Hubbell, Patricia 1928–
Hubbell, Patricia 1928–
Born July 10, 1928, in Bridgeport, CT; daughter of Franklin H. (a watershed manager) and Helen (a homemaker) Hubbell; married Harold Hornstein (a newspaper editor), March 10, 1954; children: Jeffrey, Deborah. Education: University of Connecticut, B.A., 1950. Politics: "Independent." Hobbies and other interests: Painting, crafts, gardening, reading, horses.
Home—Easton, CT. E-mail—[email protected]
Author. Newtown Bee, Newtown, CT, member of staff, 1950-51; Westport Town Crier, Westport, CT, reporter, 1951-54; Bridgeport Sunday Post, Bridgeport, CT, horse and dog columnist, 1958-68; author of children's poetry and picture books, beginning 1963; freelance writer specializing in gardening and nature, 1968-88.
Authors Guild, Authors League, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Nick, Jr. magazine Best Books of the Year list, Oppenheim Toy Group Gold Medal, and Bank Street College Best Books of the Year list, all for Bouncing Time; Parents Best Books of the Year list, and American Booksellers Association Kids' Pick of the Lists designation, both for Wrapping Paper Romp; Bank Street College Best Books of the Year, and Parenting magazine Reading Magic Award, both 1999, both for Sidewalk Trip; Sequoyah Oklahoma Children's Book Award finalist, for A Grass Green Gallop; Children's Book Award finalist, Connecticut Center for the Book, 2004, Children's Gallery Award masterlist, National Christian School Association 2005-06, and Crown Gallery Award nomination, all for Black All Around!
The Apple Vendor's Fair, illustrated by Julie Maas, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1963.
8 A.M. Shadows, illustrated by Julie Maas, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1965.
Catch Me a Wind, illustrated by Susan Trommler, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1968.
The Tigers Brought Pink Lemonade (poems), illustrated by Ju-Hong Chen, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1988.
A Grass Green Gallop, illustrated by Ronald Himler, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1990.
Boo!: Halloween Poems and Limericks, illustrated by Jeff Spackman, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 1998.
Earthmates, illustrated by Jean Cassels, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 1999.
City Kids, illustrated by Teresa Flavin, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2001.
Black Earth, Gold Sun, illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2001.
Rabbit Moon: A Book of Holidays and Celebrations, illustrated by Wendy Watson, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Bethany Roberts) Camel Caravan, illustrated by Cheryl Munro Taylor, Tambourine (New York, NY), 1996.
(With Bethany Roberts) Eleven Elephants Going Up!, illustrated by Minh Uong, Whispering Coyote Press (Boston, MA), 1996.
Pots and Pans, illustrated by Diane de Groat, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 1998.
Wrapping Paper Romp, illustrated by Jennifer Plecas, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 1998.
Sidewalk Trip, illustrated by Mari Takabayashi, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 1999.
Bouncing Time, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.
Sea, Sand, Me!, illustrated by Lisa Campbell Ernst, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.
Black All Around!, illustrated by Don Tate, Lee & Low (New York, NY), 2003.
I Like Cats, illustrated by Pamela Paparone, North-South Books (New York, NY), 2003.
Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!, illustrated by Megan Halsey, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2003.
Hurray for Spring!, illustrated by Taia Morley, NorthWord Books (Minnetonka, MN), 2005.
Trains: Steaming! Pulling! Huffing!, illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2005.
Cars: Rushing! Honking! Zooming!, illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2006.
Firefighters: Speeding! Spraying! Saving!, illustrated by Viviana Garófoli, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2007.
Papa Fish's Lullaby, illustrated by Susan Eaddy, North-Word Books (Minnetonka, MN), 2007.
Airplanes: Soaring! Diving! Turning!, illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2007.
Police: Hurrying! Helping! Saving!, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2008.
My First Airplane Ride, illustrated by Nancy Speir, Marshall Cavendish (New York, NY), 2008.
Pig Picnic (chapter book), illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, Golden Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Pig Parade (chapter book), illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott, Golden Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor of poems to anthologies, textbooks, and magazines.
Patricia Hubbell is the author of a number of highly regarded picture books, including Sidewalk Trip and Black All Around!, as well as of poetry collections for children such as Earthmates and City Kids. "I think the reason I began to love poetry so much is because my mother and grandmother read a great deal of poetry to me when I was very young," Hubbell once told SATA. "The wonderful word-pictures and rhythms got into my head at an early age—and never left. I began writing poems myself when I was in the third grade. Sometimes, I would write them out on the cardboard pieces that came with shirts returned from the laundry and draw pictures around the edges.
"One of the first poems I remember doing was about a fox that I saw in the meadow across from our house. He was leaping in the sun and his coat was shining
gold and red. He looked like a dancer! Many years later, that same fox put in an appearance in a poem that was published in my first book, The Apple Vendor's Fair. He was still dancing, but now I knew that what he was really doing was going after a mouse; the poem was titled ‘Prey Ballet.’"
