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Kids' Q&A

Annie Barrows

Describe your new book.
The adventures of Ivy and Bean continue in Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record, in which our girls — along with the entire second grade — catch world-record fever. How many spoons can you hang on your face? Can you really shatter a glass by screaming? How much candy can you eat in a minute? When Bean's attempt to stuff 257 straws in her mouth falls short by 217 straws, she and Ivy decide to turn their attention elsewhere. Specifically, to Bean's backyard, where a little exploratory digging reveals a cache of dinosaur bones. Ta da! Ivy and Bean have broken a record — they're the youngest paleontologists in the world! The only problem is that nobody in the second grade believes them. Together, Ivy and Bean are determined to defy the doubters, defend their record, achieve fame, and — most important of all — have as much fun as possible.

  1. Ivy and Bean Break the Fossil Record (Ivy and Bean #03)
    $14.99 New Hardcover add to wishlist

  2. Ivy and Bean (Ivy and Bean #01)
    $4.00 Used Trade Paper add to wishlist

    Ivy and Bean (Ivy and Bean #01)

    Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

  3. Ivy and Bean and the Ghost That Had to Go (Ivy and Bean #2)
    $4.00 Used Trade Paper add to wishlist

What is your favorite family story?
Right at the moment my favorite family story isn't about my family, and it isn't really even a story. It's just a piece of information: my aunt's first date was with a boy who had seven older sisters. When he was five years old, his sisters had buried him alive with a soda straw to breathe through. My aunt said he was nice boy, but nervous.

Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book by him/her.
I don't know why everybody isn't reading The Quigleys at Large by Simon Mason. It's just the kind of book I'm always looking for — one that will make me laugh until tears spurt from my eyes. But I'm never sure about this recommending business — what if I have a peculiar sense of humor? One time at a movie, I laughed so hard that I fell out of my seat. People looked at me with concern; they thought I was having a fit. Not one other person was laughing or chortling or even smiling very much. Anyway, to return to The Quigleys at Large, it's about Mum, Dad, Lucy, and Will and, you know, cleaning the birdcage, what to wear in a sauna, and wisdom teeth. It's a riot.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.

"But how could it be true, Sir?" said Peter.

"Why do you say that?" asked the Professor.

"Well, for one thing," said Peter, "if it was real why doesn't everyone find this country every time they go to the wardrobe? I mean, there was nothing there when we looked; even Lucy didn't pretend there was."

"What has that to do with it?" said the Professor.

"Well, Sir, if things are real, they're there all the time."

"Are they?" said the Professor; and Peter did not know quite what to say.

—from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
My favorite breakfast cereal is no cereal. When I was a kid, there were three breakfasts at my house: cold cereal, fried egg on toast (bleah, clear goo on top of the egg), and, weirdly, tomato soup. But now I'm an adult and I can have whatever I want for breakfast. Guess what I had this morning? Delicious maple scones with tons of butter, plus strawberries. Also coffee. Yesterday, I had cinnamon rolls. Sometimes I make apple pie and eat that for breakfast. I can have omelettes if I want them, or French toast, or even potatoes and sausages. I get hungry just thinking about it. Down with cereal, down with fried egg on toast, and especially down with tomato soup! Breakfast is one of the best things about being an adult.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an interior decorator. This seems odd, especially if you've seen my house, but it was all due to a wonderful coloring book I had when I was a kid. This coloring book consisted of pictures of rooms in different styles — three different living rooms, five kitchens, you get the drift — and there were three copies of each picture so if a room turned out yucko, you could try again in different colors. I generally liked to fill my rooms with shades of a single color — mauve, purple, lavender, lilac, puce (well, not puce, really, I just like the sound of it).

Tell us about your pets.
My last pet was Ottley the Budgie, dull in life, but in death resplendent under his funerary monument. My daughters and I were all set to mummify him — we were looking forward to it in a big way — until we read the fine print and realized what we'd have to do, not to mention the smell. So we expended our fervor in constructing his tomb, which is about forty times larger than Ottley was, and is unfortunately placed so that anyone who walks through the backyard gate trips over it.

Who are your favorite characters in history?
Sure, I love certain historical personages (Abraham Lincoln, St. Simon Stylites, Mary Anning), but mostly what I want is to zip back in time to see certain scenes. Not to participate in them, but just to see them. I want go back to thirteenth century Suffolk to see the Wild Man of Orford — was he really a mer-creature? There was a play performed in June, 1858, that I would really like to see (plus what happened after the show). I want to go back and find out what the heck Shakespeare was doing between 1585 and 1592, and by the way if Christopher Marlowe was really a spy. There are volcanoes, sinking ships, falling empires, coronations, palm-readings, hauntings, weddings, and magical events that I am devastated to have missed, and I wish I could do something about it. spacer

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