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MacDonald, Alan 1958-

MacDonald, Alan 1958-

PERSONAL:

Born 1958, in Watford, England. Education: Attended Bangor University and Nottingham University. Hobbies and other interests: Soccer.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Nottingham, England.

CAREER:

Writer, 1989—. Worked as a performer in a traveling theatre company; director of theatre productions; has also worked as an editor and in a day center.

WRITINGS:

BOOKS

(With Stephen Stickley) The Drama Recipe Book, Minstrel, 1989.

(With others) The Time of Your Life, Inter-Varsity Press (Downers Grove, IL), 1989.

(With Tony Campolo) The Career Starter Guide: Finding and Mastering Your First Job, Frameworks (Leicester, England), 1990.

Films in Close-Up: Getting the Most from Film and Video, Frameworks (Leicester, England), 1991, published as Movies in Close-Up: Getting the Most from Film and Video, InterVarsity Press (Downers Grove, IL), 1992.

(With Janet Stickley) The Essential Christmas Book, Lion (Oxford, England), 1992, published as The Family Christmas Book, Lion (Batavia, IL), 1992.

The Essential Easter Book, Lion (Oxford, England), 1993, published as The Family Easter Book, Lion (Batavia, IL), 1993.

Whispering in God's Ear: A New Collection of Poetry for Children, illustrated by Susie Poole, Lion (Oxford, England), 1994.

The Personality Potion, illustrated by John Eastwood, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1996.

The Great Spaghetti Suit, illustrated by Pat McCarthy, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1996.

Forgetful Little Fireman, illustrated by Philip Hopman, Ladybird (Loughborough, England), 1997.

Beware of the Bears!, illustrated by Gwyneth Williamson, Little Tiger Press (Waukesha, WI), 1998.

The King Next Door, illustrated by Nick Ward, Lion (Oxford, England), 1998.

The Pig in a Wig, illustrated by Paul Hess, Macdonald Young (Hove, England), 1998, Peachtree Publishers (Atlanta, GA), 1999.

The Goalie from Nowhere, illustrated by Jane Cope, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1998.

The Wrong Letter, illustrated by Judy Brown, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1998.

Leon Gets a Scarecut, illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert, Macdonald Young (Hove, England), 1998.

Leon's Fancy Dress Day, illustrated by Sally Anne Lambert, Macdonald Young (Hove, England), 1998.

The Not-So-Wise Man, illustrated by Andrew Rowland, Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1999.

(Reteller) The Magic Porridge Pot: Based on a Traditional Folk Tale, illustrated by Tania Hurt-Newton, Ladybird (Loughborough, England), 1999.

A Fish for Supper, illustrated by Glummie Riday, Little Tiger Press (London, England), 1999.

The Worst Team in the World, illustrated by John Eastwood, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999.

Henry VIII and His Chopping Block, illustrated by Philip Reeve, Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

(Reteller) The Gingerbread Man: Based on a Traditional Folk Tale, illustrated by Anja Rieger, Ladybird (Loughborough, England), 1999.

Al Capone and His Gang, illustrated by Philip Reeve, Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

Triffic Chocolate, illustrated by Clive Goddard, Hippo (London, England), 2000.

Football Stories That Really Happened, Hippo (London, England), 2000.

Oliver Cromwell and His Warts, illustrated by Philip Reeve, Hippo (London, England), 2000.

Titanic, illustrated by Pete Smith, Scholastic (London, England), 2001.

(Adaptor) Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2001.

(Adaptor) Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2001.

Snarlyhissopus, illustrated by Louise Voce, Tiger Tales Books (Wilton, CT), 2002.

The Great Brain Robbery, illustrated by Lizzie Finlay, Scholastic (London, England), 2002.

Scaredy Mouse, illustrated by Tim Warnes, Little Tiger Books (London, England), 2002.

High Five Henry, illustrated by Phillippe Dupasquier, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2002, published as High Five Hank, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.

Mark's Dream Team, illustrated by Clive Goodyer, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2002.

Queen Victoria and Her Amusements, illustrated by Clive Goddard, Hippo (London, England), 2002.

Yummy Scrummy, illustrated by Judy Brown, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2002.

The Sand Witch, illustrated by Chris Mould, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2002, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.

The Great Escape, illustrated by Lizzie Finlay, Hippo (London, England), 2003.

Tutankhamun's Tomb, Scholastic (London, England), 2003.

Miss Nile's Mummy Lessons, illustrated by Kelly Waldek, Scholastic (London, England), 2003.

Winston Churchill and His Great Wars, illustrated by Clive Goddard, Hippo (London, England), 2004.

The Spy from the Wreck, Scholastic (London, England), 2005.

The Sign of the Angel, Scholastic (London, England), 2005.

Wilfred to the Rescue (based on Jill Barklem's "Brambly Hedge" series), illustrated by Lizzie Sanders, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2006.

Fleas, illustrated by David Roberts, Stripes (London, England), 2006.

Nothing but Trouble, illustrated by Pam Smy, A&C Black (London, England), 2006.

Primrose in Charge, illustrated by Lizzie Sanders, HarperCollins (London, England), 2007.

