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Holm, Matthew 1974–
Born: February 24, 1974 in Pennsylvania, United States
Nationality: American
Occupation: Illustrator
Something About the Author. Ed. Jennifer Stock. Vol. 322. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2018. p86-90.
Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2018 Gale, a Cengage Company
Full Text: 
Page 86

Holm, Matthew 1974–

Personal

Born February 24, 1974, in PA; son of William W. (a pediatrician) and Beverly A. (a pediatric nurse) Holm; married. Education: College degree.

Addresses

Home—Portland, OR.

Career

Illustrator and author. Has worked as a magazine editor and web designer.

Awards, Honors

Notable Book designation, American Library Association, 2006, for Babymouse: Queen of the World!; Eisner Award for Best Publication for Early Readers, 2013, for Babymouse for President.

Writings

(With Jonathan Follett) Gray Highway: An American UFO Journey, Toadspittle Hill Productions (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Jonathan Follett) Suburbageddon; or, How Two Middle-Class American Guys Prepare for the Apocalypse, Toadspittle Hill Productions (New York, NY), 1999.

(Editor, with Jennifer L. Holm and Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and contributor) Comics Squad: Recess!, Random House (New York, NY), 2014.

(With Jonathan Follett; and illustrator) Marvin and the Moths, Scholastic Press (New York, NY), 2016.

(Editor, with Jennifer L. Holm and Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and contributor) Comics Squad: Lunch!, Random House (New York, NY), 2016.

(With Jennifer L. Holm) I'm Sunny, Random House (New York, NY), 2016.

(With Jennifer L. Holm) Pod vs. Pod, Random House (New York, NY), 2016.

(Editor, with Jennifer L. Holm and Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and contributor) Comics Squad: Detention!, Random House (New York, NY), 2017.

(With Jennifer L. Holm) Swing It, Sunny!, Scholastic Press (New York, NY), 2017.

(With Jennifer L. Holm) Miss Communication, Random House (New York, NY), 2018.

“BABYMOUSE” GRAPHIC-NOVEL SERIES; WITH SISTER JENNIFER L. HOLM; AND ILLUSTRATOR

Babymouse: Queen of the World!, Random House (New York, NY), 2005.

Babymouse: Our Hero, Random House (New York, NY), 2005.

Babymouse: Beach Babe, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.

Babymouse: Heartbreaker, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.

Babymouse: Rock Star, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.

Camp Babymouse, Random House (New York, NY), 2006.

Babymouse: Skater Girl, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Babymouse: Puppy Love, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Babymouse: Monster Mash, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2008.

Babymouse: Dragonslayer, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2009.

Babymouse: The Musical, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2009.

Babymouse Burns Rubber!, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2010.

Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2010.

A Very Babymouse Christmas, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2011.

Babymouse: Mad Scientist, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2011.

Babymouse for President, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2012.

Extreme Babymouse, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2013.

Happy Birthday, Babymouse, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2014.

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Babymouse: Bad Babysitter, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2015.

Little Babymouse and the Christmas Cupcakes, Random House (New York, NY), 2016.

Babymouse Goes for the Gold, Random House (New York, NY), 2016.

Babymouse: Lights, Camera, Middle School!, Random House (New York, NY), 2017.

“SQUISH” GRAPHIC-NOVEL SERIES; WITH JENNIFER L. HOLM; AND ILLUSTRATOR

Squish: Super Amoeba, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2011.

Squish: Brave New Pond, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2011.

Squish: The Power of the Parasite, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2012.

Squish: Captain Disaster, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2012.

Squish: Game On!, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2013.

Squish: Fear the Amoeba, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2014.

Squish: Deadly Disease of Doom, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2015.

ILLUSTRATOR

Pizza Counting, Charlesbridge (Watertown, MA), 2003.

Jennifer L. Holm, Hello Kitty, Hello 40: A Celebration in 40 Stories (plus One for Good Luck), Viz Media (San Francisco, CA), 2014.

