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Strong, Jeremy 1949-(J.J. Strong)

Strong, Jeremy 1949-(J.J. Strong)


Personal


Born November 18, 1949, in London, England; son of Charles (a pharmacist) and Una (a teacher) Strong; married Susan Noot (a child behaviorist), August 31, 1973; children: Daniel, Jessica. Education: University of York, B.A. (English), 1972; St. John's College, York, certificate of education, 1975.

Addresses


Home—Somerset, England. Agent—David Higham Associates Ltd., 5-8 Lower John St., Golden Square, London W1R 4HA, England.

Career


Author of children's books. Teacher and head teacher, 1975-91; freelance writer, beginning 1992.

Awards, Honors


NFCBG Children's Book Award, 1997, for The Hundred Mile an Hour Dog; NFCBG Book Award shortlist, 1998, for My Granny's Great Escape; category winner, Sheffield Children's Book Award, and Birmingham Book Award shortlist, both 1998, both for Pirate Pandemonium; Sheffield Children's Book Award highly commended designation, 2000, for Dinosaur Pox; Federation of Children's Book Groups Fifty Best Books designation, 2001, for I'm Telling You, They're Aliens!, and 2003, for Krazy Kow Saves the World—Well, Almost; Sheffield Children's Book Award Short Novel Award, 2001, for Living with Vampires; Nottingham Experion Big 3 Book Award, and NFCBG Children's Book Award shortlist, both 2002, both for My Mum's Going to Explode; Portsmouth book Award shortlist, 2003, for Mad Iris; Prix Chronos Award (Paris Book Fair), 2004, for My Granny's Great Escape; Manchester Book Award, 2006, for Stuff.

Writings


FOR CHILDREN


(Under name J.J. Strong) Smith's Tail, illustrated by Ross, Evans Bros.(London, England), 1978.

(Under name J.J. Strong) Emily's a Guzzleguts, illustrated by Catherine Brighton, Evans Bros. (London, England), 1979.

(Under name J.J. Strong) Smith Takes a Bath, illustrated by Ross, Evans Bros. (London, England), 1980.

Trouble with Animals (also see below), illustrated by Jonathan Allen, Crowell (London, England), 1980.

Lightning Lucy, illustrated by Toni Goffe, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1981.

Travels with an Atlas, Edward Arnold (London, England), 1983.

The Woff, illustrated by Toni Goffe, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1983, reprinted, 1998.

Fatbag, the Demon Vacuum Cleaner, illustrated by John Shelley, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1983.

Fox on the Roof (also see below), illustrated by Doffy Weir, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1984.

Money Doesn't Grow on Trees, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1984.

Lucky Dip, Edward Arnold (London, England), 1984.

I Didn't Mean to Do It, Bell & Hyam (London, England), 1984.

(Under name J.J. Strong) I Was Only Trying to Help, Evans Bros. (London, England), 1984.

Lightning Lucy Strikes Again, illustrated by Toni Goffe, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1985, Chivers North America (Cape Cod, MA), 1997.

Fanny Witch and the Boosnatch, illustrated by Annabel Spenceley, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1985.

The Princess and Bungle, illustrated by Peter Stevenson, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1985, Silver Burdett (Glenview, IL), 1986.

The Air Raid Shelter, illustrated by Doffy Weir, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1986.

The Karate Princess, illustrated by Simone Abel, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1986.

Look Twice, Edward Arnold (London, England), 1986.

Starbiker, illustrated by Jim Ranson, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1986.

Dogs Are Different (also see below), illustrated by Robert Bartelt, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1987.

Lightning Lucy Storms Ahead, illustrated by Toni Goffe, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1987.

Bungle's Ghost, illustrated by Peter Stevenson, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1987.

Fanny Witch and the Thunder Lizard, illustrated by Annabel Spenceley, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1987.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!, illustrated by Colin Payne, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1988.

Little Pig's Party, illustrated by Tony Morris, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1988.

The Everything Machine, illustrated by Robert Geary, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1989.

It's a Tough Life, illustrated by Caroline Crossland, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1989.

The Karate Princess and the Cut-throat Robbers, illustrated by Simone Abel, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1989.

Bungle to the Rescue, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1990.

Pandemonium at School, illustrated by Judy Brown, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1990.

There's a Viking in My Bed (also see below), illustrated by John Levers, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1990.

The Karate Princess to the Rescue, illustrated by Simone Abel, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1991.

Little Pig Goes to School, illustrated by Tony Morris, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1992.

Viking in Trouble (also see below), illustrated by John Levers, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1992.

My Dad's Got an Alligator (also see below), illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Viking (London, England), 1994.

Fanny Witch Goes Spikky Spoo, illustrated by Annabel Spenceley, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1994, Chivers North America (Cape Cod, MA), 1997, published as Fanny Witch and the Wicked Wizard, Penguin (London, England), 1996.

