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Russell Hoban - Author

About the Author

As a child

Russell Hoban was born in Pennsylvania, USA. His parents were Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine; his father was the advertising manager of a Jewish newspaper as well as a dram guild director. Russell was thus exposed to the arts early on, and became interested in writing at an early age, winning prizes for his stories and poems during his school years.

As an adult

Russell served in the US Infantry during WWII. For a time he taught art in New York and Connecticut. He then worked as a freelance illustrator and an advertising copywriter. He began publishing children's books in 1958, and since then has published more than fifty. His picture book The Sea-Thing Child, illustrated by Patrick Benson, was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Russell passed away at the age of 86 in 2011.

Featured books by Russell Hoban

Jim's Lion

Jim's Lion

7+ readers

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/06/2014

Shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal  Jim is in hospital. He's frightened. What if the doctors send him somewhere that he can't find his way back from? Nurse Bami tells Jim that he must go to his good place and there, his finder will come looking for him. Everyone has a finder. And so, deep in Jim's dreams, he finds his: a lion. In Soonchild, Russell Hoban's final piece of fiction before he died, Alexis Deacon met the spirit and wit of Hoban's vision head-on - brilliantly capturing the dark magic that lay at the heart of this fable. Since then, it feels almost impossible to imagine a better match for Hoban's words than Alexis' art.

Other books by Russell Hoban

The Marzipan Pig

The Marzipan Pig

Author: Russell Hoban, Quentin Blake Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2018

From the inimitable team of Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake, the pair behind Captain Najork and The Twenty Elephant Restaurant, comes an enchanting story of a little pig made of marzipan. Fallen behind the sofa, nobody hears the lost marzipan pig's cries for help. And, after many months, a mouse discovers him and eats him up, having never known such sweetness. But a longing to be loved passes from the marzipan pig to the mouse ... and so begins a curious chain of events featuring a dancing owl, a glowing taxi meter, a buzzing bee and a pinky-orange hibiscus flower - all triggered by the little lost marzipan pig. Each encounter more wonderful and more romantic than the last, just how far will the marzipan's sweetness travel?

Ace Dragon Ltd

Ace Dragon Ltd

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/06/2016

A fire-breathing dragon takes a boy on a fantastic sky-high adventure in this irresistible Hoban and Blake classic. From the inimitable duo of Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake, the pair behind the hilarious tales of Captain Najork, comes a story about a little boy, a fire-breathing dragon, and their sky-high adventure! I can make fire come out of my nose and mouth, the dragon under the pavement tells John. I can fly. I can spin gold into straw if you have any gold. John doesn't have any gold - and he doesn't need any straw. (Not yet, anyway.) The dragon tells John that if he fights the dragon and wins, the dragon will take him flying. What a challenge! Where will it lead? John soon finds out - and he also finds out that you just never know when a bundle of straw might come in handy... With sword-flashing excitement, a moon landing and plenty of magic, this irresistible page-turner is brought back into print in a bigger format - and a beautiful, more colourful, new edition.

The Mouse and His Child

The Mouse and His Child

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/11/2015

'What are we, Papa?' the toy mouse child asked his father. 'I don't know,' the father answered. 'We must wait and see.' So begins the story of a tin father and son who dance under a Christmas tree until they break the ancient clockwork rules and are themselves broken. Thrown away, then rescued from a dustbin and repaired by a tramp, they set out on a dangerous quest for a family and a place of their own - the magnificent doll's house, the plush elephant and the tin seal they had once know in the toy shop.

The Twenty-Elephant Restaurant

The Twenty-Elephant Restaurant

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2015

The inimitable duo of Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake tell a hilarious romp that begins with a wobbly table ... and ends with a bunch of dancing elephants! In this completely hilarious and gloriously absurd story, the pair behind the tales of Captain Najork explore just what happens when a man builds a new table ... a table sturdy enough for even an elephant to dance on. This table, said the man. What about the table? said the woman. It's wearing me out, said the man. What to do? The man makes a decision. He finds a tablewood tree, cuts it down, saws it up and makes a new table. There's nothing like a new table. This one is strong enough for elephants! But... Where would we get the elephants? said the woman. Advertise in the Classified Section, said the man. Elephants wanted for table work. Must be agile. It looks as if the man and the woman might need some more tables! We could open a restaurant, said the man. A restaurant with dancing elephants ... where will it all lead?!