Jennifer L. Holm, Sunny Side Up, Scholastic Press (New York, NY), 2015.

Jennifer L. Holm, My First Comics I'm Grumpy!, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2016.

Jennifer L. Holm, My First Comics I'm Sunny!, Random House Children's Books (New York, NY), 2016.

Work represented in anthologies, including I Fooled You: Ten Stories of Tricks, Jokes, and Switcheroos, Candlewick Press; (and editor) Funny Pages: Recess!, Random House Children's Books; and Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever, edited by Betsy Bird, Viking (New York, NY), 2017. Contributor to periodicals, including Country Living.

Sidelights

Drawing on his experience as a writer as well as his work in cartooning, Matthew Holm joined sister and author Jennifer L. Holm to create Babymouse, an engaging character that stars in a series of pint-sized graphic novels. With the success of these books, which introduce children to the graphic-novel format, the Holms have expanded their creative collaboration, despite the fact that Matthew lived for many years in upstate New York while Jennifer resided in Maryland. In addition to appealing to young boys with their “Squish” graphic readers, the Holms have also created several “My First Comics” books as well as producing Sunny Side Up, a graphic novel for middle graders that describes the way comic books can help a preteen make sense of her family and her world.

Geared for girls from ages six to eleven, the Holms' “Babymouse” books include Babymouse: Our Hero, Extreme Babymouse, and Babymouse: Lights, Camera Middle School! The curly tailed rodent is first introduced in Babymouse: Queen of the World!, and in School Library Journal Scott La Counte described her as “spunky, ambitious, and, at times, a total dweeb,” although nonetheless “endearing.” As brought to life in Matthew's black-and-white line art with its bright pink highlights, Babymouse lives in a small-scale world that resembles that of the average American child, although the threat from prowling cats is ever present.

With their “Babymouse” series, the Holms created an imaginative young heroine that has won the love of legions of preteen fans. “When we were growing up, our grandmother's dog was called Babymouse,” Holm told Benedicte Page in the Bookseller. “Jenny thought it would be a cute name for a character, and naturally enough, it would be an actual mouse, not a dog. Babymouse is a fairly typical kid, a little bit… bookish.”


A young rodent dreams of fame in Babymouse: Rock Star, part of the series of graphic novels by illustrator Matthew Holm and his sister, Jennifer L. Holm.

A young rodent dreams of fame in Babymouse: Rock Star, part of the series of graphic novels by illustrator Matthew Holm and his sister, Jennifer L. Holm.
(Source: Random House Children's Books)

In Babymouse: Queen of the World! the youngster works to wrangle an invitation to another girl's slumber party. Babymouse: Beach Babe finds Babymouse joining her family on a summer vacation at the ocean, where she plans to become a star surfer, although her frustration over pesky little brother Squeak prompts the younger sibling to run away from home. Babymouse: Heartbreaker follows the approach of Valentine's Day and Babymouse's desperate efforts to secure a date for the school dance. Her saga takes on more speed in Babymouse Burns Rubber, which involves the young Page 88  |  Top of Articlemouse in a local soapbox derby and the fruition of what Hazel Rochman described in Booklist as “Babymouse's big fantasies.” Science-fair ambitions lead to the discovery of a friendly amoeba called Squish in Baby-mouse: Mad Scientist, while in Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon Babymouse's unintended destruction of several library books prompts a bake sale that falls flat.


Babymouse tries her hand at film directing in the illustrated chapter book Lights, Camera, Middle School!, featuring cover art by Matthew Holm.

