It All Began at 30,000 Feet
For many years, entertaining our children and grandchildren, Arlene (when she wasn’t busy writing What to Expect When You’re Expecting), made a family tradition of reading poems aloud in ways other than those their poets intended.
But Arlene dealt the bards and their works no permanent damage. Artfully pausing to let them fill in the rhyme blanks, she simply made our kids and grandkids co-poets who, when at first they didn’t succeed, tried again. Language skills and vocabularies improved, and they became wonderfully adroit little rhymers and word-players.
Observing Arlene inspired The Guess Who Zoo. And so, on a ten-city book tour, while Arlene visited TV anchor folks, I visited zoos, gathering picture postcards of, and arcane information about, their animal residents. Then, on long intra-city plane trips, I amused myself writing little animal autobiographies in verse, always leaving the last word of the last line blank, and mailing them to our grandchildren in Boston and Santa Fe.
My goal: to amuse, entertain and educate them while hinting that they had grandparents who loved them. I hope The Guess Who Zoo, and its sequels, Guess Who Farm and Guess Who Neighborhood, help you make that same case to your kids.