Monday, October 21, 2013

Loved to Pieces. . . with Zoë B. Alley

Today, we are thrilled to welcome our good friend and fellow Rhode-Islander Zoe B. Alley to the Cottage! Zoë is the author of two fabulous collections of fractured fairytales: There's A Princess in the Palace and There's A Wolf at the Door which she collaborated on with her husband and frequent guest in the Cottage, award-winning illustrator R.W. Alley. 

Zoë was kind enough to share her first favorite book with us (well, her first four favorite books to be precise). 
What a daunting project – selecting my most cherished childhood book!  (You guys don’t mess around, do you?!!!)  Well, obviously, I will now become the “margin writer” that seems to be genetic in my family – we never could just “answer the question” and, as a result, did poorly on standardized tests!  As I hope you are not grading my reply, I will attempt to provide you with an answer…well, maybe with four! 

As a descendant in a long line of readers – both as the reader and the “readee” – I have an initial innate difficulty with separating the book from the experience of being read to; mostly by my mother.  She was a fabulous reader, and I have many lovely memories of her reading these books to me.  

While the books “My Sister and I” (by Helen E. Buckley, illus. By Paul Galdone), “I Can Fly” (by Ruth Krauss, illus . by Mary Blair), and “The Sky Was Blue” (by Charlotte Zolotow, illus. By Garth Williams) all hold a deep and very dear spot on my short (now long!) list of favorites, the all time winner has to go to…are we all ready?

"My Hopping Bunny” written and illustrated by Robert Bright. It was, and remains, a book of immensely cozy proportions for me, with an oft-quoted final message about a little bunny who exceeded his comfort level, as well as his geographic boundaries. We now quote Mr. Bright’s immortal line, “But he knew – Oh he knew!  He had hopped too high.” (Please read with my mother’s inflection on the “Oh he knew!” part!!!)  Hmmm…was she giving me a message here?  Psychologists, start your engines!!! 


Having grown-up in a family of “literary grammarians,” I have always been interested in words, recited and written. From an early age in Natick, Massachusetts, I participated in both theatre and music-related events, finishing up a whirlwind career in my early teens as a perpetual chorus member! I have, however, learned to deal with this fateful blow. I rallied, and am at long last thrilled to call myself an “Author” and see my words in print with the publication of “There’s a Wolf at the Door” and “There’s a Princess in the Palace”! I enjoy writing for being, among other things, a career that allows me to sit on the couch – my office! -- in my pajamas and play with a pen and paper!

As the very proud wife of illustrator R. W. Alley, and the mother of two wonderful children – Cassandra and Max – I remain thrilled! School-wise, I received my B.A. from the University of New Hampshire, and my Ed.M. from Boston University. We live in Barrington, Rhode Island, and used to have a pretty fish named Yoshi, who liked to watch tv but, well, you know fish! 

Five “riotous” retellings of well-known nursery tales (such as The Three Little Pigs), all starring the very same dastardly wolf, who is just trying to get a meal! They are presented with “vim and verve” in comic panels and puns by the spousal duo of Alley and Alley.

Kirkus Reviews
The Horn Book

A Washington Post Best Children's Book of the Year

A School Library Journal Online Best Graphic Novel

Shortlisted as a Finalist for the online Cybil Awards

"Like their 2008 collection There’s a Wolf at the Door, with which this volume shares its oversize format, the Alleys’ panel-art versions of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Frog Prince, and The Princess and the Pea are part retelling, part parody. Knit together with some creative genealogy, the stories downplay beauty and romance and concentrate on feisty dialogue... This will enter the rotation of bedtime favorites."
--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"The team who dreamed up the hilarious There’s a Wolf at the Door is back with princess fairy tales that are as fluid as they are fractured. This colorful, oversize graphic novel is packed with puns, witticisms, and sarcastic asides... Marvelous for anyone with a wry sense of humor... deserves a place in every library."
--School Library Journal, Starred Review

"The Alley duo spread the joy... into another oversized and overstuffed (with giggles, that is) volume. Within a graphic-novel format, the tales... develop familial and hilarious interconnections while retaining the stories’ traditional structures... Smartly hysterical."
--Kirkus, Starred Review

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