Today, Kid Lit Reviews is pleased as a fat whale flopping in the ocean to welcome Spencer. Spencer’s story has been memorialized in Deborah Ridpath Ohi’s first solo picture book, Where Are My Books? (Simon & Schuster).
Spencer has an interesting story that may have happened to you or your child. One-by-one his favorite picture books go missing. But who is taking these books, late into the night? Please welcome Spencer.
Your favorite books are all about animals, mainly water creatures, like Narwhal the whale from Night-Night Narwhal. How did you get so interested in animals?
“When I was younger, my librarian introduced me to Swimmy. Do you know the book?
I do. It’s Leo Lionni’s 1964 Caldecott Honor Book. Swimmy helped his friends outwit a big tuna when he showed them how they were braver, bolder, and bigger when they swam together—in the formation of a big fish—than they were simply swimming in their normal school fashion.
“SO great. I bugged my parents until they got me a fish which I named Leo, after the author. I loved Leo! He was such a great pet and I think we had a real bond going, at least until my little sister accidentally ate him.”
That is so cool, and so is the way you organize your books when you put them away at night. Are your books in alphabetical order, or do you have a special system all your own?
“Right now I keep my books ordered by animal type, but every so often I change my organization scheme just for fun. My biggest challenge is that when I start rearranging my books, I sometimes get distracted by one I haven’t read in a while. But I digress.”
Dr. Seuss once said, “Not here, not there, not anywhere!” He probably wasn’t talking about bookshelves, though. At least not Ms. Ohi’s. But in your story, one-by-one your books start disappearing from your bookshelf, always during the night and always the book you were read at bedtime.
Why do you think it is always the bedtime book instead of a different title off your shelf?
“Because that’s the one I’d miss the most. Until I figured out the culprit, I figured it was the universe out to get me. You know, like how the one time you accidentally leave out your favorite robot that you slaved over putting together from a kit and your sister picks THAT DAY to go snooping in your room, and next thing you know the head’s missing and Mom blames you when it somehow ends up in her red velvet cake.”
Spencer, your little sister cannot yet read, but you were so sure she took your books. Why?
Let’s leave your story for a moment. I curious, who your favorite author and why. What about favorite character?
“Don’t make me choose, it’s too hard! I like Aaron Reynolds a lot. I just read CREEPY CARROTS the other day. Love Jasper Rabbit!”
I also love that you know how to read, yet still like to listen to a bedtime story your parents read to you. What is so special about listening to someone else read?
“I like hearing how someone else reads a story. Plus I can’t do nearly as good a narwhal voice as my Dad.”
Spencer, how did you meet your author, Ms. Deborah Ridpath Ohi?
“I met Debbie online, when I was showing her how to use redstone on Minecraft. She’s having a lot of trouble figuring that out. When she came over to visit my parents one day, she got really freaked out when she saw the squirrels reading in the backyard. It wasn’t so much the reading, it was the squirrels. She has thing about squirrels. Have you seen her “Beware The Squirrel” blog?” (http://debbieohi.com/squirrel)
But her sister, Ruth Ohi, wrote a lovely picture book called Fox and Squirrel Make a Friend.
Could it be just Debbie Ohi’s imagination?
So, how did you ever get her to write your story?
“Anyway, we calmed her down with some of my Mom’s famous red velvet cake and then I explained about why the squirrels were reading my books. She was so excited about the idea of turning this into a picture book that she didn’t get mad when she almost broke a tooth on the robot head she found in her slice of cake.”
Are picture books your favorite genre? What else do you like to read?
“I like all kinds of books! I’m starting to read more chapter books but I still love picture books the best, especially at bedtime.”
I was so thrilled your story has a happy ending. It also surprised me when you finally discovered where your books were going off to during the night. Do you plan to ask Ms. Ohi to write another of your stories?
“It surprised ME to find out where my books were going, too! And yes, I definitely plan to ask the author to write another of my stories, but I know she’s busy with other stories right now. I’ll keep bugging her, though.”
Spencer, do you know what your friend, Ms. Ohi, has planned next for her readers and when her work will be released?
“Next year (2016), she has two books coming out. Both are books written by other people:
“RUBY ROSE, OFF TO SCHOOL SHE GOES, written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Debbie (HarperCollins Children’s, June 2016) and MITZI TULANE, PRESCHOOL DETECTIVE: WHAT’S THAT SMELL?, written by Lauren McLaughlin and illustrated by Debbie (Random House Children’s, July 2016).”
One final question. Is there anything you would like to say to readers of your book Where Are My Books? Any advice to kids who want to keep their own books from disappearing?
“I hope you always know where your books are! Keep them away from the squirrels unless they promise to always bring them back. Debbie asked some of her online friends where THEIR books were, and here’s what they said:”
Thank you for stopping by Spencer. I really enjoyed our conversation and I am so glad you have all your books back on your shelf. Happy reading!
“Thanks so much for letting me visit! This was fun.”
Tomorrow, you can read the review of Where Are My Books? (find it here) But, if you just can’t wait to get your hands on this wonderful (Kirkus ) picture book, Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s first solo picture book, you can find it now at your favorite local bookstore or these online outlets:
If you would like to chat with Spencer, or any of the characters from Where Are My Books, download the unique finger puppets HERE.
Tomorrow there will be links to a treasure chest of downloadables.
A HUGE THANKS to Debbie Ridpath Ohi!
This interview would not be possible without her diligent assistance, wonderful illustrations, robust humor, childlike sense of play, fear of squirrels, and love of kidlit.
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Where Are My Books? written and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and published by Simon & Schuster. Spencer’s interview answers by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Images copyright © 2015 by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. This post is for entertainment purposes. Any opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”