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Loomis, Christine

Loomis, Christine

PERSONAL:

Children: three.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Boulder, CO.

CAREER:

Author. Former travel editor, Parents' (magazine); magazine and travel editor, Family Life (magazine).

WRITINGS:

FOR CHILDREN

My New Baby-sitter, photographs by George Ancona, Morrow (New York, NY), 1991.

At the Laundromat, illustrated by Nancy Poydar, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1993.

At the Library, illustrated by Nancy Poydar, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1993.

The Cleanup Surprise, illustrated by Julie Brillhart, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1993.

At the Mall, illustrated by Nancy Poydar, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1994.

In the Diner, illustrated by Nancy Poydar, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1994.

One Cow Coughs: A Counting Book for the Sick and Miserable, illustrated by Pat Dypold, Ticknor & Fields (New York, NY), 1994.

We're Going on a Trip, illustrated by Maxie Chambliss, Morrow (New York, NY), 1994.

The Hippo Hop, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1995.

Rush Hour, illustrated by Mari Takabayashi, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1996.

Cowboy Bunnies, illustrated by Ora Eitan, Putnam (New York, NY), 1997.

Astro Bunnies, illustrated by Ora Eitan, Putnam (New York, NY), 1998.

Across America, I Love You, illustrated by Kate Kiesler, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 2000.

Scuba Bunnies, illustrated by Ora Eitan, Putnam (New York, NY), 2004.

The 10 Best Things about My Dad, illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic, Cartwheel Books (New York, NY), 2004.

Hattie Hippo, illustrated by Robert Neubecker, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 2006.

The Best Father's Day Present Ever, illustrated by Pam Paparone, Putnam (New York, NY), 2007.

OTHER

Fodor's Family Adventures, Fodor's Travel Publications (New York, NY), 1996, second edition, 1998.

Simplify Family Travel, illustrated by Travis Foster, Reader's Digest (New York, NY), 1998.

Fodor's around Denver with Kids: 68 Great Things to Do Together, Fodor's Travel Publications (New York, NY), 2002.

Also contributor of articles to Parents' magazine, 1986-90.

SIDELIGHTS:

Christine Loomis is the author of family travel guides and several books for small children. Many of her books seek to introduce youngsters to the commonplace experiences they encounter as they grow up, such as going to a diner or taking a vacation trip. For instance, My New Baby-sitter tells children what to expect while being looked after by a caregiver at home or in a home-based daycare center. It also includes a long introductory note to parents giving advice on how to work with children and caregivers in such situations. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the book a "lucid" and "candid" work, praising its "sharp, realistic photos." School Library Journal contributor Jacqueline Elsner liked the photographs but considered the book's advice to parents "condescending" and unrealistic. Deborah Abbott, writing in Booklist, objected to Loomis's "idealized" treatment of daycare, but she admitted that "the book comforts and supports and is a good one to share."

In the Diner uses short rhymes and watercolor illustrations to convey the cheerful sociability of a meal at a fast-food diner. As in My New Baby-sitter, the illustrations feature children and adults of many ethnic backgrounds. Booklist reviewer Hazel Rochman wrote that "children will see why they feel right at home here." School Library Journal contributor Mary Rinato Berman extolled "the catchy, short text and clear, lively pictures."

One Cow Coughs: A Counting Book for the Sick and Miserable helps children with the flu understand their illness. "Sick and miserable" farm animals are used to guide young readers and listeners through the numbers one to ten ("Two mules moan. Three sheep shake"), and then backwards from ten to one. As the numbers decrease, children learn that the flu eventually goes away. Booklist contributor Mary Harris Veeder termed the illustrations "appealing" and recommended the book as "eminently suitable" for small children. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews was put off by the "strangely bleached and uniform look" of the illustrations, but nonetheless recommended the book as "an excellent choice" for sick youngsters.

We're Going on a Trip follows three families getting ready for trips by car, train, and airplane. School Library Journal critic Virginia Opocensky wrote that in some respects the book presents an "unrealistic" picture of air travel, and that the section on rail travel leaves "too many questions … unanswered." A Publishers Weekly critic declared the watercolor illustrations "wholesome" and "cheery," however, and Childhood Education contributor Camille Hodges considered the illustrations appealing and called the dialogue "humorous and realistic."

The setting of The Hippo Hop is a funky jungle dance club where animals both familiar and exotic gather to party all night. The story is conveyed through verse and watercolor illustrations. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews described The Hippo Hop as a "modest, preschool-sized helping of zoology enjoyably insinuated in verse." In Publishers Weekly, a reviewer thought that the "jitterbug-jump art and text" worked well together, while School Library Journal writer Martha Topol considered the story to be "slim," but praised the illustrations and "lively rhyming text."

Rush Hour, which is set in New York City, shows mothers and fathers at work and explains how they get to and from their jobs each day. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly admired the book's "engaging" watercolor illustrations and "concise" rhymes. The reviewer also believed that the book might "instill a love of the kinetic vibrancy of urban life" in children. Native New Yorker John Peters, writing in School Library Journal, commented that the "simple, energetic language and visuals are well matched," but added that the illustrations do not provide an ethnically accurate representation of the city's population.

