I’m happy to welcome children’s author Patricia Furstenberg to Novel Kicks. Her new book, Puppy: 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles has been released today. Patricia joins me to chat about which characters she’d like to have around to dinner. Over to you, Patricia.
I love having a festive dinner with my family and friends! Be it Thanksgiving, Christmas or a Birthday, there is always something special about good food, in a relaxed environment, shared with the ones you love.
But what would it be like if I would invite to dinner my favorite book characters? And since Puppy will be celebrating his Grande Release in the book world today, I thought that, to celebrate him, I’ll invite six of my favorite children’s book characters to dinner.
Right next to Puppy I’ll seat Winnie-the-Pooh. I think the “silly, old bear” will be a good table companion since he is friendly and very appreciative of food, especially “hunny!” and, although forgetful, he makes a gentle pack leader. Puppy would like this, as he is used to following and sharing his meals with his “human pup”. And if Pooh happens to forget… his table manners, Puppy won’t mind at all. A.A. Milne has instilled so much love and optimist into his Winnie-the-Pooh stories and, just like Christopher Robin, so many girls and boys around the world grew up to love and rely on this bear “of very little brain”, but with a big heart.
Just to put my mind at ease I think that near Pooh I’ll be seating one of the best and most clever nannies that ever walked the pages of a book, Mary Poppins. Perhaps that P.L. Traver’s book is not that well-known, talented Julie Andrews being the one to rather instill everlasting life into this book character, but this nanny surely made many parents smile and wish they could summon her, at the drop of a hat. Besides, her typical British humor and rigor would keep any dinner plans running smoothly. Because: “just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.”
That’s why near Mary Poppins I’ll be seating Astrid Lindgren’s most beloved, yet strong-minded Pippi Longstocking. I do admire this independent little girl so very much! Her contagious optimism and passion for true values are highly commendable, as are her many talents, from cooking to fixing the house – although using unorthodox methods at times. With her freckled, contagious smile and her unusual, red plaits, Pippi has shared her passion for animals and her idealistic visions on life with so many generations of children from around the world.
I think that Pippi, although outgoing, will be a good companion to quiet but intelligent Matilda Wormwood. I’m sure that the two girls will share the same passion for travel and for stories. Roald Dahl has also given Matilda a playful side and this is what helped her overcome some of the biggest challenges headmistress Miss Trunchbull had set out for her. And just like Pippi, Matilda’s determination and optimism as well as her imagination have helped her save the day.
And just for the fun of it, next to serious Matilda I’ll be seating the unpredictable Cat in the Hat, the beloved character of Dr. Seuss. The first time I read this book I wasn’t sure what to think of this unusual situation in which a stranger (even if disguised as a cat) creates “fun that is funny” for children, yet so different from what our society defines as amusing. Nevertheless, kids love this original character as they do with all of Dr. Seuss’ books. The Cat in the Hat shows a contagious love of life and unmatched imagination.
Last, but not least, next to the Cat in the Hat I would very much like to seat my all-time favorite children’s book character and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s creation, The Little Prince. A book I know I can always pick up and read and that each time a new meaning and another lesson will revealed themselves to me. This Prince, as young and as innocent as a little boy, lives happily on his own little planet until a beautiful flower blooms. The Little Prince is a grave character, taking life very seriously, pointing out issues and asking questions related to his own life the same way a child would interpret an adult’s busy and stressful life. I think that, seated next to the Cat in the Hat, The Little Price would feel like a child again, forgetting about grownup qualms and enjoying human relations again for what they truly are, an oasis set amidst busy lives.
I hope that Puppy will enjoy his Release Day Dinner and he will feel he has met at least one or two like-minded book characters.
What about me? Why do we become so attached to a protagonist or another? Is it because they resemble us or because they are landmarks on the timeline of our lives? Looking back on the days I enjoyed a certain book I can also remember what a care-free life I had, still living in my parents’ home. I can easily remember my favorite reading spot, which president we had and how my life was like… If I pick up another one of my beloved novels I can also remember, quite easily, my high school life and the pet I had back then…
Do we hold onto certain book because bits of our lives are pressed, like bookmarks, between their pages?
What are your childhood memories associated with your favorite books and who would you invite to your Literary Supper?
P.S: Sorry Obelix, I would have loved to invite you too, and you would have loved Puppy (just as much as you love Dogmatix) but I simply cannot afford a couple of wild boars!
My verdict on Puppy: 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles:
This book focuses on a puppy through the first year of his life (through each of the months and seasons.) It’s written from the point of view of the puppy. You see him meet his human pup. You see everything through his eyes. See how he observes his humans. His family.
This book is full of lovely prose and beautiful illustrations. It’s about family and making the most of what you have and the people you love. I wanted to give his puppy such an incredibly big hug. He is so flipping cute! It’s such a heart warming book.
This is such a sweet, well thought out book that will be perfect for children. I think parents and children will enjoy reading this together. There will be so much that children can relate to.
It would make a great Christmas present and a wonderful addition to your child’s book collection.
Patricia Furstenberg came to writing though reading, her passion for books being something she inherited from her parents. She always felt at ease with pen and paper in her hand and she’s been writing stories and poetry ever since she can remember; she even wrote a historical time travel play once.
Patricia became taking writing seriously after becoming one of the Write Your Own Christie winners. She enjoys writing for children because she can take day-to-day, grown-up concepts and present them it in fun and colourful, child-friendly packages while adding sensitivity and lots of love.
Patricia enjoys writing about animals because she believes that each animal, no matter how small, has a story to tell if you only stop to listen. After completing her Medical Degree in Romania she moved to South Africa where she now lives with her husband, children and their dogs.
Her children’s books include: Happy Friends; the Amazon Bestseller Joyful Trouble; Puppy, 12 Months of Rhymes and Smiles (out 31-10-17) as well as The Lion and The Dog, The Elephant and the Sheep, The Cheetah and the Dog (out November 2017).