Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Arnold Lobel

I am a big Arnold Lobel fan! I started out wanting to be an illustrator and his work was my main inspiration. Once when I went to NY to show my portfolio I stopped in at Harper & Row (that's right-it was a long time ago if I am not calling it HarperCollins). The editor was very helpful and not only did she convince me to try and write my own books (I had never considered writing!) but she showed me Arnold's dummy book for his newest story at the time, Uncle Elephant. It was like seeing the holy grail. I felt so lucky!

A few years later I wrote to him care of Harper & Row and was very surprised when I got a note back. I told him I was not only a huge fan but had the chance to see his newest book ahead of time. I'll show his letter to you below. It reads:

Dear Jeff,
Thanks so much for your letter and for your kind words about my work. It is good to know, during my frequent periods of creative poop-out that my work is a source of encouragement to others. Good luck with your career.

The letter has been framed and always sits above my desk.


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  2. Lovely, Jeff.
    Thanks for this remembrance of things past.
    Harper & Row for starters. That's where I came in as well.
    I was and still am also a huge Arnold Lobel fan. Had the thrill of meeting and talking with him years ago, at several conferences of Children's Book people held here in Philly at Drexel University.
    Kind, straight forward and funny. Lovely man.
    I have a small cache of much treasured letters that we exchanged when I purchased one of his original pieces from Whiskers and Rhymes. This post has brought back some very special memories. I'm going to pull his books down right after I finish this. Thanks for sharing and for the memories.