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Shipton, Paul 1963-

Shipton, Paul 1963-

Personal

Born June 15, 1963, in Manchester, England; married. Education: Attended Emmanuel College Cambridge and Manchester University; M.Phil. (philosophy); M.A. (classics).

Addresses

Home—Madison, WI; and Cambridge, England.

Career

Freelance writer and editor. Taught English as a foreign language in Istanbul, Turkey, and England.

Member

British Society of Authors.

Awards, Honors

Austrian Children's Book of the Year, 2002, for Bug Muldoon and the Killer in the Rain; Nestlé Smarties Children's Book Prize Bronze Award, 2006, for The Pig Who Saved the World.

Writings

FICTION FOR CHILDREN

Zargon Zoo, Macmillan (Oxford, England), 1991.

Bug Muldoon: The Garden of Fear, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1995, published with illustrations by Elwood Smith, Viking (New York, NY), 2001.

The Mighty Skink, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1996, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

Bug Muldoon and the Killer in the Rain, Oxford University Press (London, England), 2000.

The Man Who Was Hate (young-adult novel), Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2000.

The Pig Scrolls, by Gryllus the Pig, Puffin (London, England), 2004, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2005.

The Pig Who Saved the World, by Gryllus the Pig, Puffin (London, England), 2006, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

EDUCATIONAL READERS

Science with Batteries (activity book), Usborne (London, England), 1992.

(With Rebecca Heddle) Science with Weather (activity book), Usborne (London, England), 1993.

House on the Moors, Reed Educational (England), 1994.

Billy's Luck, illustrated by Pat McCarthy, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1995.

Pet Squad, illustrated by Jan McCafferty, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1995.

The Ultimate Trainers, illustrated by Judy Brown, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1996.

The Goalie's Secret, illustrated by John Bendall-Brunello, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1996.

I Was a Teenage Goldfish, illustrated by Andy Hammond, Ginn (Aylesbury, England), 1996.

Invaders in the Vegetable Patch, Ginn (Aylesbury, England), 1996.

I Wish, I Wish, illustrated by John Eastwood, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1996.

The Night of the Ticklers, illustrated by Judy Brown, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1996.

Petey, illustrated by Chris Smedley, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1997.

The Revenge of Captain Blood, illustrated by Judy Brown, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1998.

The Anti-Bully Machine, illustrated by Andy Hammond, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1999.

No Laughing Matter: Two Short Stories, illustrations by Mike Spoor, Ginn (Oxford, England), 1999.

Ghost in the Guitar, Addison Wesley Longman (Harlow, England), 1999.

Vampire Killer, illustrated by Andy Parker, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2000.

The Adventures of Robyn Hudd, illustrated by Judy Brown, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2001.

Titanic!, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2001.

The Amazing Universe, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2002.

The Beatles, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2002.

(Reteller) M.R. James, The Crown, Penguin (London, England), 2002.

Dragon Flight, illustrated by David Mostyn, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2004.

The Duck from Zog, illustrated by David Mostyn, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2004.

Getting on the Team, illustrated by David Mostyn, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2004.

Just like on Earth, illustrated by David Mostyn, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2004.

The Monster of Moon 5, illustrated by David Mostyn, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2004.

New School, illustrated by David Mostyn, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2005.

Pet Day, illustrated by David Mostyn, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2005.

Where's Blop?, illustrated by David Mostyn, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2005.

Got You!, illustrated by David Mostyn, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2005.

(Reteller) Marc Cerasini, Cinderella Man (based on the motion-picture screenplay), Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2006.

The Guinea Pigs, illustrated by Trevor Dunton, Collins (London, England), 2006.

What's for Breakfast?, illustrated by Jon Stuart, Collins (London, England), 2006.

Half Price Hero, illustrated by Tim Archbold, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2006.

Contributor of stories to other readers published by Oxford University Press.

Adaptations

David Calcutt adapted Shipton's book Petey for the radio; the script was published by Oxford University Press in 1998. The Pig Scrolls was adapted as an audiobook by BBC Audiobooks. Both The Pig Scrolls and The Pig Who Saved the World were optioned by Dreamworks Animation.

Sidelights

"I'm really not sure that I wanted to be a writer when I was growing up," Paul Shipton revealed on the Penguin UK Web site. "I did read quite a bit, but I think I wanted to be the characters in the books—footballer, Viking, space cadet, whatever I happened to be reading. At some point I suppose my ambitions changed—a good thing really, as I am a lousy footballer and I have been known to be seasick." After graduating from college and teaching English as a foreign language, Shipton began writing stories to help instruct his students. His first book, Zargon Zoo, came out of this work.