There's a Pharaoh in Our Bath (also see below), illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Dutton (New York, NY), 1995.

The Pirate Bed, Ginn (Aylesbury, Scotland), 1995.

The Desperate Adventures of Sir Rupert and Rosie Gussett, illustrated by Chris Mould, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1995.

The Karate Princess and the Last Griffin, illustrated by Simone Abel, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1995.

The Indoor Pirates (also see below), illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Dutton (New York, NY), 1995.

The Dinosaur Robbers, illustrated by David Mostyn, Macdonald (London, England), 1996.

The Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Viking (London, England), 1996.

Aliens in School, illustrated by David Mostyn, Macdonald (London, England), 1997.

There's a Pharaoh in Our Bath (also see below), illustrated by Nick Sharrat, Puffin (London, England), 1997.

Giant Jim and the Hurricane (also see below), illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Viking (London, England), 1997.

Viking at School (also see below), illustrated by John Levers, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1997.

My Granny's Great Escape (also see below), illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Viking (London, England), 1997.

Otherworld (graphic novel), illustrated by Anthony Morris, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1997.

Pirate Pandemonium, illustrated by Judy Brown, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1997.

The Indoor Pirates on Treasure Island (also see below), illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Puffin (Harmondsworth, England), 1998.

Max and the Petnappers, illustrated by David Mostyn, Macdonald (London, England), 1998.

Dinosaur Pox, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Puffin (London, England), 1999.

Problems with a Python, illustrated by Scoular Anderson, Barrington Stoke (Edinburgh, Scotland), 1999.

Sir Rupert and Rosie Gusset in Deadly Danger, illustrated by Chris Mould, Puffin (London, England), 1999.

The Karate Princess in Monsta Trouble, illustrated by Simone Abel, A. & C. Black (London, England), 1999.

Max and the Haunted Castle, illustrated by David Mostyn, Macdonald Young (Hove, England), 1999.

I'm Telling You, They're Aliens!, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Puffin (London, England), 2000.

The Monster Muggs, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Puffin (London, England), 2000.

The Big Book of Funny Stories (includes The Indoor Pirates, The Indoor Pirates on Treasure Island, and Giant Jim and the Hurricane), illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Penguin (London, England), 2000.

Living with Vampires, illustrated by Scoular Anderson, Barrington Stoke (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2001.

The Big Book of Funny Stories 2 (includes My Dad's Got an Alligator!, My Granny's Great Escape, and There's a Pharaoh in Our Bath!), illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Viking (London, England), 2001.

Trouble with Animals (story collection; includes Fox on the Roof and Dogs Are Different), Puffin (London, England), 2001.

There's a Viking in My Bed, and Other Stories (includes Viking in Trouble and Viking at School), illustrated by John Levers, Puffin (London, England), 2001.

It's a Tough Life, A. & C. Black (London, England), 2001.

My Mum's Going to Explode, Puffin (London, England), 2001.

Krazy Kow Saves the World—Well, Almost, illustrated by Nick Sharratt, Puffin (London, England), 2002.

(Editor) The Kingfisher Treasury of Dinosaur Stories, Kingfisher (London, England), 2002.

Problems with a Python, illustrated by Scoular Anderson, Barrington Stoke (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2002.

Just a Bit of Wind, illustrated by Ian Cunliffe, Puffin (London, England), 2002.

The Shocking Adventures of Lighting Lucy, Puffin (London, England), 2002.

Mad Iris, illustrated by Scoular Anderson, Barrington Stoke (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2002.

Living with Vampires, illustrated by Scoular Anderson, Barrington Stoke (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2003.

The Beak Speaks, illustrated by Rowan Clifford, Puffin (London, England), 2003.

The Birthday Bash, illustrated by Ian Cunliffe, Puffin (London, England), 2003.

Don't Go into the Cellar, illustrated by Scoular Anderson, Barrington Stoke (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2003, revised edition, 2004.

The Smallest Horse in the World, Scoular Anderson, Barrington Stoke (Edinburgh, Scotland), 2005.

Stuff (young-adult novel), illustrated by Seb Burnett, Puffin (London, England), 2005.

The Bun Gun, illustrated by Ian Cunliffe, Puffin (London, England) 2005.

Wanted! The Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog, illustrated by Rowan Clifford, Puffin (London, England), 2006.

My Brother's Famous Bottom, Puffin (London, England), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Junior Education and Child Education.

"STORY STREET" READER SERIES


Wind and Fire, 2 volumes, illustrated by Ken Stott, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2000.

Spock the Dockey, illustrated by Steve Smallman, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2000.

Ben and the Bird, illustrated by Steve Smallman, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2000.

