Aldridge, Sheila 1974-
Aldridge, Sheila 1974-
Born 1974, in Atlanta, GA; married; husband's name Gabe; children: Atticus. Education: Portfolio Center (Atlanta, GA), graduate, 2000.
Home and office—Atlanta, GA. Agent—Susan Wells & Associates, 5134 Timber Trail S., Atlanta, GA 30342. E-mail—[email protected]
Karen Rostoker-Gruber, Food Fright!: A Mouthwatering Novelty Book, Price Stern Sloan (New York, NY), 2003.
Fran Kennedy, The Pickle Patch Bathtub, Tricycle Press (Berkeley, CA), 2004.
Matthew Henry Hall, Phoebe and Chub, Rising Moon (Flagstaff, AZ), 2005.
Fran Kennedy, The Just-Right, Perfect Present, Tricycle Press (Berkeley, CA), 2007.
Sheila Aldridge is an Atlanta, Georgia-based artist whose work can be found in picture books by Karen Rostoker-Gruber, Fran Kennedy, and Matthew Henry Hall. As she explained to SATA, "I was raised an only child who learned how to entertain herself quickly with a pen and a college-ruled notebook on long car rides with her parents who were selling property at the time. I made up my own books and illustrations and loved for my mom to tell me stories from when she was a little girl to retelling fairy tales."
Aldridge's first book-illustration project, the interactive Food Fright!: A Mouthwatering Novelty Book, pairs a humorous cast of ten monsters with a rhyming text by Rostoker-Gruber that finds the hungry creatures preparing a monstrous feast featuring eyeball stew and other delicacies. Phoebe and Chub, a whimsical fantasy by Hall, focuses on the magic of friendship, while Aldridge's collaboration with Kennedy draws on the author's rural roots and shows Aldridge's range as an artist.
In The Pickle Patch Bathtub Kennedy's folk-style story takes readers back to 1920s Missouri where a girl named Donna has grown too tall and gangly to fit into her farm family's tin washtub. Knowing that the family cannot afford such a luxury as a new bathtub, Donna and her siblings go into the cucumber-raising business, earning enough money to afford a satisfactory bathtub from the Sears & Roebuck mail-order catalogue. In keeping with the nostalgic-themed tale, Aldridge contributes oil-and acrylic collage paintings that "are filled with details of life on the farm," as a Kirkus Reviews writer observed. Also observing that the book's illustrations "are reminiscent of American folk art," Linda L. Walkins added in School Library Journal that The Pickle Patch Bathtub treats readers to an "engaging" story that "vividly bring[s] the past to life."
Aldridge and Kennedy team up again in creating The Just-Right, Perfect Present, which also centers on the relationships in Donna's close-knit farming family. At a celebration of Grandma and Grandpa's fiftieth wedding anniversary, family members gather at the family orchard and the grandchildren recite poems they have learned by heart. When Donna learns that the poem she has memorized is one that a younger relative also planned to recite, she finds the time to learn a much longer poem, thanks to her helpful siblings. Aldridge's "old-fashioned folksy paintings and hay-colored tones reinforce the … gentle mood" of Kennedy's simple story, concluded School Library Journal contributor Martha Simpson, and in Kirkus Reviews a critic noted that the collage illustrations in The Just-Right, Perfect Present are "rich in lemon/lime undertones" that add to the book's "old-fashioned, folksy feeling." "Well attuned to the tone" Kennedy infuses into her nostalgic story, Aldridge's illustrations "glow with a warm, nostalgic gold tone that suits … the … well-written text," according to Booklist contributor Carolyn Phelan.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, July 1, 2007, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Just-Right, Perfect Present, p. 65.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2004, review of The Pickle Patch Bathtub, p. 332; May 1, 2007, review of The Just-Right, Perfect Present.
School Library Journal, October, 2004, Linda L. Walkins, review of The Pickle Patch Bathtub, p. 120; November, 2007, Martha Simpson, review of The Just-Right, Perfect Present, p. 93.
Sheila Aldridge Home Page,http://www.sheilaaldridge.com (August 6, 2008).