Shipton's career as an author really took off with his novel Bug Muldoon: The Garden of Fear. "I had a vague idea that I wanted to write a story about animals which weren't cute and cuddly, and were totally different from people," the author recalled on the Penguin UK Web site. "I was trying to think of story ideas and the name of Bug Muldoon popped into my head. I had always liked the ‘hard boiled’ style of detective books by writers like Raymond Chandler, and the name struck me as right for that kind of character. I just put the two together." In the book, Detective Bug Muldoon searches for a hidden colony and uncovers a conspiracy that threatens his home. John Peters observed of Bug Muldoon in Booklist that "the levels of humor and violence, plus a certain amount of abstract discourse … make this a good choice for kids" looking for sophisticated storytelling. Incorporating "unpredictable twists and turns," Shipton creates "an unusual, offbeat mystery that's great fun," Sarah O'Neal concluded in School Library Journal.

For his popular novel The Pig Scrolls, by Gryllus the Pig, Shipton found inspiration in classic literature. "I got the idea for this book when I was reading Homer's Odyssey and found myself most interested in some of the non-heroic characters in the background," the author said on the Candlewick Press Web site. "Working on the book gave me a chance to revisit a world I have always loved—that of ancient mythology and history." In Homer's epic poem, the Greek leader Odysseus has all kinds of adventures while returning home from the Trojan War. On one island he meets the enchantress Circe, who turns all Odysseus's men into pigs. When Odysseus conquers Circe's heart and frees his men, Gryllus decides that he prefers to remain a pig. More interested in food than heroics, Gryllus's prophecy leads him on a series of adventures with Sibyl, a teenage prophetess, and the young poet Homer.

The way Gryllus tells his story, in a modern, wisecracking voice, "makes for a hilarious readaloud—for those who know the old myths and those who don't," Hazel Rochman noted in Booklist, and a Kirkus Reviews writer called The Pig Scrolls, by Gryllus the Pig "a hilarious whiz-bang tour through the pantheon of Greece." Although the story is mainly "farce," wrote Patricia D. Lothrop in School Library Journal, Shipton "combines humor and action with bits of abstract thought about death and life."

Shipton's heroic pig returns in the award-winning The Pig Who Saved the World, by Gryllus the Pig. In this sequel, Gryllus and his companions search for Circe, hoping that she can return him to human form. When they find that Circe and the other gods have been kidnaped by evil King Sisyphus, they must save the world yet again. "Gryllus's narrative voice brings humor to the most desperate situations," Beth L. Meister wrote in School Library Journal, adding that readers "will find him either entertaining or annoying." Booklist contributor Michael Cart wrote of Shipton's sequel that "Gryllus remains an appealing antihero," and a Kirkus Reviews critic remarked that the pig's "lazy, dim and yet somehow still sarcastic narration is better than ever." The Pig Who Saved the World, by Gryllus the Pig is a novel "not to be missed," the critic concluded.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2000, Chris Sherman, review of The Mighty Skink, p. 2142; September 15, 2001, John Peters, review of Bug Muldoon: The Garden of Fear, p. 224; October 15, 2005, Hazel Rochman, review of The Pig Scrolls, by Gryllus the Pig, p. 43; October 1, 2007, Michael Cart, review of The Pig Who Saved the World, by Gryllus the Pig, p. 59.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2005, review of The Pig Scrolls, by Gryllus the Pig, p. 1089; July 15, 2007, review of The Pig Who Saved the World, by Gryllus the Pig.

Kliatt, May, 2006, Janet Julian, review of The Pig Scrolls, by Gryllus the Pig, p. 48.

Magpies, March, 2001, review of Bug Muldoon and the Garden of Fear and Bug Muldoon and the Killer in the Rain, p. 14.

School Librarian, May, 1996, review of Bug Muldoon, p. 76; February, 1997, review of The Mighty Skink, p. 49.

School Library Journal, June, 2000, Leah J. Sparks, review of The Mighty Skink, p. 154; December, 2005, Patricia D. Lothrop, review of The Pig Scrolls, by Gryllus the Pig, pp. 154-155; November, 2007, Beth L. Meister, review of The Pig Who Saved the World, by Gryllus the Pig, p. 138.

ONLINE

Candlewick Press Web site,http://www.candlewick.com/ (January 8, 2009), "Paul Shipton."

Penguin Books Web site,http://www.penguin.co.uk/ (January 8, 2009), "Paul Shipton."

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