

ONLINE

Auburn University Web site,http://www.auburn.edu/ (March 30, 2007), "Peter Huggins."

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