Wolfe, Frances

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Wolfe, Frances

PERSONAL: Born in Nova Scotia, Canada.

ADDRESSES: HomeNova Scotia, Canada. Agent—c/o Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia, 1113 Marginal Rd., Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4P7, Canada.

CAREER: Author, illustrator, storyteller, and puppeteer; Halifax Public Library, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, children's library employee for over thirty years.

MEMBER: Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia.

AWARDS, HONORS: Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, Canadian Library Association, and Ann Connor Brimmer Award for Children's Literature, both 2002, both for Where I Live; Mayor's Award for Excellence in Illustration, Halifax Regional Municipality, 2004, for One Wish.



Where I Live, Tundra Books (Plattsburgh, NY), 2001.

One Wish, Tundra Books (Plattsburgh, NY), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS: Frances Wolfe is a self-taught Canadian painter whose picture books are notable for their "beautiful, impressive art," as Be Astengo described it in a School Library Journal review of Wolfe's award-winning first book, Where I Live. Wolfe worked in the Youth Services department of the library in her native Halifax, Nova Scotia for nearly thirty years before she published her first book. A well-known artist in her region, her paintings and murals can be found in several Halifax libraries.

Where I Live and Wolfe's second book, One Wish, are both odes to the Canadian seashore, a place where Wolfe's family has lived for over one hundred years. In Where I Live the young narrator describes her environment "in spare, poetic prose," Astengo explained. Although the narrator does not say where she lives until the end of the book, Wolfe's "strikingly larger than life" illustrations, as Fern Kory described them in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, provide plenty of obvious clues. "The end result," Denise Parrott concluded in Resource Links, "is an East Coast anthem that will speak to any child about the sea."

Although it is still a picture book, One Wish is perhaps of more interest to adults than children, according to some critics. The narrator, again a little girl, talks about her one wish in life: to own a cottage by the sea. She explains all of the things she would see and do if she could live by the ocean, such as feeding seagulls, collecting seashells, and sailing. Finally, Wolfe reveals that the narrator got her wish: at the end of the book a spread depicts an old woman sitting on her porch watching the ocean. The "breathtaking" and "magnificent illustrations," as Judy Cottrell described them in Resource Links, may be the true draw of One Wish, especially for younger readers. "Stunning, light-filled paintings dominate each spread," Lee Bock noted in School Library Journal, and Booklist contributor Ilene Cooper commented upon a spread showing the narrator's beachcombing finds"—shells, a starfish, a feather—so carefully depicted that every detail can be seen."



Booklist, May 1, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of Where I Live, p. 1694; June 1, 2004, Ilene Cooper, review of One Wish, p. 1750.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May, 2001, Fern Kory, review of Where I Live, p. 356.

Resource Links, April, 2001, Denise Parrott, review of Where I Live, p. 9; April, 2004, Judy Cottrell, review of One Wish, p. 56.

School Library Journal, April, 2001, Be Astnego, review of Where I Live, p. 136; June, 2004, Lee Bock, review of One Wish, p. 122.


BookLoons.com, http://www.bookloons.com/ (March 3, 2005), Hilary Williamson, review of One Wish.

Canadian Library Association Web site, http://www.cla.ca/ (June 26, 2002), "Frances Wolfe Winner of the 2002 Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Medal."

Random House Web site, http://www.randomhouse.com/ (March 18, 2005), "Frances Wolfe."

Tundra Books Web site, http://www.tundrabooks.com/ (March 18, 2005), "Frances Wolfe."

Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia Web site, http://www.writers.ns.ca/ (March 3, 2005), "Frances Wolfe."