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Q&A | February 20, 2014 0 comments
Describe your latest book. My new book, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, is a magical historical mystery that takes place in 1911 New York City... Continue »
Alan KatzDescribe your latest project.
I have two new books:
Oops!, my first all-poetry book, is wonderfully illustrated by the amazing Ed Koren. It's a romp through the hilarious world of being a kid. I have four children, and many of the poems are based on their wild antics; topics such as leaving fingerprints, fighting with siblings, waiting for the school bus, and more fill the pages. A lot of the poems include inventive wordplay that has been very popular in my recent school visits.
I wrote the book to get kids to laugh but also to inspire them to read and write poetry. By the way, there's a twenty-plus-page bonus section in the back that details my adventures as a writer, predominantly my creative life as a kid. I was proud to share that "you can do it too!" section, and am wildly proud of the whole book.
On Top of the Potty and Other Get-Up-And-Go Songs continues in the Alan Katz/David Catrow tradition of Silly Dilly song parodies, started with the award-winning Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs. Since then, we've done follow-ups including I'm Still Here in the Bathtub, Are You Quite Polite?, and Where Did They Hide My Presents?.
On Top of the Potty features fourteen songs that humorously encourage toddlers to develop good bathroom habits, from potty training to hand washing and more.
My favorite family story occurred about five years ago, when my twin boys were two. We went to an all-you-can-eat buffet, and for some reason they sat us at a table near the window. As you can imagine, the twins (and their older siblings) made a lot of noise and a lot of mess.
At dessert time, two-year-old Nathan was having trouble keeping his Jell-O on his spoon. It kept wobbling off. So, I showed him a trick I took a straw and gently sipped the Jell-O up until there was no more in that spot. Then I moved to the next spot in the Jell-O and sipped up again. Easy. Smart. Neat.
Nathan did it beautifully, systematically eroding the Jell-O. Then his twin brother, David, said, "Me try!" He grabbed a straw, sipped it full of Jell-O, and then splurted it out with a big blow all over the window and the neon sign of the restaurant.
Being a fantastic dad, I slid off my chair with laughter. Couldn't stop laughing. And then I paid the check and we never went back there.
Describe your most memorable teacher.
By the way, in Oops! there is a reprint of my actual third-grade report card on which the teacher wrote, "Alan must find a way to express himself creatively via the written word." THAT ALONE allows me to show kids that if I learned to write, they can too. Needless to say, I haven't stayed in touch with that teacher.
What was your favorite story as a child?
By the way, my seven-year-old son Nathan has caught the reading bug and has earned over 1,000 "steps" (each step being fifteen minutes of reading) during his second-grade year. The school had a medal for reaching 100, 250, and 500 steps... but there is no such thing as a 1,000-step medal. He's a great kid, and he's an incredible reader! (As is his twin brother, David.)
What do you do for relaxation?
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Why do you write books for kids?
Make a question of your own, then answer it.
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Alan Katz is a multiple-Emmy-nominee for his work on The Rosie O'Donnell Show and Disney's Raw Toonage. He lives with his journalist wife, Rose, and their children, Simone, Andrew, and twins Nathan and David, in Weston, Connecticut.