What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week
(Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Marilyn Singer, Alexandra Boiger, and Lee Wildish)

h1 March 18th, 2011 by jules

Dear readers, my Kirkus column for this week is up over at their site this morning. This time, I briefly cover Picture Books In Which the Parent Expresses Undying Love and Adoration to the Child, what I call, for lack of a better phrase, the love-you-forever-type books. (See how I tried to make it sound like a whole genre of picture books by Doing This? I’m a tremendous goober.) Specifically, I address the new Candlewick title from Ann Stott and illustrated by Matt Phelan. Go have a look, if you’re so inclined. I’d love any and all interested folks to weigh in on your favorite love-you-forever-type picture books for children. Which ones make you feel slightly (or wholly) nauseous? Which ones do you think get it right?

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And, if you missed last week’s column, it’s here. That’s my short Q&A with Marilyn Singer . . .

. . . in which she discusses her creative inspirations, her upcoming companion piece to Mirror Mirror, and her latest picture book, illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. Here are some spreads below, and you can head over to the column to see the cover and read more…


“So the next day, Tallulah went to her very first ballet class. The kids wore leotards and pink tights. All except one. He had on black pants. A boy in ballet? Well, HE won’t get a tutu. Tallulah giggled. ‘Are you with us, Tallulah?’ asked her teacher.”
(Click to enlarge spread.)


“When she finished, the shoppers applauded. Except for one girl. She was wearing a lavender tutu. ‘I want to dance like that,’ she said. ‘I’ve already got the tutu.’ ‘Maybe you need a lesson or two. Or twenty-two,’ Tallulah said…”
(Click to enlarge spread.)

Here’s an additional question I asked Marilyn, which—simply for space purposes—didn’t make it in the column.

Jules: How does your experience as a former teacher, as well as your experiences visiting schools today, inform your writing?

Marilyn: I don’t really do school visits these days (though I am hoping to do some Skype visits), but I do occasionally talk to kids in libraries and to teachers and librarians at universities and conferences. One reason I became a high school English teacher was that I loved literature so much that I wanted to impart that love, that enthusiasm to other people. I’d say that I still carry that enthusiasm in my writing, and I do like to teach stuff without being pedantic, so I use those skills in my nonfiction, my poetry, and in other work.

Also, I live across the street from a school, and many of those students have heard me speak about my own work at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. I’ve used their comments in talks and their personalities in books. Some years ago I wrote a book entitled All We Needed to Say: Poems about School from Tanya and Sophie (Atheneum) and, more recently, First Food Fight This Fall and Other School Poems (Sterling), which were definitely inspired by kids I’ve met and behavior I’ve seen.

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Many thanks to Marilyn for chatting with me. Here are two pages from Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom, another of Marilyn’s recent titles, with illustrations from Lee Wildish (Knopf, December 2010).



And can we once again take a moment to appreciate last year’s exquisite Mirror Mirror? You can click on this spread to super-size it and see the poem, too.

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Photo credit (Ms. Singer): Sonya Sones.

TALLULAH’S TUTU. Copyright © 2011 by Marilyn Singer. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Alexandra Boiger. Published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, Mass. All rights reserved.

TWOSOMES: LOVE POEMS FROM THE ANIMAL KINGDOM. Copyright © 2010 by Marilyn Singer. Illustrations copyright © 2010 by Lee Wildish. Published by Knopf, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

MIRROR MIRROR by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josée Masse © 2010. Used with permission of Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group.





3 comments to “What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week
(Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring
Marilyn Singer, Alexandra Boiger, and Lee Wildish)”

  1. I heart Marilyn. She’s equally as great as a writer as she is a person!


  2. Jules,

    Can’t wait for Marilyn’s companion piece to “Mirror Mirror”–which I loved! I recently picked up a copy of “Twosomes.” It’s a fun book of light-hearted couplets.


  3. [...] you missed last week’s column, I wrote about Marilyn Singer’s latest poetry collection, A Stick Is an Excellent Thing, to be released by Clarion at the end of [...]


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