Ace Dragon Ltd

Ace Dragon Ltd

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/06/2015

A fire-breathing dragon takes a boy on a fantastic sky-high adventure in this irresistible Hoban and Blake classic. From the inimitable duo of Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake, the pair behind the hilarious tales of Captain Najork, comes a story about a little boy, a fire-breathing dragon, and their sky-high adventure! I can make fire come out of my nose and mouth, the dragon under the pavement tells John. I can fly. I can spin gold into straw if you have any gold. John doesn't have any gold - and he doesn't need any straw. (Not yet, anyway.) The dragon tells John that if he fights the dragon and wins, the dragon will take him flying. What a challenge! Where will it lead? John soon finds out - and he also finds out that you just never know when a bundle of straw might come in handy... With sword-flashing excitement, a moon landing and plenty of magic, this irresistible page-turner is brought back into print in a bigger format - and a beautiful, more colourful, new edition.

A Near Thing for Captain Najork

A Near Thing for Captain Najork

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/04/2015

Another classic from Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake, featuring a jam-powered frog and an eccentric headmistress ... as nutty and compulsive as ever. A Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake classic, and a brilliant companion volume to How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen, this is the story of Tom who invents a jam-powered frog. Fooling around as he loves to do, Tom takes his Aunt Bundlejoy Cosysweet out on the frog out for a spin. When Captain Najork sees them hopping past his window, he and his hired sportsmen jump into their pedal-powered snake and set off in hot pursuit. Events, adventure and sheer craziness conspire to bring Tom and the Captain together at the local girls' boarding school, where Aunt Fidget Wonkham-Strong Najork is in the middle of a best-of-three arm-wrestling contest against the Headmistress... A rip-roaring adventure guaranteed to keep the pages turning and the laughs bouncing off the ceiling!

Jim's Lion

Jim's Lion

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/03/2015

Russell Hoban's moving, unflinching tale of a boy who finds bravery during illness is dramatically reimagined in graphic-novel format with new art by Alexis Deacon. From the incomparable Russell Hoban comes a moving, unflinching tale of a boy who finds bravery during illness, beautifully re-imagined as a graphic-novel by award-winning illustrator Alexis Deacon. Asleep in his hospital bed, Jim dreams of a great lion with white teeth and amber eyes. This lion is Jim's finder. According to Nurse Bami, everyone has a finder, a creature who comes looking for us when we are lost. But when the time comes for Jim's operation, will his lion be able to find him and bring him safely home? With the inclusion of powerful dream sequences, and a triumphant message of facing one's fears, Russell Hoban's tale of a boy's search for strength and courage will resonate with any child dealing with adversity or sickness.

Soonchild

Soonchild

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/01/2015

Hoban is the best sort of genius. Patrick Ness, The Guardian Somewhere in the Arctic Circle, Sixteen-Face John, a shaman, learns that his first child, a soonchild, cannot hear the World Songs from her mother's womb. The World Songs are what inspire all newborns to come out into the world, and John must find them for her. But how? The answer takes him through many lifetimes and many shape-shifts, as well as encounters with beasts, demons and a mysterious benevolent owl spirit, Ukpika, who is linked to John's past...

The Twenty-Elephant Restaurant

The Twenty-Elephant Restaurant

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/11/2014

A hilarious romp that begins with a wobbly table ... and ends with a bunch of dancing elephants! This table, said the man. What about the table? said the woman. It's wearing me out, said the man. What to do? The man makes a decision. He finds a tablewood tree, cuts it down, saws it up and makes a new table. There's nothing like a new table. This one is strong enough for elephants to dance on! But... Where would we get the elephants? said the woman. Advertise in the Classified Section, said the man. Elephants wanted for table work. Must be agile. It looks as if the man and the woman might need some more tables! We could open a restaurant, said the man. A restaurant with dancing elephants ... where will it all lead?

The Rain Door

The Rain Door

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/04/2014

A young boy's fantastic and fantastical trip of discovery beyond the real world ... with a horn that goes GAHOOGA! One hot summer Thursday, Harry meets the rag-and-bone man and his horse, and follows them through the rain door - to a whole other world behind the weather. When Harry hears a lion roar, he wants to get home as fast as he can ... but that turns out to be easier said than done. After an exciting adventure involving a home-made dinosaur and a sky-high flight through the mother of all thunderstorms, will Harry manage to escape the thundering lion and get back home?

A Near Thing for Captain Najork

A Near Thing for Captain Najork

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/04/2014

Another classic from Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake, featuring a jam-powered frog and an eccentric headmistress ... as nutty and compulsive as ever. Fooling around as he loves to do, Tom invents a jam-powered frog, and he and his Aunt Bundlejoy Cosysweet take it out for a spin. When Captain Najork sees them hopping past his window, he and his hired sportsmen jump into their pedal-powered snake and set off in hot pursuit - bent on revenge after their earlier defeat at womble, muck and sneedball. Events, adventure and sheer craziness conspire to bring Tom and the Captain together at the local girls' boarding school, where Aunt Fidget Wonkham-Strong Najork is in the middle of a best-of-three arm-wrestling contest against the Headmistress ... and the Captain is finally reduced to eating swede-and-mutton slump after a very narrow escape indeed.

