Todd, Barbara 1961-
Todd, Barbara 1961-
Born 1961, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; married; children: three. Education: University graduate. Hobbies and other interests: Spicy food from around the world, knitting, walking, Shel Silverstein poems.
Educator and writer. Worked with children with special needs, Bangalore, India; teacher-storyteller in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; freelance writer.
Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia.
Marianna Dempster Memorial Award, Canadian Author's Association (Nova Scotia chapter).
The Rainmaker, illustrated by Rogé, Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.
Roger Gets Carried Away, illustrated by Rogé, Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2005.
Canadian children's-book author Barbara Todd developed a passion for writing poetry while residing on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where she and her husband raised and home-schooled their three children. A dedication to young people is another of Todd's passions; after college graduation she traveled to Bangalore, India, and spent several years working with special-needs children. Since moving to Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Todd has combined both her passions in a career as a picture-book author, producing the quirky books The Rainmaker and Roger Gets Carried Away. Praising Roger Gets Carried Away as a "funny story" about a boy's search for the perfect glasses, Christina Neigel added in a review for Canadian Review of Materials that Todd's "experience with special needs children … likely inspired" her "tale of adjustment."
In The Rainmaker Todd introduces readers to a curious and imaginative young boy named Clarence. One day, while taking a walk, Clarence discovers a drain trap with "rain" marked on it (the "D" has worn away over time). Thinking he has just discovered the switch that makes it rain, the boy turns the nozzle and is amazed when it suddenly begins to rain. As the rain continues falling, the Rainmaker appears, handing out quirky umbrellas to people who have been stranded with no umbrella when the rains began. Actually, the umbrellas are magical: some are decorated with animals that speak, while others make rain underneath the umbrella rather than keeping the user dry. Eventually, Clarence crosses paths with the Rainmaker, who tells the boy how to turn the rain off, a skill that becomes increasingly important as Clarence's town starts to flood. The boy's efforts to right the soggy situation so impress the Rainmaker that he enlists Clarence's help in monitoring future rainstorms.
A Publishers Weekly critic commented of The Rainmaker that the story's "details at times provide an intriguing window into young Clarence's curiosity," while Rogé's illustrations "lend the antics a pleasingly damp atmosphere." Sandra Tee, writing in Resource Links, stated that the storybook would be of great use in the classroom, noting that "teachers can use this book to begin dialogue about rain, rainbows, and thunder and lightening."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Canadian Book Review Annual, 2003, Martha Lamon, review of The Rainmaker, p. 469.
Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2005, review of Roger Gets Carried Away, p. 692.
Publishers Weekly, April 7, 2003, review of The Rainmaker, p. 65.
Resource Links, April, 2003, Sandra Tee, review of The Rainmaker, p. 8; October, 2005, Linda Berezowski, review of Roger Gets Carried Away, p. 10.
School Library Journal, August, 2003, Susan Lissim, review of The Rainmaker, p. 144; August, 2005, Maryann H. Owen, review of Roger Gets Carried Away, p. 107.
Annick Press Web site,http://www.annickpress.com/ (September 10, 2006), "Barbara Todd."
Canadian Review of Materials Online,http://www.umanitoba.ca/ (September 10, 2006), Christina Neigel, review of Roger Gets Carried Away.
Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia Web site,http://www.writers.ns.ca/ (September 10, 2006), "Barbara Todd."