I’ve admired Patricia Polacco’s children’s books for years. So I was delighted to find this comment by Polacco about Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg, a book she loved as a child:
“The improbable animals with their mirthful, expressive faces enchanted me. And dear faithful, reliable, dependable Horton the elephant. He climbed onto that skinny, little limb that could hardly support his bulk without a second thought as to whether or not it could hold him. Then he carefully sat on something so fragile – a tiny bird’s egg – never considering that he might break it! This helped me realize what faith in oneself is all about! The heart of the story is about making a promise and keeping it … no matter what may come. He stayed on that little nest through the most horrific happenings. He never gave up!”
Patricia Polacco in The Art of Reading: Forty Illustrators Celebrate RIF’s 40th Anniversary (Dutton, $19.99). Foreword by Leonard Marcus. In this book 40 well-known picture-book artists celebrate the 40th anniversary of the literacy program Reading Is Fundamental by creating new illustrations for books they loved as children or teenagers. The illustrators also speak, as Polacco does here, about what made the books so appealing. Contributors include Pat Cummings, Yumi Heo, Susan Jeffers, William Joyce, Jerry Pinkney and David Wiesner.
Comment by Janice Harayda:
Polacco has found the inspiration for many of her books in her Russian and Irish background. She also has also written memorably about cross-cultural friendships, the subject of her picture books Chicken Sunday and Mrs. Katz and Tush.
© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.