Ben and the Pop Star, illustrated by Steve Smallman, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2000.

Ben and the Ghost, illustrated by Jan Smith, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2001.

Man-eating Snails, illustrated by Steve Smallman, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2001.

A Monster on the Street, illustrated by Steve Smallman, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2001.

The Barbecue, illustrated by Jan Smith, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2001.

The Tree House, illustrated by Jim Kavanagh, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2001.

The Biggest Party in the Universe, illustrated by Ken Stott, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2001.

The Babysitter, Pearson Education (Harlow, England), 2005.

Adaptations


Several of Strong's books have been adapted for audio-book, including Pandemonium at School, 2002, The Indoor Pirates on Treasure Island, BBC Audiobooks America, 2005, and Chicken School, Chivers Children's Audio, 2005. Strong's "Story Street" characters and settings have appeared in fiction by other authors.

Sidelights


Successful in his efforts to attract even the most book-averse elementary school-aged readers, British author Jeremy Strong combines elements of fantasy and humor in his off-beat stories. Freely admitting to a love of making people laugh, Stong creates short novels with titles like There's a Pharaoh in Our Bath, Fatbag, the Demon Vacuum Cleaner, Krazy Kow Saves the World—Well, Almost, and My Mum's Going to Explode, that are guaranteed to attract beginning bookworms. Winner of a Children's Book Awards overall honor for The Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog, Strong's lighthearted approach has been described by Books for Keeps contributor Clive Barnes as full of "humour, invention, and [a] grasp of human nature," making his books excellent read-aloud choices.

Born in London, England, in 1949, Strong began writing by composing poetry and experimental prose. After he wrote his first story for children, he gradually discontinued his other work in favor of writing for young people. Meanwhile, Strong completed his college education, first at the University of York, where he re-

ceived his bachelor's degree in English in 1972, and then at St. John's College, York, where he earned a certificate of education in 1975. While teaching full time, Strong published his first book, Smith's Tail, under the name J.J. Strong. He left teaching in 1991 to write full time.

"Although I have tried one or two more serious children's stories, I prefer writing humorous tales," Strong once told SATA. Many of his quirky tales have actually been inspired by things that happened to Strong, either at home or in his classroom. Trouble with Animals, the story of a young boy's search for the perfect pet, includes a classic portrayal of a disapproving older sister, and "family relationships [that are] typical," according to School Library Journal contributor Dorcas Hand, the critic adding that Strong's "story is alive with the humor second and third graders love." Like several of Strong's books, Emily's a Guzzleguts is based on the author's son, Daniel, at a young age, and the boy's reactions to his sister, Jessica.

Children between ages eight and ten often pop up in Strong's stories. In Lightning Lucy, which a Junior Bookshelf contributor called "a bright little story told with humour and deft characterisation," an eight-year-old girl with the ability to fly causes no end of difficulty for her parents, while My Dad's Got an Alligator finds a young lad perplexed over his father's choice of a pet: an alligator appropriately named "Crunchbag." Not surprisingly, Crunchbag disrupts the home life of the boy's slightly eccentric family, creating humor in a tale that showcases Strong's "feel for the funny throwaway line," according to a Books for Keeps contributor.

Sometimes Strong features unusual protagonists in his comic tales. In Fatbag, the Demon Vacuum Cleaner a lumbering household appliance decides to take over the world, beginning with an elementary school where it starts sucking up all sorts of things before the janitor pulls the plug on its escapades. A human evil stars in The Beak Speaks in the form of Divine, a beautiful criminal who masquerades as a candidate for the position of new girlfriend for Mark's divorced dad. Science-fiction elements are combined with humor in stories like The Woff, in which a creature from outer space accidentally collides with Earth and ends up in a small grade school. To return to orbit, the tiny Woff asks for a diamond, and schoolchildren scurry to assist it in a tale that a Junior Bookshelf reviewer praised as "full of delightful twists of imagination" and containing "humour, slapstick, suspense and pleasure in plenty."

In addition to unusual characters, Strong enjoys weaving elements of fantasy into his novels for beginning readers. Giants walk the earth in Giant Jim and the Hurricane, wherein a giant who loves to play the saxophone ends up causing no end of trouble for a tiny village due to his enormous size. However, when a hurricane hits the village and tosses whole buildings around, the giant puts his size to good use in returning things to normal, thus winning the regard of all involved. A crew of water-hating pirates is the subject of The Indoor Pirates on Treasure Island, which School Library Journal contributor Carol Y. Barker dubbed a "humorous" story that "will capture the attention of listeners." Bungle's Ghost features a young princess who dreads the visit of her Aunt Moldred and her perfectly horrid cousin, Prince Conrad. When the pair arrive at the royal palace, Conrad torments everyone and everything in his path, including the princess's pet cat, Bungle. Fortunately, after a night spent hiding in the royal flour bin, Bungle emerges to set things right in a story that a Junior Bookshelf contributor described as having "a satisfying amount of lively text." The spirited princess and her pampered puss Bungle are reunited in several other books, including Bungle to the Rescue.