Hubbell, who has worked as a journalist and reporter, first began writing books when she was at home with her children, often using the kitchen table as her office while they played on the floor. "There really aren't any rules or steps for writing a poem," she noted on her home page. "For me, sometimes a poem starts with a sound I hear, or a bit of conversation, or a rhythm, or with something I see. Sometimes a few words that sound like the start of a poem come into my head and I work from there." Hubbell writes mostly rhyming verse, short poems that are often accompanied by illustrations. For example, The Tigers Brought Pink Lemonade is a set of twenty-one poems, accompanied by graphic illustrations that combine with the collection to create a "picture book," noted Betsy Hearne in the Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books.
Pots and Pans, a story about a toddler emptying out kitchen cupboards to accompanying rhymes and sounds, is another one of Hubbell's rhyming picture books. In the book, the author "skillfully epitomiz[es] … the boundless inquisitiveness of toddlers" in a "lively impromptu performance," noted a Kirkus Reviews critic. Hubbell's rhymes pair with de Groat's accompanying illustrations to make Pots and Pans a "fine candidate for a lap-sit story," in the opinion of John Peters in School Library Journal. Another toddler is the focus of Wrapping Paper Romp, in which Hubbell's rhyming couplets describe the child's antics as he tears apart a brightly wrapped present. Carolyn Phelan, writing in Booklist, described this book as one "that young children will enjoy opening again and again."
Critics have noted the realistic quality of Hubbell's writing, especially when she is recreating the world of young children. Although the characters in her stories have no names and she mentions no specific places, critics have consistently remarked on the concrete nature of her plots and her ability to present a child's viewpoint. In Sidewalk Trip, which recounts a little girl and her mother's trip to the ice-cream truck, Hubbell's text and the accompanying illustrations are "almost jet-propelled by enthusiasm," said a critic in Kirkus Reviews. In Earthmates, the author focuses on animals, writing thirty-five poems about various creatures, including minnows, deer, elephants, and even barnacles. Barbara Chatton, writing in School Library Journal, was especially appreciative of the realistic illustrations as well as vivid images invoked by Hubbell's writing, characterizing the work as a "lovely collection." Hazel Rochman, writing in Booklist, noted that "the rhythm and sound of the very short lines reinforce the sense of the wild, astonishing creatures" introduced in the entertaining story. In Bouncing Time, Hubbell describes a baby's trip to the zoo with her mother. The "vibrant" illustrations and "playfulness of the text" make this book a "romp to read any time of day," noted Marta Segal in a Booklist review. Again, Hubbell was praised for the powerfully realistic portrayal of the events in her book, with a Publishers Weekly critic writing that the "mom and child almost seem to dance—and readers will want to join in" this "slice of pure pleasure."
The tone of Hubbell's City Kids is slightly different from her earlier works as she focuses this time on children playing in the city. Although the poems focus on the fun the children are having, the book is tinged with sadness via the mention of the mugging of one child's grandmother. Although, characteristically, there is no specific city or even neighborhood mentioned, Hubbell writes a "concrete poem" from the "child's viewpoint," concluded Rochman.
In Black Earth, Gold Sun Hubbell "describes, discovers, and celebrates" the garden in a series of poems that are written in a "contemplative mood," according to Nina Lindsay in School Library Journal. The metaphors are rich and the poems are written in the voices of "children, adults, and even plants" wrote Booklist critic Gillian Engberg. As the critic noted, the "sophisti-
cated language" and comparisons evoked by Hubbell are "powerful and exciting."
A small girl and her mother spend a day at the beach in Sea, Sand, Me! During the visit, the youngster romps in the surf, builds a sand castle, and meets a new friend. Genevieve Ceraldi, writing in School Library Journal, praised Hubbell's "bouncy rhyming text," and Phelan noted that the "energy and simplicity of the words" are matched by Lisa Campbell Ernst's ink-and-pastel illustrations. In Black All Around!, an African-American girl marvels at the many wonderful things in her world that are black in color, including the night sky, a limousine, and her father's arms. "The author's rhymes try hard to make black an intriguing, special shade," remarked a Kirkus Reviews contributor, and Booklist critic Ilene Cooper stated that Hubbell's narrative "brings a bundle of new objects and ideas about the depth and beauty of darkness."
Hubbell celebrates felines—both real and imaginary—in I Like Cats. Whether describing a cat snoozing in a sink or showing off behind the wheel of a convertible, the author's "jaunty text expresses her admiration for these cuddly critters," School Library Journal reviewer Be Astengo noted. Engberg applauded the pairing of Hubbell's verse with Pamela Paparone's artwork, stating that "the charming paintings and rhythmic words offer plenty of fun." In Hurray for Spring! a young boy passes the day splashing in puddles, planting seeds, and watching red-winged blackbirds. Here "Hubbell uses specific sensory images and lighthearted wordplay to re-create the boy's world," Phelan commented. "Large print, short sentences, and rhyming text make this title accessible to new readers," observed Maryann H. Owen in School Library Journal.
