Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon! by Patty Lovell and David Catrow

I wish I could send a text message to my 21-year-old self. (I don't think I signed up for a texting plan until I was 22, though. Details, details!) The text message would look something like this: 



Can you imagine if that really happened? It would have been creepy and pretty awesome. 


I am on cloud nine right now! Patty Lovell agreed to an interview about Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon! Wow! Thank you, Patty! 


Mr. Schu: Whenever someone asks me to name a picture book that belongs in every elementary school classroom and library, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon is the first title that comes to mind.  How did you come up with fun-loving and endearing Molly Lou Melon? 


Patty Lovell: It’s an unusual story. I was taking an adult ed. course at New York University called “Writing for Children’s Literature” when I was working in the NY Public Schools. Every week, we had to write something and then, as a class we’d listen to each other’s work and critique the pieces. Well, one day, I was rushing down from Harlem to NYU for the class and I hadn’t written anything that week. Ten minutes before class, I raced into the library and sat at a cubicle. Molly Lou (at first called Monica) just came pouring out of my head. I wrote the whole thing in ten minutes, ran to class and read it. After I had finished, everyone was a little quiet and then the teacher said that it was the best thing I’d written and everyone else said I should send it to a publisher! Her character just came out of my head…don’t know how!



Mr. Schu: Is Molly Lou’s grandmother based on a real person? 

Patty Lovell:  It’s funny, but I was closer to my grandfather. I guess the grandma in the book is more related to my mom.




Mr. Schu: I think David Catrow’s colorful and imaginative illustrations brilliantly bring Molly Lou Melon’s world to life. How do you feel about David’s illustrations? 

Patty Lovell:  I love them! I love his colors, his funny side characters and his depiction of Molly Lou. Interestingly enough, he made Molly Lou live in an old Victorian house that is remarkably similar to the house that I grew up in on Long Island. When I first saw the double page spread with Molly Lou’s huge toothy grin, I must admit, I was a little shocked! However, that has always been the favorite page of all the children I’ve read the book to and now I look forward to that page with every reading.



Mr. Schu: I’ve been waiting (somewhat impatiently) for a decade to read more about Molly Lou Melon. How did the second book come about? (THANK YOU, by the way!!!!)


Patty Lovell:  Haha! I think I was so surprised by my book getting published and by the success that it had, that I was a bit nervous to write a sequel. Also, I found it difficult to write in the same style or pattern as the first book. I had always wanted to write about the homemade fun I had had as a child and somehow coming up with a title first, helped push me into writing again.

Mr. Schu: Thank you for showing the importance of having an active imagination.  How do you exercise your imagination?  

Patty Lovell: Being a first grade teacher, I am always using my imagination, thinking up fun lessons or new takes on things to share with the children in my class. I am blessed to come from two highly imaginative parents who valued creative pursuits. 




Mr. Schu: I read that you teach first grade in New York. What books are your first graders devouring? 

Patty Lovell: We read tons of books! At this point, we are enjoying books by Leo Lionni, James Marshall, and Mo Willems. Soon, we will be reading and using the books of Kevin Henkes, to help in our writing workshop.




Please complete these sentences: 


Reading is essential! (and great fun)


Picture books are my favorite.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about my dedication. It’s a cute story. When I was 12 years old and had no Christmas present to give to my older brother, Chris, I gave him a little scrap of paper. On the paper, I had written, “I will dedicate my first book to you.” He wasn’t too thrilled, I can tell you! But all these years later, I remembered and I think he even kept that slip of paper! A truly self-fulfilling prophecy. 




I am giving away two copies of Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon. 

Rules for the Giveaway

1. It will run from 10/16 to 11:59 P.M. on 10/21. 

2. You must be at least 13 to enter. 

3. Please pay it forward. 





Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon will be released on October 25, 2012. Please borrow a copy from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support an independent bookshop. 

3 comments:

  1. Fantastic interview, Mr. Schu.

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  2. Great interview! I cant wait to read that book to my first graders! I love that she mentioned Kevin Henkes. He was just our 'Author of the Month' in my classroom.

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