Davenier, Christine 1961-
Davenier, Christine 1961-
Born October 9, 1961, in France; daughter of Pierre (a teacher) and Michèle (a teacher) Davenier; companion of Philippe Harel (a film director); children: Joséphine.
Home and office—30 rue de la Clef, Paris 75005, France. Agent—Judy Sue Goodwin-Sturges, 166 W. Newton St., Boston, MA 02118.
School teacher in Paris, France, 1986-89; author and illustrator of children's books.
León et Albertine, Kaleidoscope (Paris, France), 1997, translation by Dominic Barth published as Leon and Albertine, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1998, published as Frankie and Albertine, Walker Books (London, England), 1999.
Sleepy Sophie, Walker Books (London, England), 1999.
Paul B. Janeczko, editor, Very Best (Almost) Friends: Poems of Friendship, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1999.
C.M. Millen, The Low-Down Laundry Line Blues, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1999.
Amy Hest, Mabel Dancing, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
Steve Kroll, That Makes Me Mad!, SeaStar Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Susan Marie Swanson, The First Thing My Mama Told Me, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2002.
Carole Lexa Schaefer, Full Moon Barnyard Dance, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.
Margaret Park Bridges, I Love the Rain, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2005.
Juanita Havill, I Heard It from Alice Zucchini: Poems about the Garden, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2006.
Cari Best, Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2006.
Norma Fox Mazer, Has Anyone Seen My Emily Green?, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.
Jack Prelutsky, Me I Am!, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 2007.
Kimberly Willis Holt, Piper Reed, Navy Brat, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor of illustrations to In Every Tiny Grain of Sand: A Child's Book of Prayers and Praise, edited by Reeve Lindbergh, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.
ILLUSTRATOR; "IRIS AND WALTER" PICTURE-BOOK SERIES
Elissa Haden Guest, Iris and Walter, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2000.
Elissa Haden Guest, Iris and Walter: Riding Rain, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2001.
Elissa Haden Guest, Iris and Walter and Baby Rose, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2002.
Elissa Haden Guest, Iris and Walter: the Sleepover, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2002.
Elissa Haden Guest, Iris and Walter: The School Play, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2003.
Elissa Haden Guest, Iris and Walter and Cousin Howie, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2003.
Elissa Haden Guest, Iris and Walter: Lost and Found, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2004.
Elissa Haden Guest, Iris and Walter and the Substitute Teacher, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2004.
Elissa Haden Guest, Iris and Walter and the Field Trip, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2005.
Elissa Haden Guest, Iris and Walter and the Birthday Party, Harcourt (San Diego, CA), 2006.
Christine Davenier is a French illustrator whose pen-and-ink and watercolor drawings are considered charming and humorous by critics. "Like that of Rosemary Wells, Davenier's art evokes more emotion than seems possible," remarked Lisa Falk in a School Library Journal review of Davenier's self-illustrated picture-book debut, Leon and Albertine. While she has since narrowed her focus to illustrating the texts of other authors, such as Jack Prelutsky, Amy Hest, Steve Kroll, and Juanita Havill, Davenier has continued to gain a positive response from both readers and reviewers. Her "large, loosely rendered line and watercolor illustrations are expressive and packed with action," noted a Kirkus Reviews writer in appraising her early work, while in her Booklist review of Iris and Walter and the Birthday Party Hazel Rochman deemed Davenier's collaboration with author Elissa Haden Guest on the popular "Iris and Walter" series "both joyful and touching." In the Times Educational Supplement, fellow illustrator Ted Dewan also focused on the success of Davenier's illustrations, noting in his critique of the British version of Leon and Albertine that "Davenier's style is quite special; her stylish watercolours have an invigorating spontaneity. Eschewing painstaking craft in favour of scribbly economy is a daring decision for a picture book illustrator to take."
Leon and Albertine was first published in the author's native France and then released in translation in both the United States and England (where it was published as Frankie and Albertine). In her authorial debut, Davenier was praised for creating a universal story with a simple text that also lightly touches on an important theme. In the picture book Leon the pig falls in love with Albertine the hen, and the lovelorn swine seeks advice from the other farm animals on how to catch the eye of his beloved. After the rooster's advice on singing, the rabbit's advice on dancing, and the bull's advice on being strong all fail to impress the imperious Albertine, Leon gives up and goes off to play in the mud with a friend. The two pigs have such a good time that everyone in the barnyard soon decides to join in, even Albertine, who admires her muddy suitor for knowing how to have fun. Leon is emboldened to express his love and the two dance off into the sunset together.
