Williams, Sam 1955-

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Williams, Sam 1955-

Personal

Born 1955, in London, England; married; three children. Education: Essex Art and Design College, studied graphic design.

Addresses

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

Career

Illustrator and author.

Awards, Honors

Children's Choice selection, International Reading Association/Children's Book Council, 2001, for Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck by Lisa Westberg Peters.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Santa's Toys, illustrated by Tim Gill, David Bennett (St. Albans, England), 1998.

The Teddy Bears' Christmas Tree, illustrated by Jacqueline McQuade, David Bennett (St. Albans, England), 2000, published as The Teddy Bears Trim the Tree: A Christmas Pull-the-Tab Book, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Spots and Slots: A Slide-the-Spot Book of Colors, illustrated by Manya Stojic, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

The Teddy Bears' Trick or Treat, Cartwheel (New York, NY), 2001.

Long Train: 101 Cars on the Track, Cartwheel (New York, NY), 2001.

Talk Peace, illustrated by Mique Moriuchi, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2005.

That's Love, illustrated by Mique Moriuchi, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2006.

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

The Baby's Word Book, David Bennett (St. Albans, England), 1993, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1999.

Who Goes Moo?, Books for Children, 1996.

Whose Baby?, Books for Children, 1996.

Whose Home?, Books for Children, 1996.

Beach Baby, Campbell (London, England), 2001.

Wiggly Toes, Campbell (London, England), 2001.

Yum Yum, Campbell (London, England), 2001.2001.

Giggle Giggle, Campbell (London, England), 2001.

Wakey Wakey, Night Night, Cartwheel (New York, NY), 2001.

Christmas Bear, Gullane Children's Books (London, England), 2002.

Snowy Magic, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2002.

Angel's Christmas Cookies, HarperFestival (New York, NY), 2002.

Bunny and Bee's Noisy Night, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

Bunny and Bee's Playful Day, Orchard (London, England), 2003.

Bunny and Bee's Forest Friend, Orchard (London, England), 2004.

Bunny and Bee's Rainbow Colors, Orchard (London, England), 2004.

ILLUSTRATOR

Rock-a-Bye Baby (board-book series), ten volumes, Dutton (New York, NY), 1992.

Toddler Playtime, Collins (London, England), 1998.

Toddler Bedtime, Collins (London, England), 1998.

Ros Asquith, Ball!, DK Publishing (New York, NY), 1998.

Nanette Newman, Up to the Skies, Hodder Children's (London, England), 1999.

Ros Asquith, My Do It!, Dorling Kindersley (London, England and New York, NY), 2000.

Lisa Westberg Peters, Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2000.

Grace Maccarone, A Child Was Born: A First Nativity Book, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Isabel Wilner, The Baby's Game Book, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2000.

Marni McGee, Sleepy Me, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.

Grace Maccarone, A Child's Good Night Prayer, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Hiawyn Oram, Shall We Do That Again?, Orchard (London, England), 2001, published as Let Us Do That Again!, Dutton (New York, NY), 2003.

Mathew Price, Who Loves You, Baby Bear?, Mathew Price (Sherborne, England), 2001.

Laura E. Richards, Jiggle Joggle Jee!, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2001.

Marni McGee, Wake up, Me!, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.

Grace MacCarone, A Child's Goodnight Prayer, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Ros Asquith, Babies, Macmillan (London, England), 2002, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.

Karen Baicker, Tumble Me Tumbily, Handprint Books (Brooklyn, NY), 2002, board-book adaptation published as Yum Tummy Tickly!, 2004.

Sarah Ferguson, Little Red, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.

Karen Baicker, Pea Pod Babies, Handprint Books (Brooklyn, NY), 2003.

Ellen Weiss, Twins in the Park, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2003.

Ellen Weiss, Twins Take a Bath, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2003.

Ellen Weiss, Twins Go to Bed, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2004.

Ellen Weiss, Twins Have a Fight, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2004.

Sarah Ferguson, Little Red's Christmas Story, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2004.

Karen Baicker, Wake-ity Wake!, Handprint Books (Brooklyn, NY), 2004.

Sarah Ferguson, Little Red's Summer Adventure, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.

Bernette Ford, No More Diapers for Ducky!, Sterling Publishing (New York, NY), 2006.

Jane Kemp and Clare Walters, My Favorite Toys!, Tiger Tales (Wilton, CT), 2006, published as My First Toy Catalogue, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2006.

George Shannon, Busy in the Garden, Greenwillow Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Sarah Weeks, Overboard!, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.

Roseanne Thong, Tummy Girl, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2007.

Sarah Weeks, Bunny Fun, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.

