Goossens, Philippe 1963-

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Goossens, Philippe 1963-


Born 1963, in Belgium. Education: Attended Institut Saint-Luc.


Home—Brussels, Belgium.


Illustrator, animator, and commercial artist. Exhibition: Work included in Bologna Book Fair, 2004.



Thierry Robberecht, Ik kan weer lachen, Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2000, translated as Stolen Smile, Random House (New York, NY), 2002.

Thierry Robberecht, Toen papa köning was, Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2001.

Thierry Robberecht, Eva in het land van de verloren zusjes, Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2002.

Maria C.P. Van Velzen, De verrekijker, Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2003.

Thierry Robberecht, Boze Draak, Clavis (Amsterdam, Belgium), 2003, translated as Angry Dragon, Clarion (New York, NY), 2004.

Hermann Moers, Axel und Bibi, Nord-Süd, 2003 translated by Kathryn Grell as Rufus and Max, North-South Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Thierry Robberecht, Het meisje dat terung in mama's buik wilde, Clavis (Amsterdam, Belgium), 2004 translated as Back into Mommy's Tummy, Clarion (New York, NY), 2005.

Heinz Janisch, Cleo in der Klemme, Nord-Süd, 2005.

Heinz Janisch, Help!, Vier Windstreken, 2005.

Thierry Robberecht, Sarah en haar spookjes, Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2006, translated as Sarah's Little Ghosts, Clarion (New York, NY), 2007.

Thierry Robberecht, Harold, Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2007.

Thierry Robberecht, Mijn kerstopa, Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2008.


Thierry Robberecht, Benno is nooit bang, Clavis (Hasselt, Belgium), 2005, translated as Sam Is Never Scared, Clarion (New York, NY), 2006.

Thierry Robberecht, Benno Buitengewoon, Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2005, translated as Sam Tells Stories, Clarion (New York, NY), 2007.

Thierry Robberecht, Benno Bloost, Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2006, translated as Sam's New Friend, Clarion (New York, NY), 2007.

Thierry Robberecht, Benno buitenspel, Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2006, translated as Sam Is Not a Loser, Clarion (New York, NY), 2008.

Thierry Robberecht, Benno en zijn broertje (title means "Benno and His Brother"), Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2008.

Thierry Robberecht, Benno is jarig (title means "Beno Has His Birthday"), Clavis (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 2008.

Books featuring Goossens' artwork have been translated into French, Spanish, German, Greek, Italian, Slovenian, Korean, and Taiwanese.


Since studying art at the Institute Saint Luc in Brussels, Philippe Goossens has gained popularity in his native Belgium as a result of his collaboration with popular children's book author Thierry Robberecht. Goossens' illustrations for Robberecht's Boze Draak were exhibited at the prestigious Bologna Book Fair in 2004, and books featuring his work have been published in thirteen countries, including France, Italy, South Korea, Greece, Germany, and Spain. Ik kan weer lachen, the duo's first picture-book collaboration, was also the first to reach English-speaking readers under the title Stolen Smile. Paired with a story about a girl who decides not to smile after being teased by a school bully, Goossens' brightly colored, highly textured paintings feature "a technique well suited for a story that unfolds on that emotional crucible otherwise known as the blacktop," in the opinion of a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

In reviews of the Belgian picture-book team's more-recent work, critics consistently remark on Goossens' art; in a review of Robberecht's Angry Dragon, for instance, Booklist contributor Jennifer Mattson noted that the illustrator's "distinctly European, stylized artwork visually reproduces the intense emotions" of Robberecht's story. Working with Hermann Moers on Rufus and Max, another Belgian import, Goossens "plays interestingly with perspective," according to School Library Journal critic Shelley B. Sutherland, "and the overall effect is delightful." One of the mens' most imaginative collaborations, Back into Mommy's Tummy, features what Hazel Rochman dubbed a "mischievous take on the elemental sibling rivalry scenario." Holly T. Sneeringer, appraising the same book, noted in School Library Journal that in Back into Mommy's Tummy the illustrator's "imagined view of the world adds humor and lightness to real anxieties that many children encounter but are often unable to express," while a Kirkus Reviews writer called the picture book "engagingly silly yet compassionate."

Benno is nooit bang, the first book in Robberecht and Goossens' popular board-book series, was released in English as Sam Is Never Scared, and the name of their main character changes from Benno to Sam in translation. When readers meet Sam in Sam Is Never Scared, the young wolf believes he is the bravest of his comrades, and he calls friend Max a scaredy-cat. However, Sam's bravado disappears when he sees a spider, and soon Max is shown to be the brave one. Praising Sam Is Never Scared in School Library Journal, Piper L. Nyman wrote that "Goossens's bright-hued, fuzzy-edged oil illustrations exude charm and the exuberance of the animal characters" in Robberecht's tale, while a Kirkus Reviews contributor maintained that his simplistic oil paintings "suit the youngest listeners, with close-ups on the characters and few distracting details."

Other books in the "Sam" series include Sam Is Not a Loser, Sam's New Friend, and Sam Tells Stories. In Sam Is Not a Loser, which finds the young wolf faced with playing a losing soccer match against a far older team, "the characters are appealingly drawn," according to School Library Journal contributor Amy Lilien-Harper. Sam's New Friend, which finds the young pup upset when he must share his bedroom with a little white kitten whose parents are divorcing, features what Rochman described as "clear, bright pictures [that] show both the bonding and the heartfelt feelings." Goossens' illustrations for Sam Tells Stories "are uncluttered, with strong, simple shapes and muted colors," in the opinion of School Library Journal reviewer Susan E. Murray, and a Kirkus Reviews writer concluded of the work that

the illustrator "hit[s] the mark again, keeping the focus on the characters and their feelings, while downplaying distracting details."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, January 1, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of Angry Dragon, p. 874; December 1, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of Back into Mommy's Tummy, p. 56; September 1, 2006, Julie Cummins, review of Sam Is Never Scared, p. 140; February 15, 2008, Hazel Rochman, review of Sam's New Friend, p. 87.

Horn Book, January-February, 2005, Martha V. Parravano, review of Angry Dragon, p. 83.

Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2004, review of Angry Dragon, p. 873; October 15, 2005, review of Back into Mommy's Tummy, p. 1145; August 15, 2006, review of Sam Is Never Scared, p. 850; June 15, 2007, review of Sam Tells Stories; September 15, 2007, review of Sarah's Little Ghosts.

Publishers Weekly, November 4, 2002, review of Stolen Smile, p. 83.

School Library Journal, January, 2003, Leslie Barban, review of Stolen Smile, p. 110; September, 2003, Shelley B. Sutherland, review of Rufus and Max, p. 185; December, 2004, Maria B. Salvadore, review of Angry Dragon, p. 118; February, 2006, Holly T. Sneeringer, review of Back into Mommy's Tummy, p. 108; October, 2006, Piper L. Nyman, review of Sam Is Never Scared, p. 124; November, 2007, Susan E. Murray, review of Sam Tells Stories, and Susan Moorhead, review of Sarah's Little Ghosts, both p. 99; February, 2008, Maryann H. Owen, review of Sam's New Friend, p. 95; May, 2008, Amy Lilien-Harper, review of Sam Is Not a Loser, p. 107.


Clavis Web site, (December 15, 2008), "Philippe Goossens."