Babymouse tries her hand at film directing in the illustrated chapter book Lights, Camera, Middle School!, featuring cover art by Matthew Holm.
(Source: Random House Children's Books)

In School Library Journal Ronnie Gordon noted the appeal of Babymouse: Beach Babe to “young graphic novel fans” as well as “reluctant readers,” and Jesse Karp wrote in Booklist that the book's storyline is “as frolicsome and breathlessly paced” as previous installments in the series. “New readers will appreciate the familiar situations, humorous asides, and easy-to-digest plots” in the “Babymouse” books, predicted Horn Book critic Robin Smith in her review of Our Hero. Citing the divergence between the mouse's pink-hued flights of fancy and the real-life situations Babymouse attempts to navigate, a Horn Book writer observed that the Holms' “text and illustrations successfully differentiate between reality and daydreams, and there's a good amount of humor injected into both.” Appraising Holm's artwork in Babymouse Burns Rubber, Rochman noted in Booklist that his “pink-accented … drawings are full of action, humor, and feeling.”

Babymouse faces off against her nemesis, popular kitty Felicia Furrypaws, in several volumes, including Baby-mouse: Queen of the World!, Babymouse: Our Hero, Babymouse: The Musical, Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon, Babymouse for President, and Babymouse: Monster Mash. Often, the only recourse Babymouse has is to retreat into her daydreams, where she inevitably triumphs over Felicia's meanness. In the first volume Babymouse daydreams that Wilson the Weasel has transformed her into Babymouserella and has sent her to the ball; but Felicia undoes the magic, explained a Publishers Weekly reviewer, with the comment “In ‘Cinderella,’ the mouse pulls the carriage. Duh!” In Baby-mouse: Our Hero, Babymouse intercepts a dodge ball to the face, launched, of course, by Felicia. In Baby-mouse: The Musical, the heroine has to play second fiddle to Felicia in the school musical—in part because Babymouse is not an accomplished actress. In the daydream sequence of Babymouse: Rock Star, Felicia is cast as the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz. She meets a fitting end after Babymouse's tornado-borne locker lands on her. Still, Babymouse is almost inevitably the underdog in her school. She is even beaten by her own locker in preliminary polling. In the last volume, however, Babymouse has to decide whether or not to find a pretty costume to wear when she is invited to go trick-or-treating with Felicia's gang. Babymouse finds that she does not have the heart for Felicia's pranks or her egotism, and she skips off to join faithful friend Wilson. “After so many run-ins with Felicia,” concluded Robin L. Smith in a review for Horn Book, “it's a relief when Babymouse finds her backbone.”

Little Babymouse and the Christmas Cupcakes is a bit of a departure from the series' typical formula. In this volume, Babymouse is presented as a youngster at home, waiting for Santa's arrival on Christmas Eve. In the tedium of waiting, however, she has inadvertently eaten Santa's cookies. This does not stop our resourceful protagonist; with help from her mother, she makes special cupcakes to welcome Santa. “But can they survive an encounter with a cranky baby brother turned dragon?” asked a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Holm's illustrations, stated Kitty Flynn in Horn Book, “expand on the text's humor and give little Babymouse and her antics … room to grow.” “A hilarious story, engagingly illustrated with colorful cartoon-like drawings,” concluded a Children's Bookwatch contributor, “caps an unexpected story that offers a different take on Christmas and Santa's cookie habit.”

Describing the work regimen the Holms follow in producing their “Babymouse” tales, Matthew explained to Teacher Librarian interviewer Teri S. Lesesne that “Jenni writes the manuscript and will ask me if I can think of or remember any funny anecdotes that might fit—that is, from family vacations for Babymouse: Beach Babe or camping disasters for Camp Babymouse. Then we go back and forth with edits and pass it on to our editors for more comments. Once the manuscript is in shape, I start making thumbnail sketches in pencil. I scan and e-mail these to Jenni, who then cuts them out and pastes them down into a rough layout, which she mails back to me. Then I do good sketches with magic markers; she comments and I make changes; and we again get our editors' approval. Then I do finals in the computer, using Photoshop and a Wacom drawing tablet. It requires a lot of back and forth, and we are both free to make changes at any point.”