Davenier brings the same breezy, expressive style she showcases in Leon and Albertine to the illustrations she creates for texts by other authors. In C.M. Millen's The Low-Down Laundry Line Blues, a younger sister tries to cajole her older sister out of a bad mood with a session of jumping rope. "The rhyme and the fluid watercolor illustrations, executed with real verve, successfully capture" the personalities of the sisters, noted Kate McClelland in appraising Davenier's contribution to the book for School Library Journal. In Paul B. Janeczko's anthology of poems, Very Best (Almost) Friends: Poems of Friendship, the artist's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations reflect the variety of feelings evoked by friendship, from joyous to angry and everything in between. "Clear blues and reds dominate the artist's palette, adding richness to the ink lines that sweep across the pages," observed Jane Marino in a review of Very Best (Almost) Friends for School Library Journal. Praising her "spontaneous, ebullient watercolors" as "reminiscent of the work of Marc Simont," Booklist contributor Jennifer Mattson concluded that in her illustrations for Cari Best's Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, Davenier "capture[s] the irresistible qualities of a little girl who knows how to make things happen." In her portraits of busy children that decorate the pages of Prelutsky's Me I Am!, Davenier's "delicate use of watercolors and her sketchy line create the feeling of gaiety and movement, yet elegantly convey [the] personality and emotion" of the book's young characters, according to School Library Journal contributor Carole Phillips.
In addition to capturing high spirits, Davenier's illustrations can also emphasize the softer side of human relations, as they do in works as Amy Hest's picture book Mabel Dancing, about a little girl who feels left out during her parents' dance party until the music floats her down the stairs and into her parents' accepting arms.
[Image not available for copyright reasons]
[Image not available for copyright reasons]
Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Betsy Groban called this story "a dreamy, evocative portrait of parental love as it's supposed to be: all encompassing and unconditional." She takes a similarly lyrical approach the art she creates for Juanita Havill's I Heard It from Alice Zucchini: Poems about the Garden, and her "pencil, ink, and pastel illustrations lend a timeless quality" to Susan Marie Swanson's picture book The First Thing My Mama Told Me, in the opinion of School Library Journal contributor Martha Link.
Davenier once told SATA: "I don't feel really familiar with words and that's why I work with images. It is very hard for me to speak about my work. Each time I start to create a new story for a book, even if there is a chronology in what I have done and what I am doing at the moment, there is something I can't explain, something that escapes me. I will understand it or discover it through the children who will read or listen to my story. Maybe I create a story to share it with an audience and expect to understand why I did it from their reaction."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, July, 2002, Lauren Peterson, review of The First Thing My Mama Told Me, p. 1861; February 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of Iris and Walter and the Birthday Party, p. 54; May 1, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, p. 88.
Books for Keeps, September, 1999, George Hunt, review of Frankie and Albertine, p. 22.
Horn Book, May-June, 2005, Betty Carter, review of Iris and Walter and the Field Trip, p. 325.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1998, review of Leon and Albertine, p. 56; September 1, 2003, review of Full Moon Barnyard Dance, p. 1130.
New York Times Book Review, March 11, 2001, Betsy Groban, "Mabel, the Night and the Music," p. 27; October 20, 2002, Abby McGanney Nolan, review of The First Thing My Mama Told Me, p. 23.
Publishers Weekly, June 10, 2002, review of That Makes Me Mad!, p. 60; June 26, 2006, review of Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, p. 51; March 5, 2007, review of I Am Me!, p. 59.
School Library Journal, March, 1998, Lisa Falk, review of Leon and Albertine, p. 168; January, 1999, Jane Marino, review of Very Best (Almost) Friends: Poems of Friendship, p. 143; May, 1999, Kate McClelland, review of The Low-Down Laundry Line Blues, p. 93; August, 2002, Martha Link, review of The First Thing My Mama Told Me, p. 170; November, 2003, Maryann H. Owen, review of Full Moon Barnyard Dance, p. 115; April, 2006, Teresa Pfeifer, review of I Heard It from Alice Zucchini: Poems about the Garden, p. 126; May, 2007, Carole Phillips, review of I Am Me!, p. 106.
Times Educational Supplement, August 27, 1999, Ted Dewan, review of Frankie and Albertine, p. 21.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Online, http://www.bbcb.lis.uiuc.edu/ (March 1, 2001), Deborah Stevenson, "Christine Davenier."
Chronicle Books Web site,http://www.chroniclebooks.com/ (June 20, 2007), "Christine Davenier."