King, Daren 1972-

views updated

King, Daren 1972-

Personal

Born 1972, in Harlow, Essex, England. Education: Attended Bath Spa University.

Addresses

Home—England. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Writer.

Awards, Honors

Guardian First Book Award shortlist, and Booker Prize longlist, both for Boxy and Star; Nestlé Smarties Children's Book Prize, for Mouse Noses on Toast.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Smally the Mouse and Friends (Who Don't Like Him) in: Smally's Party, Bloomsbury (London, England), 2005.

Mouse Noses on Toast, illustrated by David Roberts, G.P. Putnam's (New York, NY), 2006.

Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots, Faber (London, England), 2007, G.P. Putnam's (New York, NY), 2009.

Peter the Penguin Pioneer, Quercus (London, England), 2008.

The Frightfully Friendly Ghosts, Quercus (London, England), 2009.

FOR ADULTS

Boxy and Star, Abacus (London, England), 1999.

Jim Giraffe: A Ghost Story about a Ghost Giraffe, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2004.

Tom Boler, Jonathan Cape (London, England), 2005.

Manual, Faber (London, England), 2008.

Contributor to magazines and anthologies, including All Hail the New Puritans, Piece of Flesh, New Writing 13, Cool Britannia, The Edgier Waters, To Hell Journal A, and The Flash.

Sidelights

Daren King knew early on that he wanted to make his career as a writer. "Writing was something I could do," King told Katy Guest for the London Independent. "It was the only way I knew that I had a chance to become wealthy." King impressed the British literary world with his first novel for adults, Boxy and Star, which was shortlisted for the London Guardian First Book award. Along with his novels, King is also the author of several books for children, among them Peter the Penguin Pioneer and the quirkily titled Mouse Noses on Toast.

In Mouse Noses on Toast, Paul the mouse and his friends Sandra, a Christmas-tree angel, and Tinby, a metal monster, are horrified to discover that a local restauranteur is serving up mouse noses as a delicacy. Along with trying to undermine the humans who are promoting this new dish, Paul must conquer his allergy to cheese; the staple in a mouse's diet makes him look ridiculous after he eats it. "The story is suspenseful,

witty and engaging, and the mild bathroom jokes will provide many a giggle," wrote a contributor to Kirkus Reviews. Kay Weisman, reviewing Mouse Noses on Toast for Booklist, wrote that the book's "short episodes, quirky characters, and humor that focuses on bodily functions will make this a popular choice."

Also for children, King's novel Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots features a crime-solving rabbit and a beautiful bunny woman with a case for him to solve. Her case of carrots has been stolen, and she is counting on Sensible to get it back. Not all is as it seems, however, and Sensible has to deal with ghosts, secret passages, crooks, and strangers before getting to the bottom of things. "Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots is every bit as accomplished, witty and inventive as its predecessor," declared Neville Hawcock in the London Financial Times.

In Peter the Penguin Pioneer, King turned from sleuthing to adventure stories, using the same sense of humor and ridiculous action to appeal to his audiences. In the book penguins Peter, an explorer, and Punky, his copilot, decide to go on a grand adventure in order to reclaim their ice-skating rink, which has been taken over by some strange penguins. On the way, they encounter angry polar bears, talking snowmen, flying fish, and other dangers of the Arctic.

Katy Guest wrote in the London Independent that her biggest surprise upon meeting King was that his writing does not come without effort. Rather, his "free-associating prose that reads like an uninhibited expression of the sheer joy of putting words on paper is in fact the result of very focused perfectionism."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 2007, Kay Weisman, review of Mouse Noses on Toast, p. 42.

Bookseller, February 4, 2005, review of Tom Boler, p. 30.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 2008, Jeannette Hulick, review of Mouse Noses on Toast, p. 214.

Financial Times (London, England), September 15, 2007, Neville Hawcock, review of Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots, p. 41.

Independent (London, England), June 13, 2008, Katy Guest, "Daren King: The Author Who Dances."

Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2007, review of Mouse Noses on Toast.

Magpies, September, 2007, Helen Purdie, review of Mouse Noses on Toast, p. 36.

New Statesman, July 28, 2008, Charles Hill, "Enthralling Flatness," p. 50.

School Librarian, winter, 2007, Andrea Rayner, review of Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots, p. 202.

ONLINE

Daren King Home Page,http://www.darenking.co.uk (February 24, 2009).