Sidelights

Sam Williams, a British illustrator and author, is perhaps best known for his drawings of babies and toddlers. These simple drawings are the highlight of his earliest solo efforts, such as the Rock-a-Bye Baby series of ten miniature board books. Nesting inside a cradle-shaped box with a rounded bottom, the books feature texts consisting of a string of words, one to a page, which relate to bedtime, playtime, bath time, home, and other familiar elements of a young child's life. Each word is coupled with one of Williams' signature illustrations, in which a chubby little person beams cherubically out at the reader. The Baby's Word Book is an oversized version of the same concept; in this case, each page is mapped out in a grid of nine pictures, each accompanied by the word and phrase for the object, feeling, or activity depicted. The result was described as "great fun for toddlers" by School Library Journal reviewer Lisa Falk. According to Horn Book reviewer Lauren Adams, Williams's characteristic "gentle pencil and watercolor illustrations" also accompany Isabel Wilner's The Baby's Game Book, a collection of thirty-five games that are suitable for adult and toddler sharing. Appraising Williams' illustration output, a Publishers Weekly contributor described his Williams's contributions to children's literature as "warm, attractive art."

Williams teamed up with author Lisa Westberg Peters for the picture book Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck, which Catherine Andronik dubbed "a wonderful read-aloud pick-me-up for those blah, between-season March days" in her Booklist review. In the book, Peters tells the story of a little duck who returns to her pond too early one spring and finds the water still frozen over. By closing her eyes and imagining the sights, sounds, and smells of spring, the duck brings the warm season back. Peters' simple rhyming text repeats each end-of-the-phrase word three times, making the book a perfect choice for reading aloud, reviewers noted. Best of all, "story, art, and design work together well, and there's plenty here to engage duck-loving preschoolers preparing to dive into words and reading," observed Horn Book reviewer Kitty Flynn. In contrasting the muted colors of winter with the brighter colors of spring, Williams helps create "a beautiful book for sharing with toddlers," asserted Judith Constantinides in School Library Journal, while a Publishers Weekly critic called Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck a "visually sumptuous testimony to patience and the power of positive thinking."

In his contribution to A Child Was Born: A First Nativity Book, Grace Maccarone's rhyming rendition of the Christian nativity story, Williams creates "softly muted, double-page watercolor spreads," according to a reviewer in School Library Journal. His "simple, uncluttered" illustrations also grace several books by Ros Asquith. As its title makes plain, My Do It! is a lift-the-flap book about an independent-minded toddler who insists on doing everything for himself. Young readers can help by lifting the flaps, according to Olga R. Barnes in School Library Journal. Babies, also featuring a rhyming text by Asquith that skips along a list of toddler differences, including likes and dislikes. In Booklist, Carolyn Phelan commented in particular on the book's "consistently light, sunny tone," and citing Williams' artistic contribution of "well-drawn," multiracial infants. In School Library Journal, Blair Christolon praised the illustrator for casting toddlers as "well-rounded figures with expressive, yet gentle features" in Babies, while a Kirkus Reviews writer noted that the illustrator's "soft, subtly shaded watercolors perfectly render the many babies and toys" that star in Asquith's "poetic celebration" of infanthood.

In his illustrations for Laura E. Richards' Jiggle Joggle Jee!, Williams brings to life the imaginary adventures of a child as he drifts off to sleep and dreams of riding a toy train through an imaginary landscape. Williams trades his simple, lucid style for what a Publishers Weekly critic dubbed "an impressionistic approach," effectively conveying Richards's fantasy. As in several of his other collaborative efforts Jiggle Joggle Jee! features a playful rhyme scheme designed to engage small children. Paired with this text, "Williams' watercolors are stunners, densely colored yet shimmering with light," according to a reviewer in Publishers Weekly. Praised by School Library Journal reviewer Rosalyn Pierini as "an absolute delight from start to finish," Karen Baicker's Pea Pod Babies is also enhanced by Williams's "inviting, wispy-lined artwork," his portraits of round-faced infants cited by Booklist reviewer Jennifer

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Mattson as "excellent" for laptime readings. Other writers whose works have been brought to life in Williams's art include Sarah Weeks, Hiawyn Oram, George Shannon, and Ellen Weiss.

Among the many writers who have seen their text paired with Williams's art, perhaps the most high profile has been British author Sarah Ferguson, duchess of York. Published in 2003, Little Red introduces readers to a red-haired, gingham-clad girl who lives in an idyllic forest cottage, surrounded by animal friends Gino the spotted dog, Roany the pink pony, and the simply named Squirrel, as well as human neighbor Little Blue. During a picnic, the friends come to the rescue of a waterbound bunny, with Williams's "detailed watercolor illustrations add[ing] considerable, genuine charm to the effort," according to a Kirkus Reviews writer. Ferguson's writing efforts have also produced Little Red's Summer Adventure, which finds the friends competing in a local boat-building contest by transforming Red's turquoise wagon into a watercraft. In School Library Journal, Kirsten Cutler wrote that Williams' pencil drawings "do a nice job of conveying" Ferguson's simple storyline, and a Kirkus Reviews writer concluded that his "detailed paintings neatly capture the fey, otherworldliness" of the child-friendly world brought to life in Little Red's Summer Adventure.

