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Original Essays | February 6, 2014 0 comments
One afternoon in the mid-1990s, I found myself in Dauphine Street Books in New Orleans, staring hungrily into a vitrine containing costly literary... Continue »
Laurel SnyderDescribe your latest project.
Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains began very casually as a bedtime story — Once upon a time — but then I couldn't stop. It's about a snarky milkmaid named Lucy and her best friend Wynston, who happens to be a prince, though that isn't his fault. When Wynston's father forces him to begin the process of "Queening" and Lucy is deemed an "unsuitable" mate (because she's a commoner), she runs off to search for her mother, who's been missing most of her life. The supporting cast includes a sniffly prairie dog and a defiant cow. There are also lots of silly little songs, and some amazing illustrations by Greg Call. But when people ask me what the book is "really about," I tell them it's about good government, and how to bend rules.
James Thurber's The 13 Clocks. It's pretty much my favorite book of all time, and I'm always shocked at how many people haven't read it. A lot of authors describe themselves as "quirky," and that's fine, but Thurber was a master of quirk. A true inventor. I spent a lot of years threatening to slit my brother from his "guggle" to his "zatch."
Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
I don't know if difficult is the word I would have chosen, but I do think that a child's mind is more open, more expansive and willing to follow. My background is in poetry, and I was never able to write fiction until I began to write for kids, because I felt restricted by silly things like reality. But writing Scratchy Mountains felt unfettered. I wanted Lucy to knit the roof of a forest, and so she pulled out her knitting needles. I wanted the river to flow up the mountain, and it defied gravity.
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?
Tell us about your pets.
If you could pick anyone to illustrate one of your books, who would it be and why?
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You have not read Laurel Snyder's first book, The Very Naughty Unicorn, because it was hand-written and ripped to shreds by a boy named Henry when Laurel was only eight. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she and her family live in Atlanta, Georgia, in a little brick house with a pale green door. Visit her online at www.laurelsnyder.com.