Lester's lighthearted look at how she came to write children's books will give aspiring authors of any age a lift and encouragement to persevere. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)
- Publisher's Weekly
Lester's Tacky the Penguin lighthearted look at how she came to write children's books will give aspiring authors of any age a lift-and encouragement to persevere, even in the face of learning disabilities as a child and multiple rejection slips as a novice writer. Candid and a little self-effacing, Lester tells of her struggles with the creative process, noting that both as an elementary school student and as a published author, "Often I can't come up with a single idea, and my stories get stuck in the middle, and I can't think of a title." She accompanies her breezy narrative with her own cheerful, somewhat rudimentary cartoons pictures, save on one spread where she drolly juxtaposes her childlike drawing of a pig next to a highly polished rendering by her frequent collaborator, Lynn Munsinger. Some of the best moments here are transitional: a picture shows the young Lester dreaming of joining the circus when she grows up; the next page continues, "Since no one from the circus came looking for me, I became a teacher." Her ending playfully concludes, "I'm glad I didn't join the circus.... I never dreamed I'd become an author. So this is better than a dream come true." Her admirers will agree. All ages. Mar.
- Uma Krishnaswami
Remember Tacky the Penguin? If you don't, in this reviewer's opinion, your education is incomplete. Lester is that singular bird's creator. In this funny little book she reflects with flair on that which every writer contemplates at some point-the messy, funny, topsy-turvy experience that is the writing life. She even takes a little dig at herself-ideas, first book signing, and the drawings in this book. Lester from three years through adulthood is an engaging character here. Idea files are now forever dubbed Fizzle-boxes. If this doesn't make the reader rush out to get every single book the Lester-Munsinger duo have turned out, I don't know what will.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4Lester breezily reveals some truths about herself, her achievements, and nonachievements. Readers find out that even as a youngster, the author loved to write. She had to learn not to write backwards, she suffered frustrations, and spent a lot of time dreaming. She became a teacher, never became an artist, started writing children's books, suffered frustrations, and ultimately achieved her goal. In the course of telling her life story, Lester tells youngsters how she writes, why she writes, and what it's like to be an author. The narrative is highlighted throughout with exuberant childlike drawings, which indicate that although she never became an artist, Lester is certainly a competent illustrator. The book will interest her many fans and should encourage and inspire young writers. This unique picture-book autobiography is less detailed than titles in the "Meet the Author" series (Richard C. Owen). It's a delightful, jolly romp that should find a wide and appreciative audience.Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4--A picture-book autobiography that looks at the genesis of a writer from childhood to first publication, with all of the setbacks along the way. Jaunty cartoons add just the right tone to this inspirational success story. (May)
A breezy look at the trials and triumphs of authorship from Lester (Princess Penelope's Parrot, 1996). She began her writing career at age three by inundating her patient mother with hundreds of scrawled grocery lists: "And the fun part was that I could turn each list upside down and the words said the same thing." She is disarmingly candid about her frustrations with writing in school, the discouragement of having her first six books rejected, and the labor of turning ideas into finished works. Always apparent is her delight in the process of creation and in meeting her audience: "This is better than a dream come true." Accompanying her words are her own cheery drawings, depicting herself with the same spiky blond hair and argyle tights from childhood on. Easy to read and reassuringly realistic.
From the Publisher
"Lester's lighthearted book at how she came to write children's books will give aspiring authors of any age a lift and encouragement to persevere." Publishers Weekly
Product dimensions: 7.96 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.36 (d)
Meet the Author
Helen Lester is a full-time writer who makes her home in New York. Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger have collaborated on many funny and popular books for children, including the stories starring Tacky the Penguin, Wodney Wat, and the new Laugh-Along Series.