In works like Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble! and Trains: Steaming! Pulling! Huffing! Hubbell introduces youngsters to the wonders of transportation. Trucks humorously showcases a host of vehicles, cargos, and drivers, including an elephant operating a flatbed that is loaded with peanuts. Kay Weisman, writing in Booklist, complimented the author's "succinct, cleverly written rhymed text." In Trains "Hubbell takes a wild ride with locomotives both past and present," according to a critic in Kirkus Reviews. The work explores not only the many types of trains but the noises they make and the places they travel. "The text will have readers building up steam and momentum until the very last page," remarked Genevieve Gallagher in School Library Journal. The automotive industry is the subject of Cars: Rushing! Honking! Zooming!, "a snappy, stylish presentation of a subject with perennial appeal," as Phelan remarked. Hubbell's "rollicking text features witty rhymes," wrote School Library Journal critic Karen Ostergard, and a Kirkus Reviews critic lauded the author's "clipped, energetic verses."
Hubbell once told SATA that her work reflects the delight she feels when "playing with words, thoughts and dreams" as well as the pleasure she derives from her "surroundings." She added, "I think writing poems is a lot like gardening. When you garden you choose a plant, set it in place, move it if it's not doing well, weed out unwanted plants, tend it carefully and try for something beautiful. When you write poetry you do the same thing—only with words!"
Biographical and Critical Sources
Speaking of Poets 2: More Interviews with Poets Who Write for Children and Young Adults, National Council of Teachers of English (Urbana, IL), 1994.
Booklist, December 1, 1998, Carolyn Phelan, review of Wrapping Paper Romp, p. 670; September 15, 1999, Kathy Broderick, review of Sidewalk Trip, p. 268; March 15, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of Earthmates: Poems, p. 383; April 1, 2000, Marta Segal, review of Bouncing Time, p. 469; March 1, 2001, Hazel Rochman, review of City Kids, p. 1283; May 1, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of Sea, Sand, Me!, p. 1694; September 15, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Black Earth, Gold Sun, p. 220; October 15, 2003, Gillian Engberg, review of I Like Cats, p. 419; February 15, 2003, Ilene Cooper, review of Black All Around!, p. 1089; April 15, 2003, Kay Weisman, review of Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!, p. 1478; May 15, 2005, Carolyn Phelan, review of Hurray for Spring!, p. 1665; October 1, 2005, Diane Foote, review of Trains: Steaming! Pulling! Huffing!, p. 63; November 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Cars: Rushing! Honking! Zooming!, p. 60; March 1, 2007, Hazel Rochman, review of Firefighters: Speeding! Spraying! Saving!, p. 88.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 1989, Betsy Hearne, review of The Tigers Brought Pink Lemonade, p. 124.
Children's Book Review Service, October, 1998, review of Boo! Halloween Poems and Limericks, p. 15.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1998, review of Pots and Pans, p. 812; June 1, 1999, review of Sidewalk Trip, p. 883; February 15, 2003, review of Trucks, p. 308; March 15, 2003, review of Black All Around!, p. 468; August 1, 2005, review of Trains, p. 850; August 1, 2006, review of Cars, p. 788; February 15, 2007, review of Firefighters.
Publishers Weekly, May 8, 2000, review of Bouncing Time, p. 220; June 11, 2001, review of Sea, Sand, Me!, p. 84; March 10, 2003, review of Black All Around!, p. 70.
School Library Journal, fall, 1989, Nancy A. Gifford, review of The Tigers Brought Pink Lemonade, p. 78; June, 1998, John Peters, review of Pots and Pans, p. 109; September, 1998, Judith Constantinides, review of Boo!, p. 192; February, 1999, Blair Christolon, review of Wrapping Paper Romp, p. 84; March, 2000, Barbara Chatton, review of Earthmates, p. 226; July, 2000, Janet M. Bair, review of Bouncing Time, p. 80; July, 2001, Alicia Eames, review of City Kids, p. 94; August, 2001, Genevieve Ceraldi, review of Sea, Sand, Me!, p. 154; November, 2001, Nina Lindsay, review of Black Earth, Gold Sun, p. 146; June, 2002, Piper L. Nyman, review of Rabbit Moon: A Book of Holidays and Celebrations, p. 97; May, 2003, Ajoke'
T.I. Kokodoko, review of Black All Around!, p. 120; January, 2004, Be Astengo, review of I Like Cats, p. 98; April, 2005, Maryann H. Owen, review of Hurray for Spring!, p. 99; September, 2005, Genevieve Gallagher, review of Trains, p. 174; November, 2006, Karen Ostergard, review of Cars, p. 96; May, 2007, DeAnn Okamura, review of Firefighters, p. 98.
Lee & Low Web site,http://www.leeandlow.com/ (December 1, 2007), "Booktalk with Patricia Hubbell."
Patricia Hubbell Home Page,http://www.kidspoet.com (December 1, 2007).