Friend, Catherine 1957-

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Friend, Catherine 1957-

Personal

Born March 15, 1957; partner's name Melissa. Education: B.A. (Spanish and economics); M.A. (economics). Hobbies and other interests: Playing the piano, painting.

Addresses

Home—P.O. Box 21, Zumbrota, MN 55992. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Writer and farmer. Former teacher of writing, Institute of Children's Literature. Worked variously as a freelance editor, bookstore employee, cheese packer, and assembly-line worker.

Awards, Honors

McKnight artist fellowship, and Loft Award for Children's Literature, Loft Literary Center, both 2007, both for Barn Boot Blues; Golden Crown literary award, and Lambda Literary Award finalist, both 2007, both for Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn; Goldie Award, 2008, for The Spanish Pearl and The Crown of Valencia.

Writings

My Head Is Full of Colors, illustrated by Kiki, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1994.

The Sawfin Stickleback: A Very Fishy Story, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino, Hyperion Books for Children (New York, NY), 1994.

The Perfect Nest, illustrated by John Manders, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

EASY READERS

Funny Ruby, illustrated by Rachel Merriman, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Silly Ruby, illustrated by Rachel Merriman, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

Eddie the Raccoon, illustrated by Wong Herbert Yee, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

FOR ADULTS

Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn, Marlowe & Company (New York, NY), 2006.

The Spanish Pearl, Bold Strokes Books, 2007.

The Crown of Valencia, Bold Strokes Books, 2007.

A Pirate's Heart, Bold Strokes Books, 2008.

The Compassionate Carnivore; or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old Macdonald's Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat, Da Capo Press (Cambridge, MA), 2008.

Sidelights

Catherine Friend enjoys a busy but rewarding life as a writer who also runs a farm in Minnesota with her partner of more than twenty-five years. Writing for both children and adults, her published books range from basic easy readers to humorous adult titles about farming and animal husbandry. Her best-known children's book, The Perfect Nest, was inspired by Friend's interaction with the farmyard fowl with which she and her partner share their rural home.

In The Perfect Nest, a hungry cat named Jack builds a soft and enticing nest in which he hopes a hen will lay an egg the cat can use in an omelet. Jack is delighted when the nest attracts not only a hen, but also a goose and a duck, each of which lays an egg. Jack's troubles begin when he chases away the bird parents too late; far too mature for use in an omelet, the eggs are ready to hatch. "With its big pages and energetic telling, this will make a great story-time book," wrote Susan Dove Lempke in Horn Book, while School Library Journal contributor Catherine Callegari dubbed The Perfect Nest a "highly comical yet heartwarming tale" that is "laugh-out-loud funny." A correspondent for Kirkus Reviews praised the illustrations by John Manders and concluded that Friend's picture book provides "perfect free-feathered fun."

In Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn Friend takes a humorous but unsentimental look at the difficulties of farm work and how time-consuming it can be. Noting that the author's "simple life" theme might even attract teen readers, Booklist critic Nancy Bent added that Hit by a Farm "will charm all who yearn for more rural roots" and provide food for thought for those readers "with romantic notions of living off the land."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

Friend, Catherine, Hit by a Farm: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Barn, Marlowe & Company (New York, NY), 2006.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 1994, Ilene Cooper, review of My Head Is Full of Colors, p. 1372; July, 2004, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Eddie the Raccoon, p. 1850; April 15, 2006, Nancy Bent, review of Hit by a Farm, p. 14.

Horn Book, March-April, 2007, Susan Dove Lempke, review of The Perfect Nest, p. 180.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2007, review of The Perfect Nest, p. 72.

Publishers Weekly, April 25, 1994, review of My Head Is Full of Colors, p. 77; October 3, 1994, review of The Sawfin Stickleback: A Very Fishy Story, p. 68.

School Library Journal, June, 1994, Kate McClelland, review of My Head Is Full of Colors, p. 99; December, 1994, Kathy Piehl, review of The Sawfin Stickleback, p. 74; February, 2001, Adele Greenlee, review of Funny Ruby, p. 100; January, 2005, Marilyn Taniguchi, review of Eddie the Raccoon, p. 92; March, 2007, Catherine Callegari, review of The Perfect Nest, p. 160.

ONLINE

Bold Strokes Books Web site,http://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/ (November 11, 2008), "Catherine Friend."

Catherine Friend Home Page,http://www.catherinefriend.com (November 11, 2008).