How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen

How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/04/2014

A classic tale of the triumph of fooling-around fun over humourless no-nonsense adult disapproval! Tom loves to fool around. He fools around with dropping things from bridges into rivers and he fools around with barrels in alleys. He fools around so much that his maiden aunt, Miss Fidget Wonkham-Strong (who wears an iron hat and takes no nonsense from anyone), sends for Captain Najork and his hired sportsmen to teach Tom a lesson. Captain Najork, says Aunt Fidget Wonkham-Strong, is seven feet tall, with eyes like fire and a voice like thunder. He teaches fooling-around boys the lesson they so badly need, and it is not one that they soon forget. Captain Najork lays down a challenge: they will play womble, muck and speedball - in that order. And it turns out not to be Tom who gets taught a lesson after all!

How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen

How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/10/2013

A classic tale of the triumph of fooling-around fun over humourless no-nonsense adult disapproval! Tom loves to fool around. He fools around with dropping things from bridges into rivers and he fools around with barrels in alleys. He fools around so much that his maiden aunt, Miss Fidget Wonkham-Strong (who wears an iron hat and takes no nonsense from anyone), sends for Captain Najork and his hired sportsmen to teach Tom a lesson. Captain Najork, says Aunt Fidget Wonkham-Strong, is seven feet tall, with eyes like fire and a voice like thunder. He teaches fooling-around boys the lesson they so badly need, and it is not one that they soon forget. Captain Najork lays down a challenge: they will play womble, muck and speedball - in that order. And it turns out not to be Tom who gets taught a lesson after all!

Monsters

Monsters

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/10/2013

Brilliant and hilarious, full of monsters and disbelieving grown-ups - this is an irresistible Hoban and Blake classic, back in print at last. From the inimitable duo of Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake, the pair behind the hilarious tales of Captain Najork, this is the story of John, who likes to draw monsters. Lots of them. Red monsters, yellow monsters, scaly monsters, furry monsters, even invisible monsters. Nothing but monsters! His mum and dad are beginning to worry. Then one day John starts a monster drawing that fills up a whole sheet of wrapping paper - and that's just the tip of the tail! Will this be his biggest monster ever? Or even ... how long will it remain just a drawing?

Soonchild

Soonchild

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/03/2012

Hoban is the best sort of genius. Patrick Ness, The Guardian Somewhere in the Arctic Circle, Sixteen-Face John, a shaman, learns that his first child, a soonchild, cannot hear the World Songs from her mother's womb. The World Songs are what inspire all newborns to come out into the world, and John must find them for her. But how? The answer takes him through many lifetimes and many shape-shifts, as well as encounters with beasts, demons and a mysterious benevolent owl spirit, Ukpika, who is linked to John's past...

Sorely Trying Day

Sorely Trying Day

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/04/2010

The Mouse and His Child

The Mouse and His Child

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/08/2005

'Brilliantly plotted ...a spellbinder ...it has a style that glows and crackles.' Spectator 'Hugely funny, provocative, pathetic and heroic.' TLS 'What are we, Papa?' the toy mouse child asked his father. 'I don't know,' the father answered. 'We must wait and see.' So begins the story of a tin father and son who dance under a Christmas tree until they break the ancient clockwork rules and are themselves broken. Thrown away, then rescued from a dustbin and repaired by a tramp, they set out on a dangerous quest for a family and a place of their own - the magnificent doll's house, the plush elephant and the tin seal they had once know in the toy shop.

The Sea-Thing Child

The Sea-Thing Child

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2000

One stormy night the sea-thing child, a draggled heap of scales and feathers, is flung up on the beach. Afraid of the wild waves and the storm skies, he meets a fiddler crab with no bow and together they avoid facing their fears. Finally, though, he finds his star, his courage and his ocean self.

Dinner at Albertas

Dinner at Albertas

Author: Russell Hoban Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/08/1992

A tale of how love of Alberta reforms the uncouth Arthur who has no manners, but decides to learn them when Alberta invites him to her house for dinner.

Ace Dragon

Ace Dragon

Author: Russell Hoban, Quentin Blake Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/02/1992

One of a series of early reading books with large print and colour illustrations, this is the story of a dragon who wears wellington boots and the boy who discovers him below a coal-hole marked Ace Dragon Ltd. His exploits include skywriting, flying stunts and turning gold into straw.

Author Info

Author's Website

https://www.russellhoban.org/

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