Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Loved to Pieces. . . with Deborah Underwood!

Are you in the holiday spirit? We are! Because Deborah Underwood just told us all about the magical book she loved to pieces as a child.

Speaking of loving to pieces, that's exactly how the Cottagers feel about Deborah's books! (We have several well-worn, well-loved copies on our little crooked bookshelf.) 

Deborah is the author of New York Times bestsellers Here Comes the Easter CatThe Quiet Book; and The Loud Book, as well as the all-new Here Comes Santa Cat and The Christmas Quiet Book.

Welcome, Deborah! Thank you so much for visiting us today. Won't you share with our readers the lovely story you told us over tea?

My pleasure, Cottagers—

When I say I loved Mary Nashs Mrs. Coverlets Magicians to pieces when I was a kid, I mean it literally. Right now I have three copies of the book. One has a missing cover, a shredded first page, and all the earmarks of having been dropped in the bathtub, a fate that befell many of my childhood favorites. The second has fallen apart into several chunks and is missing the last 20 pages. And the third is one I acquired as an adult to make sure I had an intact version!

Why do I love this book so much? Partly, of course, it’s hard not to adore a book you loved as a kid. And the three Persever kids are nice foils for each other. Malcolm, the oldest, has a conscience he must continually do battle with (as a child, I strongly identified with his ever-present anxiety about doing the right thing). Molly is supremely practical and not above being devious when necessary. And the self-centered, resourceful Toad is utterly endearing, particularly when he bursts into fractured Christmas carols like 'Good King Wences' Car Backed Out, on a Piece of Stephen.'

 Apparently I felt the need to document the fact that I was reading this while we were getting our Christmas tree (I was 11). Note that I wrote not just my name, but also "Sandy," which must have been my alias at the time. Also: math!"
But mostly I love Mrs. Coverlets Magicians because of the magic. Because there is indeed magic in the storyreal, actual magic. And at the end of the book, when a worried Malcolm confesses everything to his friend Reverend Forthright, the reverend (who may or may not believe him) offers this advice: Its been a wonderful Christmas, Malcolm. Be easy in your mind. Enjoy it. Enjoy its mysteriousness. An admirable response from a grown-upI would have expected, You kids did WHAT??”—and pretty great advice in general.

Christmas is a magical time. I felt that strongly when I was a kid. And rereading this book reminds me.


Deborah Underwood is the author of many childrens books, including Here Comes Santa Cat; The Christmas Quiet Book; Bad Bye, Good Bye; Pirate Mom; and the New York Times bestsellers Here Comes the Easter Cat; The Quiet Book; and The Loud Book. She cowrote the Sugar Plum Ballerina chapter book series with Whoopi Goldberg, and she has written 27 nonfiction titles. She lives in Northern California with her feline muse, Bella. To learn more about Deborah, her kitty Bella, and her books—visit her website:

Here Comes Santa Cat
by Deborah Underwood
illustrated by Claudia Rueda
(Dial 2014)

"Excellent . . . An ideal holiday pick for the naughty and nice alike."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Great for reading one-on-one or in small groups.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“Another holiday winner.”—Horn Book

The Christmas Quiet Book
by Deborah Underwood
illustrated by Rinata Liwska
(HMH 2014)

"A congenial, understated choice for reading aloud to excited children to help them settle down for a long winter's night."—Kirkus

"This is an ideal title for use during a winter holiday storytime or for one-on-one cuddling at bedtime."
—School Library Journal

"Especially endearing."
—Wall Street Journal

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