In a spin-off from the “Babymouse” stories, the Holms introduced another graphic-novel series in Squish: Super Page 89  |  Top of ArticleAmoeba. Squish, who first appeared in Babymouse: Mad Scientist, is an amoeba that lives with friends Peggy and Pod in a very small world. In the series opener, the legless hero faces his fears on the first day of school by imagining himself to be a superhero. As Super Amoeba, Squish is able to quickly assess his surroundings, including friends like Peggy the paramecium and Fluffy the slime mold, enemies like the rancorous leeches, and authority figures like school principal Planaria. In typical superhero fashion, Squish sets to work ferreting out the threats lurking in the dark corners of the school hallways. “Panel layouts are simple and clear, ensuring first-time graphic-novel readers a smooth ride,” noted Travis Jonker in School Library Journal. With Matthew Holm's green-tinged and “thicklined cartoon panels” and Jennifer's “snarky side comments,” Squish: Super Amoeba “zips along to climactic ugly … surprise” for its villain, according to a Kirkus Reviews writer.

Squish: Brave New Pond finds Squish attempting to move up the social ladder by winning a seat at the lunch table of popular protozoa, while in Squish: The Power of the Parasite the one-celled youngster is at summer camp, where swimming becomes his number-one superhero challenge. The “Squish” books “strike a breezy, goofy tone right out of the gate,” noted a Publishers Weekly critic, and Kat Kan predicted in Booklist that the boy-friendly series will also appeal to “Babymouse” fans.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August, 2003, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of Pizza Counting, p. 1984; December 1, 2005, Jesse Karp, review of Babymouse: Our Hero, p. 48; March 15, 2006, Jesse Karp, review of Babymouse: Beach Babe, p. 56; March 15, 2006, Stephanie Zvirin, “Top 10 Graphic Novels for Youth,” p. 60; August, 2007, Kat Kan, review of Camp Babymouse, p. 74; September 1, 2007, Tina Coleman, review of Babymouse: Skater Girl, p. 120; July 1, 2008, Gillian Engberg, “Core Collection: Summer Camp Stories,” p. 58; March 1, 2009, Isabel Schon, “Spanish Books for Youth,” p. 54, and Kat Kan, review of Babymouse: The Musical, p. 60; September 1, 2009, Kat Kan, review of Babymouse: Dragonslayer, p. 90; January 1, 2010, Hazel Rochman, review of Babymouse Burns Rubber, p. 72; October 15, 2010, Kat Kan, review of Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon, p. 40; March 15, 2011, Kat Kan, review of Squish: Super Amoeba, p. 42; September 15, 2011, Kat Kan, review of Babymouse: Mad Scientist, p. 54; May 15, 2014, Snow Wildsmith, review of Comics Squad: Recess!, p. 46; August 1, 2015, Annie Bostrom, review of Sunny Side Up, p. 49; July 1, 2016, John Peters, review of Marvin and the Moths, p. 70; June, 2017, John Peters, review of Babymouse: Lights, Camera, Middle School!, p. 103; July 1, 2017, Sarah Hunter, review of Swing It, Sunny, p. 47.

Bookseller, November 18, 2005, Benedicte Page, “The Mouse with Pink Daydreams,” p. 32.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 2005, review of Babymouse: Queen of the World!, p. 186; July-August, 2006, April Spisak, review of Baby-mouse: Beach Babe, p. 50.

Children's Bookwatch, December, 2016, “Random House/Crown.”

