Hobbie, Holly 1942–
Hobbie, Holly 1942–
Born 1942; married W. Douglas Hobbie (a writer), 1964; children: Brett (deceased), Jocelyn, Nathaniel. Education: Attended Pratt Institute (art education) and Boston University (painting).
Author, illustrator, and graphic artist.
ABBY Honor Book selection, American Booksellers Association, for Toot and Puddle.
Toot and Puddle, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.
Toot and Puddle: A Present for Toot, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1998.
Toot and Puddle: You Are My Sunshine, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1999.
Toot and Puddle: Puddle's ABC, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2000.
Toot and Puddle: Welcome to Woodcock Pocket, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2001.
Toot and Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2001.
Toot and Puddle: Top of the World, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2002.
Toot and Puddle: Charming Opal, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2003.
Toot and Puddle: The New Friend, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2004.
Toot and Puddle: Wish You Were Here, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2005.
Toot and Puddle: The One and Only, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2006.
Clement C. Moore, The Night before Christmas, Platt & Munk (New York, NY), 1976.
W.D. Hobbie, Bloodroot, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 1991.
Illustrations collected in several books, including A Treasury of Holly Hobbie, Rand-McNally, 1979.
Hobbie's "Holly Hobbie" character has been licensed for numerous products by American Greetings, Mattel, Paramount, and Simon & Schuster. The "Toot and Puddle" characters have appeared on board games and cards, and as stuffed toys.
In the 1960s a talented watercolor artist named Holly Hobbie was a young mother at home raising three children with her husband. Her sale of a drawing featuring a little girl in a homespun dress and large blue bonnet to the American Greetings card company in 1967 ultimately changed Hobbie's life and made her name known throughout the world. Hobbie's reputation for creating nostalgic, innocent images of children and their pets, inspired by her memories of growing up in rural New England was one she carried with her for many years. She continued to add to her "Holly Hobbie" drawings, often using her growing children as models, and by 1970 the brand that bears her name was the top-selling brand in the United States. In 1974 Knicker-bocker Toys began producing a line of "Holly Hobbie" rag dolls, with the result that by 1980 "Holly Hobbie" merchandise accounted for more than one billion dollars in sales. Reintroduced in the late 1980s to a new generation of children, "Holly Hobbie" entered into her third incarnation in the mid-2000s when American Greeting capitalized on the many mothers who, remembering the character from their own childhood, wanted to share "Holly Hobbie" with their own children.
While the flesh-and-blood Holly Hobbie might have been somewhat upstaged by her rag-doll alter-ego—many "Holly Hobbie" fans do not even realize that there is an actual Holly Hobbie—in the mid-1990s she reclaimed her famous name, albeit with the help of a pair of appealing pigs named Toot and Puddle. As author and illustrator of the popular "Toot and Puddle" picture books, Hobbie has won herself a new generation of fans.
In Toot and Puddle the spunky Toot decides to travel around the globe, and he shares his adventures with home-happy Puddle in a series of postcards addressed to Woodcock Pocket. A Present for Toot finds a perplexed Puddle trying to find the perfect birthday present for Toot, with Tulip the parrot ultimately deemed the perfect choice. Toot is down in the dumps in You Are My Sunshine, and Puddle's ABC gives young listeners a review of the alphabet while describing how Puddle teaches Otto the turtle how to read. The "Toot and Puddle" series celebrates the holiday season in Toot and Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas, as the globetrotting Toot heads off to Scotland to join the 100th birthday celebration of his Great-Great-Aunt Peg the pig. Fortunately, Toot catches a ride on Santa's sleigh and is home in time to share Christmas Day with his best friend. Through Puddle's worries over Toot's absence, "Hobbie effectively injects some mild, preschooler-friendly tension into the plot," noted Heather Vogel Frederick in the New York Times Book Review, the critic adding that Hobbie's "effervescent watercolors" bring to life the cozy interior of Puddle's home through contrasts with "the chilly winter landscape."