Cowboy Bunnies uses rhyming couplets and Ora Eitan's gouache paintings on weathered wooden planks to tell the story of rabbits who "Start at sunup / Work all day / Roping cows / Tossing hay." School Library Journal contributor Ruth Semrau also praised the illustrations and called the book "a rollicking addition to the genre of bedtime reading for the very young," while Horn Book reviewer Roger Sutton praised the way in which "Eitan invests simple, suggestive shapes with luminous wonder."

Astro Bunnies is a follow up to Cowboy Bunnies. Again illustrated by Ora Eitan, the story, which is written to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," finds a group of bunnies preparing to launch a rocket into space. Here the bunnies, now astronauts, perform typical mission tasks, such as exploring a planet and taking a space walk. In a review for School Library Journal, Carolyn Jenks asserted that "everything about this mission is fun, right up to the satisfying ending." A reviewer for Horn Book declared Loomis's offering to be as "fantastical as a small child's imagination yet firmly grounded in the facts so dear to young explorers."

In Across America, I Love You Loomis uses the geography of the United States and its varied features as an analogy for the different stages of communication between a mother and her child as the child gradually grows older and more independent. The mother tells the small child that the sequoia tress in California are similar to her: as they cradle the sky, so does she cradle the child. Flowers blooming in the desert are likened to a girl getting older and maturing. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found the book "an openly sentimental tribute to both America's varied landscapes and to the parent-child bond."

Loomis returns once more to her bunny-themed books in Scuba Bunnies. This story finds the bunnies enjoying various activities, both in and under the water, ranging from scuba diving beneath the waves to taking a ride on a playful dolphin. Ilene Cooper, reviewing the work for Booklist, found it to be "a charmer that touches all the right buttons." School Library Journal critic Linda Ludke called this latest bunny book "a gentle, imaginative adventure."

Hattie Hippo features Loomis's trademark amusing rhymes, as well as illustrations by Robert Neubecker. The story follows Hattie the Hippo through a series of short anecdotes, each of which revolves in some way around her girth. While hippos are known for being fat, some reviewers felt that the negative attitude toward Hattie's weight might prove problematic for some parents and children. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews noted this concern, as well as remarking that "Hattie is too much of a caricature for kids to connect to." Nevertheless, in a review for School Library Journal, Rachel G. Payne stated that Hattie's attitude makes her something of a role model, concluding: "Young children will both laugh at and identity with Hattie."

The Best Father's Day Present Ever tells the story of a little snail who wants to get his father a gift for Father's Day, but has found that the local store is closed, and he himself is not good at making anything that would be a suitable gift. The problem is solved, however, when he discovers that his father is just as pleased, if not more so, to spend time with his child outside in nature instead of getting a more traditional present. School Library Journal writer Barbara Katz felt the youthful drawings did not match the slightly more difficult text, noting that "older children who can handle the text might think the cartoon-style illustrations … are babyish." A Kirkus Reviews critic, however, believed that the "humorous details will keep readers in stitches."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 15, 1991, Deborah Abbott, review of My New Baby-sitter, pp. 766-767; April 15, 1994, Hazel Rochman, review of In the Diner, p. 1537; October 15, 1994, Mary Harris Veeder, review of One Cow Coughs: A Counting Book for the Sick and Miserable, p. 437; March 15, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of Scuba Bunnies, p. 1309.

Childhood Education, fall, 1994, Camille Hodges, review of We're Going on a Trip, p. 46.

Horn Book, November/December, 1997, Roger Sutton, review of Cowboy Bunnies, pp. 670-671; January, 2001, review of Astro Bunnies, p. 84.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 1994, review of One Cow Coughs, p. 989; July 1, 1995, review of The Hippo Hop, p. 950; July 15, 2006, review of Hattie Hippo, p. 726; February 15, 2007, review of The Best Father's Day Present Ever.

Publishers Weekly, June 14, 1991, review of My New Baby-sitter, pp. 58-59; February 14, 1994, review of We're Going on a Trip, p. 88; August 14, 1995, review of The Hippo Hop, p. 83; August 26, 1996, review of Rush Hour, p. 96; June 19, 2000, review of Across America, I Love You, p. 78.

School Library Journal, October, 1991, Jacqueline Elsner, review of My New Baby-sitter, pp. 110-111; May, 1994, Mary Rinato Berman, review of In the Diner, p. 99; June, 1994, Virginia Opocensky, review of We're Going on a Trip, pp. 109-110; September, 1995, Martha Topol, review of The Hippo Hop, p. 181; September, 1996, John Peters, review of Rush Hour, p. 184; September, 1997, Ruth Semrau, review of Cowboy Bunnies, p. 186; February, 2001, Carolyn Jenks, review of Astro Bunnies, p. 102; February, 2004, Linda Ludke, review of Scuba Bunnies, p. 118; August, 2006, Rachel G. Payne, review of Hattie Hippo, p. 92; April, 2007, Barbara Katz, review of The Best Father's Day Present Ever, p. 111.

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