Although Williams is best known for the illustrations he provides for texts written by other authors, he has also written several original children's books, among them The Teddy Bears Trim the Tree: A Christmas Pull-the-Tab Book, The Teddy Bears' Trick or Treat, and Angel's Christmas Cookies. In Talk Peace he hands over illustration duties to artist Mique Moriuchi, and concentrates his efforts on the rhyming text of a book that a Publishers Weekly contributor described as "bouncy and effervescent" as well as "colorful and inclusive." The book, inspired by Williams' reaction to world events at the turn of the twenty-first century, encourages young readers to, as it's title states, "On the street,/ when you meet,/ … talk Peace." A companion volume, That's Love, also features Moriuchi's artwork, described by a Kirkus Reviews writer as "simple, soft-edged scenes of children and animals at play."

Biographical and Critical Sources

BOOKS

William, Sam, Talk Peace, illustrated by Mique Moriuchi, Hodder Childrens (London, England), 2005.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 15, 2000, Catherine Andronik, review of Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck, p. 1749; December 1, 2000, Ilene Cooper, review of Teddy Bears Trim the Tree: A Christmas Pull-the-Tab Book, p. 728; January 1, 2003, Karin Snelson, review of Let's Do That Again!, p. 909; February 1, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of Babies, p. 999; November 15, 2003, Jennifer Mattson, review of Pea Pod Babies, p. 103; January 1, 2006, Gillian Engberg, review of Busy in the Garden, p. 106; February 15, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Overboard!, p. 106; June 1, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of No More Diapers for Ducky!, p. 82.

Children's Book Review Annual, 1998, review of Santa's Toys, p. 492.

Horn Book, spring, 1993, review of Rock-a-Bye Baby, p. 17; July, 2000, Kitty Flynn, review of Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck, p. 443, and Lauren Adams, review of The Baby's Game Book, p. 449; March-April, 2006, Susan Dove Lempke, review of Busy in the Garden, p. 202.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2002, review of Tumble Me Tumbily, p. 1383; December 15, 2002, review of Babies, p. 1845; September 1, 2003, review of Little Red, p. 1122; February 15, 2006, review of Overboard!, p. 191; March 1, 2006, review of Busy in the Garden, p. 239; June 15, 2006, review of Little Red's Summer Adventure, p. 632; September 1, 2006, review of That's Love, p. 915.

Publishers Weekly, October 26, 1992, review of Rock-a-Bye Baby, p. 68; September 6, 1999, review of The Baby's Word Book, p. 106; March 20, 2000, review of Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck, p. 92; April 2, 2001, review of Jiggle Joggle Jee!, p. 62; April 17, 2000, "Rhymes in Action," p. 82; September 25, 2000, review of A Child Was Born: A First Nativity Book, p. 68; September 23, 2002, review of Angel's Christmas Cookies, p. 36; November 11, 2002, review of Tumble Me Tumbily, p. 62; December 15, 2002, review of Babies, p. 65; July 21, 2003, review of Little Red, p. 193; January 5, 2004, review of Pea Pod Babies, p. 59; February 28, 2005, review of Talk Peace, p. 65; March 27, 2006, review of Overboard! and No More Diapers for Ducky!, p. 77.

School Library Journal, January, 2000, Lisa Falk, review of The Baby's Word Book, p. 127; May, 2000, Judith Constantinides, review of Cold Little Duck, Duck, Duck, p. 151; October, 2000, review of a Child Was Born, p. 61, and Olga R. Barnes, review of My Do It!, p. 110; June, 2001, Martha Topol, review of Sleepy Me, p. 126; October, 2002, Eva Mitnick, review of Angel's Christmas Cookies, p. 65; March, 2003, Blair Christolon, review of Babies, p. 176, and Lisa Dennis, review of Let's Do That Again!, p. 200; April, 2003, Steven Engelfried, review of Tumble Me Tumbily, p. 114; September, 2003, Nancy A. Gifford, review of Little Red, p. 177; November, 2003, Joy Fleishhacker, review of Twins in the Park, p. 200; December, 2003, Rosalyn Pierini, review of Pea Pod Babies, p. 103; August, 2004, Anne Knickerbocker, review of Twins Go to Bed, p. 103; April, 2005, Blair Christolon, review of Talk Peace, p. 116; February, 2006, Carolyn Janssen, review of Busy in the Garden, p. 124; April, 2006, Martha Topol, review of Overboard!, p. 120; July, 2006, Kirsten Cutler, review of Little Red's Summer Adventure, p. 77; August, 2006, Martha Topol, review of No More Diapers for Ducky!, p. 87; September, 2006, Tamara E. Richman, review of That's Love, p. 187.

ONLINE

Sam Williams Web site, http://www.schmeem.demon.co.uk/ (March 19, 2007).

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