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Author and illustrator of children's books; actor.
My Fuzzy Friends: Cuddle up with These Soft and Furry Animals!, Little Simon (New York, NY), 1999.
Knock, Knock! Who's There?: My First Book of Knock-Knock Jokes, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2000.
My Fuzzy Farm Babies, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2001.
My Fuzzy Safari Babies, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2001.
The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Carol and Count Book, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2003.
Duck and Goose, Schwartz & Wade (New York, NY), 2006.
Duck, Duck, Goose, Schwartz & Wade (New York, NY), 2007.
Lilian Moore, Poems Have Roots: New Poems, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1997.
Jeannine Atkins, A Name on the Quilt: A Story of Remembrance, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1999.
Gerald Hausman, Tom Cringle: Battle on the High Seas (chapter book), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
Gerald Hauman, Tom Cringle: The Pirate and the Patriot (chapter book; sequel to Tom Cringle: Battle on the High Seas), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.
Wendi J. Silvano, Hey Diddle Riddle, Little Simon (New York, NY), 2003.
Children's writer and illustrator Tad Hills is best known for the picture book Duck and Goose. Hills has written and illustrated several other books for young children, and has also served as illustrator for texts by other authors. "Hills' illustrations are quiet and hieratic," wrote GraceAnne A. DeCandido in a Booklist review of the artist's work on Jeannine Atkins' A Name on the Quilt: A Story of Remembrance. Of the same title, a Publishers Weekly critic noted that "Hills contributes a very homespun touch" to the text borders with his illustrations. Roger Leslie, writing in Booklist, considered Hills' illustrations for the "Tom Cringle" chapter books penned by Gerald Hausman to be "rough-and-ready" and appealing to the middle-grade boys for whom the seagoing adventure series is geared.
One of Hills' early titles, Knock Knock! Who's There?: My First Book of Knock-Knock Jokes, provides plenty of jokes for beginning readers to share, as well as colorful illustrations of animal characters. "This is a great choice for individual sharing or story time," wrote Hennie Vaandrager in School Library Journal. Another early picture book, The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Carol-and-Count Flap Book, enhances the text of the traditional carol with hidden pictures depicting lively animal characters. Susan Patron, reviewing the holiday offering for School Library Journal, considered The Twelve Days of Christmas to be "original, clever, amusing, and interactive."
With Duck and Goose, Hills introduces readers to two friendly rivals who both lay claim to a seemingly abandoned egg. Duck and Goose each want to raise the egg on their own, but after spending time sitting on the egg together, the two begin to think of themselves as a team. Only after an observant bluebird points out what readers have known from the beginning—that the "egg" is actually a toy ball—do Duck and Goose decide to share and play together. Hills' "feathered heroes enact a dialogue familiar to anyone who has negotiated with siblings or playground rivals," wrote a Publishers Weekly critic, while a Kirkus Reviews contributor explained that the feathered friends' "gradual shift from adversaries to partners to playmates is indicated artfully by effective but subtle changes in book design and text." While Lisa S. Schindler found the story entertaining for young readers, "it's the bright colorful artwork that will attract youngsters' attention," she wrote in her School Library Journal review. Hills' "cartoony illustrations are aimed at child viewers … and extract every drop of humor from the situation," asserted Horn Book reviewer Martha V. Parravano, and Jennifer Mattson wrote in Booklist that the author/illustrator's "whimsically rendered" protagonists "will instantly endear themselves to children."
Duck and Goose reappear in Duck, Duck, Goose, which finds the duo's friendship changing after a young duck named Thistle befriends Duck. Because Thistle seems to be good at everything he tries, Goose worries that his own friendship with Duck may be threatened, so he pretends to be unimpressed. Fortunately, by story's end, Duck and Goose have overcome their differences of opinion, and manage to remain friends.
When asked about what inspires him, Hills told an online interviewer for Book Page that one of his biggest influences as a children's book author and illustrator has been his own children. "They help me to see the world through brand new eyes," he noted.
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, January 1, 1999, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of A Name on the Quilt: A Story of Remembrance, p. 885; September 15, 2001, Roger Leslie, review of Tom Cringle: The Pirate and the Patriot, p. 222; January 1, 2006 Jennifer Mattson, review of Duck and Goose, p. 114.
Horn Book, January–February, 2006, Martha V. Parravano, review of Duck and Goose, p. 69.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2005, review of Duck and Goose, p. 1322.
Publishers Weekly, January 11, 1999, review of A Name on the Quilt, p. 72.
School Library Journal, August, 2000, Hennie Vaandrager, review of Knock, Knock! Who's There?: My First Book of Knock-Knock Jokes, p. 156; November, 2000, William McLoughlin, review of Tom Cringle: Battle on the High Seas, p. 154; October, 2001, Patricia B. McGee, review of Tom Cringle, p. 160; October, 2003, Susan Patron, review of The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Carol-and-Count Flap Book, p. 64; January, 2006, Lisa S. Schindler, review of Duck and Goose, p. 103.
Book Page,http://www.bookpage.com/ (February, 2006), interview with Hills.