Animals star in many books by Strong. The Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog and its sequel, Wanted! The Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog, feature a wild-mannered pooch named Streaker. In the first book, Streaker is the subject of a bet between two young boys: Can the dog be trained to behave in two weeks? Trevor decides to take on the challenge in a story that School Librarian contributor Lucinda Fox maintained will appeal "to any children with a recalcitrant dog in the family, and to any who like zany pets." Rambunctious dogs also refuse to stay still in Dogs Are Different, as young Martin's puppy, aptly named Geronimo, trashes the family garden and does horrible things to Martin's stepfather's car interior. After Geronimo is expelled from dog obedience school, the word comes down from parental authority that the dog must go. Martin contemplates running away with his pup, but fortunately a better solution to the family's problem is found, in a tale that a Junior Bookshelf contributor praised as containing "pace and purpose, challenge and coherence."

While Strong has occasionally written for an older readership, as with his young-adult novel Stuff, he dedicates much of his writing time to children's fiction. "I find working for adults far more exacting and as yet have not discovered a line of humor that will help me to enjoy such work," he explained. "I've got to laugh or I get bored." As Strong once admitted to SATA, while working a a teacher he enjoyed his interactions with children, finding the company of eight and nine year olds stimulating. "I think my level of humor must have stuck at that age," he concluded. Describing his authorial career in Carousel magazine, Strong explained that "writing has rarely, if ever, seemed like labour. Each time I write a story I hope it will be better than the last one I wrote, and I try to make it so. I am conscious that I don't always succeed, but that is part of the fun (and toil)."

Biographical and Critical Sources


PERIODICALS


Booklist, January 1, 1989, p. 797; February 1, 2001, Anna Rich, review of The Desperate Adventures of Sir Rupert and Rosie Gussett, p. 1064.

Books for Keeps, March, 1988, p. 19; May, 1996, review of My Dad's Got an Alligator, p. 13; March, 1997, p. 23; September, 1997, p. 25; November, 1997, Clive Barnes, review of Giant Jim and the Hurricane, pp. 24-25.

Bookseller, February 15, 2005, review of Stuff, p. 38.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 1981, review of Trouble with Animals, p. 220.

Carousel, summer, 1998, Jeremy Strong, "Meet Jeremy Strong," p. 22.

Junior Bookshelf, June, 1982, review of Lightning Lucy, p. 101; February, 1984, review of The Woff, p. 29; February, 1988, reviews of Bungle's Ghost, p. 26, and Dogs Are Different, p. 36.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1981, p. 358.

School Librarian, March, 1983, p. 249; March, 1984, p. 41; June, 1986, p. 155; February, 1996, p. 20; February, 1997, Lucinda Fox, review of The Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog, p. 34; August, 1997, p. 135; November, 1997, p. 202; autumn, 1999, review of The Karate Princess, p. 146; autumn, 2001, review of My Mum's Going to Explode, p. 146; autumn, 2002, review of Just a Bit of Wind, p. 129; spring, 2003, review of The Kingfisher Treasury of Dinosaur Stories, p. 35; winter, 2003, review of Pirate School, p. 192; spring, 2005, review of Chicken School, p. 28; autumn, 2005, Rudolf Loewenstein, review of Return of the Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog, p. 147, and Sarah Wilkie, review of Stuff, p. 161.

School Library Journal, February, 1982, Dorcas Hand, review of Trouble with Animals, p. 71; October, 1984, Hayden Atwood, review of Money Doesn't Grow on Trees, p. 163; October, 1999, review of Viking in Trouble, p. 89; January, 2002, Stephanie Meyer, review of Pandemonium at School, p. 76; February, 2006, Carol Y. Barker, review of The Indoor Pirates on Treasure Island, p. 74.

Times Educational Supplement, June 5, 1987, review of Fanny Witch and the Thunder Lizard, p. 62; June 3, 1988, review of Little Pig's Party, p. 47; December 24, 1992, review of Lightning Lucy, p. 20; April 18, 1997, review of There's a Pharaoh in Our Bath!, p. 12; July 4, 1997, review of Otherworld, p. 10; September 22, 2000, review of The Monster Muggs, p. 7; August 29, 2003, p. 24; July 29, 2005, Michael Thorn, review of Stuff, p. 26; June 23, 2006, review of Mad Iris Goes Missing, p. 19.

ONLINE


Contemporary Writers Web site,http://www.contemporarywriters.com (December 24, 2006), "Jeremy Strong."

Jeremy Strong Home Page,http://www.jeremystrong.co.uk (December 15, 2006).

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