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Kids' Q&A

Yeardley Smith

Describe your latest project.
My book is called I, Lorelei, and to me it's a story about the everlasting friendship between my main character, 11-year old Lorelei Lee Connelly, and her cat, Mud. It's about how that friendship helps her through the ups and downs of sixth-grade life.

The book is Lorelei's diary, which she starts keeping the day after Mud passes away. At first glance this might seem sad, but it's wonderful, actually. Because Lorelei knows that writing to Mud each day will help her get through missing him.

Since it's her diary, and diaries are private, Lorelei gets to say whatever she feels like. She has a very funny, matter-of-fact way of telling it like it is, from the daily disastrous school play rehearsals, to her parents splitting up, to outsmarting the school bully. Basically, Lorelei is who I wish I had been at age 11. She always manages to land on her feet. Just like a cat, for that matter.

  1. I, Lorelei

    I, Lorelei

    Yeardley Smith
    "A gently humorous outing from Smith...with a touch of slapstick to lighten the...poignancy." Kirkus Reviews

    "[T]he family dynamics are on target, and readers will enjoy watching the heroine develop her own strength as her family reshapes itself." Publishers Weekly

What fictional character would you like to be your friend, and why?
Babe, the pig from the movie Babe. Because he can talk. (I like to think he would talk to me, not just other animals.) And he's very brave. Also I'd like Mary Poppins to be my friend because she's magic.

If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, because it has such a wonderful happy ending, and everything rhymes there, and there's snow in Who-ville!

Do you read the Sunday funnies, and which are your favorites?
Get Fuzzy is my favorite Sunday funny. (Weekdays, too.)

What was your favorite story as a child?
I have two: The Counterpane Fairy by Katharine Pyle and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My mother used to read to my older brother and me when we were young, and I would always request those two books.

What do you do for relaxation?
I knit, cook, or read.

What is your idea of bliss?
A sunny day by the ocean. Or a nap with my two cats.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
All my life, I knew I wanted to be a famous actress.

Tell us about your pets.
I have two fabulous, hilarious nine-month-old kitties named Zipper (a grey tabby) and Petunia (white with black patches). They were rescued from the pound by an organization called the Stray Cat Alliance. Zipper got her name because she zips around. She is unbelievably fast! And Petunia got her name because her nose is perfectly pink like a blooming petunia.

Name the best Simpsons episode of all time, and explain why it's the best.
I actually have about 10 favorite episodes — and the list keeps changing — and it would take forever if I described each one.

What's your favorite holiday and why?
I love Thanksgiving because I love that feast and the time of year.

Who are your favorite characters in history?
I admire people who stood for something: Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Sidney Poitier.

If you could be someone else, who would that be, and why?
I'd like to be Malia or Sasha Obama. You'd be making history, plus get all the perks of living in the White House without having to fill the hardest job in the world: President of the United States.

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Yeardley Smith is a novelist, playwright, and actress who has appeared on Broadway, on television, and in films. She is perhaps best known as the Emmy Award-winning voice of Lisa Simpson on Fox's hit television show The Simpsons. When she isn't working, she's knitting. Yeardley lives in Los Angeles. This is her first novel.


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