In Toot and Puddle: Charming Opal Hobbie introduces Puddle's young cousin Opal who is excited about her loose tooth. Anticipating the inevitable visit from the Tooth Fairy turns quickly to concern when it is discovered that the tooth is no longer in the happy piglet's mouth: it is at the bottom of Pocket Pond! Opal returns, with best friend Daphne in tow in Toot and Puddle: The New Friend, but the friendship is tested when Daphne reveals herself to be a prima donna. The travel-happy Toot strays again in both Toot and Puddle: Top of the World and Toot and Puddle: Wish You Were Here, the latter which find the piglet limping home from the jungles of Borneo and into the caring arms of Puddle and Opal. Hobbie's "absolutely adorable watercolor illustrations" [in Charming Opal] add emotion to the simple text," noted a Kirkus Reviews writer, while in School Library Journal Mary Elam wrote that the author/illustrator's engaging characters, depicted in "humorous and expressive" images, "are perfectly tuned-in to her audience." In The New Friend Hobbie shares what School Library Journal reviewer Maryann H. Owen called "a gentle, entertaining lesson showing that everyone is special," and a Kirkus Reviews writer noted of Toot and Puddle: Wish You Were Here that Hobbie brings to life the friends' adventures by paying "exquisite attention to detail in her peerless watercolors." "Every new Toot & Puddle adventure is an eagerly awaited event," exclaimed a Kirkus Reviews contributor in a review of Toot and Puddle: Top of the World.
Discussing the origins of her "second" career as an author and illustrator, Hobbie explained to Publishers Weekly interviewer Shannon Maughan that the inspiration to do piglets "started with … postcards my daughter had sent us from San Francisco. The cards had pictures of real pigs on them and they really [cheered] … us up. Around the same time, I visited a friend's farm in Vermont and saw a sow with her piglets. I knew then that I wanted to draw pigs." "Toot and Puddle couldn't be more different than what I was doing before," Hobbie added to Maughan, referencing her years drawing "Holly Hobbie" scenes. "I wanted to disconnect and start fresh." While she has indeed started fresh, Hobbie brings the same talent and warmth to her "Toot and Puddle" picture books. As Frederick explained in her New York Times Book Review appraisal, "The heart and soul of Hobbie's books are her characters," and she captures the duo's "innate pigness, with winning results. Their friendship is utterly loyal, … reflecting for children the fact that there are as many ways of embracing life as there are individuals, that it's equally acceptable to be bold and adventurous or content with quieter joys."
Biographical and Critical Sources
The Art of Holly Hobbie: Drawing on Affection, Random House (New York, NY), 1986.
Booklist, September 15, 2000, Lauren Peterson, review of Toot and Puddle: Puddle's ABC, p. 248; September 15, 2001, Ilene Cooper, review of Toot and Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas, p. 235; October 1, 2002, Marta Segal Block, review of Toot and Puddle: Top of the World, p. 336.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 2000, review of Puddle's ABC, p. 147; November, 2001, review of I'll Be Home for Christmas, p. 104; October, 2002, review of Top of the World, p. 60.
Good Housekeeping, May, 1990, "At Home with Holly Hobbie," p. 168.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2002, review of Top of the World, p. 1033; August 1, 2003, review of Toot and Puddle: Charming Opal, p. 1017; July 15, 2004, review of Toot and Puddle: The New Friend, p. 687; August 1, 2005, review of Toot and Puddle: Wish You Were Here, p. 849; August 1, 2006, review of Toot and Puddle: The One and Only, p. 788.
New York Times Book Review, December 16, 2001, Heather Vogel Frederick, review of I'll Be Home for Christmas, p. 20; October 19, 2003, review of Charming Opal, p. 26.
Publishers Weekly, September 15, 1997, review of Toot and Puddle, p. 76; September 13, 1999, Shannon Maughan, "Toot and Puddle Go to Market," p. 25; August, 28, 2000, review of Puddle's ABC, p. 82; September 24, 2001, review of I'll Be Home for Christmas, p. 248; June 24, 2002, review of Top of the World, p. 56; January 20, 2003, review of Travels with Toot and Puddle, p. 84; July 21, 2003, review of Charming Opal, p. 194.
School Library Journal, November, 2000, Hennie Vaandrager, review of Puddle's ABC, p. 122; June, 1991, Susan L. Rogers, review of Bloodroot, p. 106; October, 2001, review of I'll Be Home for Christmas, p. 66; December, 2003, Mary Elam, review of Charming Opal, p. 114; October, 2004, Maryann H. Owen, review of Toot and Puddle: The New Friend, p. 115; October, 2005, Linda L. Walkins, review of Wish You Were Here, p. 116.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), review of Charming Opal, p. 5.