Burp!, illustrated by David Roberts, Stripes (London, England), 2007.

Contest Crazy, illustrated by Judy Brown, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.

Cleaner Genie, illustrated by Martin Remphry, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2007.

Trolls Go Home!, illustrated by Mark Beech, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2007.

Trolls United!, illustrated by Mark Beech, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2007.

Trolls on Hols, illustrated by Mark Beech, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2007, published as Trolls on Vacation, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2008.

Goat Pie, illustrated by Mark Beech, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2007.

Custardly Wart: Pirate (Third Class), illustrated by Mark Beech, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2008.

Ditherus Wart: (Accidental) Gladiator, illustrated by Mark Beech, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2008.

Honesty Wart: Witch Hunter, illustrated by Mark Beech, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2008.

Sir Bigwart: Knight of the Wonky Table, illustrated by Mark Beech, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2008.

Writer of episodes for television series, including Roly Mo Show, BBC-TV, and The Fimbles, BBC-TV. Writer of stories for BBC Radio. Author of stage plays.

SIDELIGHTS:

Alan MacDonald is a prolific British author of fiction and nonfiction for young readers. Born in Watford, England, in 1958, MacDonald studied English literature and drama at Bangor University and joined a traveling children's theater company as a performer and writer. He also trained as a drama teacher at Nottingham University, and he has written stories and plays for BBC Radio as well as episodes of the Roly Mo Show and The Fimbles for BBC-TV.

One of MacDonald's early works, Beware of the Bears!, spoofs the classic Grimm Brothers tale "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." In MacDonald's version, the Bears return home to find that someone has been eating their porridge and sleeping in their beds. When the Bears later notice Goldilocks leaving another cottage, they decide to teach her a lesson and proceed to create a mess of their own, only to discover that the owner of the home isn't who they expected. According to Stephanie Zvirin in Booklist, Beware of the Bears! "is lots of silly fun."

A case of mistaken identity is the subject of Snarlyhissopus, another picture book. After Pelican spots a hippopotamus for the first time, she excitedly relates the encounter to Monkey but refers to the creature as a Spottyhippomus. Monkey creates further confusion when he tells Zebra about the ugly Woppabigamouse lurking about, and before long the entire jungle has been alerted to the presence of the fearsome Snarlyhissopus. "MacDonald's silly variations on Hippopotamus … good-naturedly prove that the time-tested game of ‘Telephone’ endures," wrote a contributor in Publishers Weekly.

In Scaredy Mouse, Squeak, a timid rodent, and his sister, Nibbles, decide to venture from their safety of their home beneath the stairs to nab a slice of chocolate cake. Before leaving, Squeak ties the end of a ball of string around this tummy so he won't get lost, and as the pair make their way to the kitchen, Squeak is certain that he spies the family's ginger cat around each corner. When the feline finally does appear, Squeak's stringy path comes in handy. A critic in Kirkus Reviews described Scaredy Mouse as an "amusing tale."

In Wilfred to the Rescue, a work based on Jill Barklem's "Brambly Hedge" series, Wilfred and his mouse family open their home to a family of voles after heavy rains flood the riverbank. During a game of hide-and-seek, a tiny vole falls asleep in a basket boat that begins to float away, prompting Wilfred and his friend, Horace, to board their raft and head downstream. MacDonald "offers a good story," Carolyn Phelan remarked in Booklist, and Maura Bresnahan, writing in School Library Journal, applauded "the book's gently paced plot and satisfying conclusion."

A trio of hairy, goat-eating trolls move into the cozy suburb of Biddlesden and make life difficult for their new neighbors, the Priddles, in Trolls Go Home! Young readers "will hear the messages about cultural tolerance, but it's the slapstick comedy that will draw readers" to the work, wrote Booklist critic Gillian Engberg. In a sequel, Trolls on Hols, Egbert, Nora, and Ulrik Troll sneak aboard the Priddles' van as they prepare for a vacation in Wales. "This is the type of light-hearted, well-plotted book that is often overlooked …, but is perfect for readers who hoot at Fungus the Bogeyman and who will one day discover P.G. Wodehouse," remarked Amanda Craig in the London Times Online.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 1998, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Beware of the Bears!, p. 1632; March 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Wilfred to the Rescue, p. 100; May 1, 2007, Gillian Engberg, review of Trolls, Go Home!, p. 99.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2002, review of Scaredy Mouse, p. 261; April 1, 2007, review of Trolls, Go Home!

Publishers Weekly, July 12, 1999, review of The Pig in a Wig, p. 94; February 4, 2002, review of Snarlyhissopus, p. 75.

School Library Journal, June, 2002, Roxanne Burg, review of Scaredy Mouse, p. 102; March, 2006, Maura Bresnahan, review of Wilfred to the Rescue, p. 198.

ONLINE

Bloomsbury Web site,http://www.bloomsbury.com/ (August 15, 2008), "Alan MacDonald."

British Broadcasting Corporation Web site,http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbc7/kids/ (August 15, 2008), "Alan MacDonald."

Times Online,http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/ (August 18, 2007), Amanda Craig, "Holiday Horrors," review of Trolls on Hols.

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