PERSONAL: Married; husband a professor; children: one daughter. Hobbies and other interests: Attending plays and films, reading, long walks, travel.
ADDRESSES: Home—Columbus, OH. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Harcourt International, 6277 Sea Harbor Dr., Orlando, FL 32887.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best Book for Young Adults citation, American Library Association, 2003, for East.
Hero's Song, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1991.
Fire Arrow (sequel to Hero's Song), Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 1998.
Mrs. Spitzer's Garden, illustrated by Tricia Tusa, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2001.
East, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Edith Pattou was inspired to become a writer after reading C. S. Lewis's "Narnia" series at age ten. She also began keeping a writer's notebook, an idea gleaned from a reading of Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. In 1991 she fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a novelist, publishing the fantasy novel Hero's Song. In addition to expanding her first novel into the "Songs of Eirren" series with Fire Arrow, Pattou has also published the highly acclaimed young-adult novel East, as well as Mrs. Spitzer's Garden, a picture book featuring illustrations by Tricia Tusa.
In Hero's Song readers meet Collun, a young gardener who leaves his family farm to search for his kidnapped sister, Nessa, and encounters a wealth of obstacles along his path. In true epic fantasy fashion, Collun is joined by three fellow travelers and his quest soon involves the future of the entire kingdom of Eirren. One of Collun's traveling companions, a master archer named Brie, becomes the focus of Fire Arrow, which follows her own quest to avenge the murder of Brie's father. Praising Pattou's "sympathetic characterizations" as well as the novel's "fast pacing" and "well-realized landscape," Booklist contributor Sally Estes praised Fire Arrow as "a rousing story that … begs yet another sequel," while SFSite.com reviewer Victoria Strauss praised Brie as "an appealing character, entirely believable in her determination and bravery."
As its title implies, East is Pattou's romantic retelling of the well-known Norse fable "East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon." In a story that, according to a Publishers Weekly writer, "unfolds … slowly and carefully, luring readers across many miles with the brave and determined" heroine, East finds fifteen-year-old Rose haunted by a prophecy that she would one day be buried under snow and ice. Although her mother frets, few others are worried by the prophecy, although it is clear that Rose, with her purple eyes and talent for weaving, is an unusual child. Ultimately, the girl is visited by a white bear who promises to heal Rose's sickly sister if the girl will take a trip with him. Because she is compassionate as well as talented, she accepts. Reaching her destination, an underground castle that fulfils her birth prophecy, Rose learns that the bear is actually an enchanted prince. Meanwhile, a jealous troll queen, realizing that the prince hopes to wed Rose, kidnaps the white bear, forcing Rose to undertake yet another trip, this one fraught with fairytale horrors before it concludes with a fitting fairy-tale ending.
Praising East, Kliatt contributor Claire Rosser wrote that in this long novel Pattou fashions "a successful fantasy out of a simple fairy tale" and draws readers into an unusual northern European culture. The novel features "epic tale telling, replete with high drama and compelling characterizations," noted Estes, dubbing the novel a "rich tapestry" due to Pattou's interweaving of multiple narrations. The author's text "pitches readers gracefully between myth and fantasy," wrote Francisca Goldsmith in School Library Journal, while in a review for SFSite.com Cindy Lynn Speer praised it as a "lyrical, beautiful story" in which Pattou, respecting her source, "sticks to the old tale, keeping true in all senses of the word, in language, in wonder."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 1998, Sally Estes, review of Fire Arrow, p. 1623; September 1, 2003, Sally Estes, review of East, p. 123.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 1991, review of Hero's Song, p. 102; October, 2003, Betsy Hearne, review of East, p. 73.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2003, review of East, p. 1180.
Kliatt, September, 2003, Claire Rosser, review of East, p. 10.
Publishers Weekly, October 4, 1991, review of Hero's Song, p. 88; March 26, 2001, review of Mrs. Spitzer's Garden, p. 92; July 28, 2003, review of East, p. 96.
School Library Journal, January, 1992, Virginia Golodetz, review of Hero's Song, p. 137; July, 1998, Barbara Scotto, review of Fire Arrow, p. 98; April, 2001, Margaret Bush, review of Mrs. Spitzer's Garden, p. 120; December, 2003, Francisca Goldsmith, review of East, p. 158; February, 2005, p. 47.
Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1992, review of Hero's Song, p. 385; October, 1998, review of Fire Arrow, p. 286.
SFSite.com, http://www.sfsite.com/ (September 17, 2005), Cindy Lynn Speer, review of East; Victoria Strauss, review of Fire Arrow.