Broekstra, Lorette 1964-

views updated

Broekstra, Lorette 1964-


Surname pronounced "Brook-stra"; born July 26, 1964, in Yallourn, Victoria, Australia; daughter of Marten (a floor surfacer) and Maria Broekstra; children: Emma Feher, Ruben Feher. Education: Swinburne Institute of Technology, diploma (graphic design), 1987.


Home—Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Agent—Jenny Darling & Associates, P.O. Box 413, Toorak, Victoria 3142, Australia.


Children's book author/illustrator and teacher. Freelance illustrator in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1988-96, and Melbourne, Australia, 1996—. Teacher at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and Council of Adult Education; presenter at schools and workshops.

Awards, Honors

Crichton Award for Illustration, 2000, for Baby Bear Goes to the Zoo; New South Wales Premier's Literary Award shortlist, 2001, and Children's Book Council of Australia Notable Book designation, 2002, both for Baby Bear Goes Camping.



Baby Bear Goes to the Zoo, Lothian (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1999.

Baby Bear Goes to the Beach, Lothian (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2000.

Baby Bear Goes Camping, Lothian (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2001.

Baby Bear Goes to the Farm, Lothian (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2002.

Baby Bear Goes to the Park, Lothian (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2003.

Hugo, the Flying Firefighter, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia), 2004.

Hugo, the Lifesaving Sailor, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia), 2005.

Hugo's Motorcycle Rescue, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia), 2007.


Cecily Matthews, Cock-a-Doodle-Do, Little Hare Books (Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia), 2008.

Maisiw Munro, What's the Time, Missie Mouse?, Little Hare Books (Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia), 2008.


After completing her art training in Australia, Lorette Broekstra moved to the Netherlands for eight years, working as an illustrator as well as marrying and starting her family. Since returning to her native Australia in 1996, she has produced two series of popular picture books featuring lovable animal characters rendered in Broekstra's brightly colored, cartoon-style art. Books in her "Baby Bear" series feature a lovable brown bear whose adventures include helping with farm chores, experiencing his first overnight camp-out, and finding exotic sea creatures at the sea shore. Baby Bear Goes to the Zoo earned Broekstra the Crichton Award for illustration in 2000.

Broekstra has built on the success of her "Baby Bear" books with a second book series, this one about a friendly and helpful elephant whose trips in various vehicles cast him in the role of lifesaver more than once. In Hugo, the Flying Firefighter, for instance, Hugo flies in his airplane, named Wilco, over Hometown, and uses skywriting to warn firefighters when he spots smoke coming from a house down below. Hugo, the Lifesaving Sailor finds our trusty hero rescuing a floundering penguin after his boat Gypsy is blown out to sea by the wind, while in Hugo's Motorcycle Rescue Rocket the motorcycle is the vehicle of choice when the little elephant finds himself in an earthquake and hurrying to help his animal friends. Describing Broekstra's characters as "cute, pudgy creatures [rendered] with boldly outlined pastels," a Kirkus Reviews critic noted of Hugo, the Flying Firefighter that the book "has the makings of a real child-pleaser" by "combining fun and a speck of danger." "Hugo, with his sense of adventure and I-think-I-can gumption, will hold enormous appeal to the lap-reading set," concluded another Kirkus Reviews writer, appraising Hugo, the Lifesaving Sailor.

"I've always loved children's books," Broekstra once told SATA, citing the works of Dick Bruna as among her favorites. "Once I had children of my own, I was always in libraries or bookshops looking for suitable books to read to them. Having very young children, I was in search of books without too much text. There didn't seem to be many to choose from. When I wrote my book I kept that in mind and was very conscious of limiting the text to one or two sentences per page."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2005, review of Hugo, the Flying Firefighter, p. 1022; July 1, 2006, review of Hugo, the Lifesaving Sailor, p. 674.

Magpies, March, 2002, review of Baby Bear Goes Camping, p. 27; July, 2002, review of Baby Bear Goes to the Farm, p. 25.


Jenny Darling & Associates Web site, (May 15, 2008), "Lorette Broekstra."