Horn Book, January-February, 2006, Robin Smith, reviews of Babymouse: Our Hero and Babymouse: Queen of the World!, p. 80; September-October, 2006, Robin Smith, review of Babymouse: Rock Star, p. 585; January-February, 2007, Kitty Flynn, review of Baby-mouse: Heartbreaker, p. 67; November-December, 2007, Kitty Flynn, review of Babymouse: Skater Girl, p. 680; January-February, 2008, Tanya D. Auger, review of Babymouse: Puppy Love, p. 87; September-October, 2008, Robin L. Smith, review of Babymouse: Monster Mash, p. 587; September-October, 2009, Kitty Flynn, review of Babymouse: Dragonslayer, p. 563; November-December, 2011, Kitty Flynn, review of A Very Babymouse Christmas, p. 69; May-June, 2013, Katrina Hedeen, “Graphic Novels for Children,” p. 111; September-October, 2015, Patrick Gall, review of Sunny Side Up, p. 106; July-August, 2016, Dean Schneider, review of Marvin and the Moths, p. 135; November-December, 2016, Kitty Flynn, review of Little Babymouse and the Christmas Cupcakes, p. 45; May-June, 2017, Elissa Gershowitz, review of Funny Girl: Funniest. Stories. Ever, p. 86.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2003, review of Pizza Counting, p. 858; November 15, 2005, “Babymouse,” p. 1233; April, 2006, review of Babymouse: Beach Babe, p. 408; April 1, 2011, review of Squish: Super Amoeba; July 1, 2015, review of Sunny Side Up.

New York Times Book Review, May 15, 2011, Dan Kois, reviews of Squish: Super Amoeba and Babymouse: Mad Scientist, both p. 21.

Publishers Weekly, December 12, 2005, review of Baby-mouse: Queen of the World! and Babymouse: Our Hero, p. 66; May 15, 2006, “And Then What Happened?,” p. 74; September-October, 2006, Robin Smith, review of Babymouse: Rock Star, p. 585; November 27, 2006, “And Then What Happened?,” p. 53; April 4, 2011, review of Squish: Super Amoeba, p. 55; April 28, 2014, review of Comics Squad: Recess!, p. 139; June 1, 2015, review of Sunny Side Up, p. 62; November 9, 2015, “Readers on the Rise,” p. 60; July 11, 2016, review of Marvin and the Moths, p. 68; September 26, 2016, review of Little Babymouse and the Christmas Cupcakes, p. 86; June 29, 2017, Sally Lodge, “Q & A with Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm.”

Resource Links, February, 2014, Suzanne Dagenais, “Mini-Souris à la plage,” p. 49; December, 2014, Suzanne Dagenais, “Mini-Souris campeuse étoile,” p. 52; December, 2015, Ann Ketcheson, “Mini-Souris: Un amour de chiot,” p. 42; October, 2016, Ann Ketcheson, “Coup de soleil,” p. 48.

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School Library Journal, March, 2006, Sadie Mattox, review of Babymouse: Our Hero, p. 251; September, 2006, Scott La Counte, review of Babymouse: Rock Star, p. 238; October, 2006, Ronnie Gordon, review of Babymouse: Beach Babe!, p. 128; July, 2011, Travis Jonker, review of Squish: Super Amoeba, p. 121; October, 2011, Eva Mitnick, review of A Very Babymouse Christmas, p. 94; July, 2014, Matthew C. Winner, review of Funny Pages: Recess!, p. 60.

Teacher Librarian, December, 2006, Teri S. Lesesne, interview with the Holms, p. 59.

ONLINE

Cynsations, http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/ (October 10, 2006), Cynthia Leitich Smith, interview with Holm.

Literacy Worldwide, https://www.literacyworldwide.org/ (August 16, 2013), “5 Questions with … Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm.”

Matthew Holm Website, http://www.matthewholm.net (October 3, 2017).

Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau, https://www.prhspeakers.com/ (October 3, 2017), author profile.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Online, http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/ (January 20, 2006), “A Moment with … Authors Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm.”

Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition) 
"Holm, Matthew 1974–." Something About the Author, edited by Jennifer Stock, vol. 322, Gale, 2018, pp. 86-90. Gale Virtual Reference Library, https%3A%2F%2Flink.gale.com%2Fapps%2Fdoc%2FCX3670900040%2FGVRL%3Fu%3Dgale%26sid%3DGVRL%26xid%3D815d8be6. Accessed 22 Aug. 2019.

Gale Document Number: GALE|CX3670900040

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