Science Book a Day Interviews Phyllis Root

phyllis-rootSpecial thanks to Phyllis Root for answering 5 questions about her recently featured book – Kiss the Cow!

I was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on Valentine’s Day, 1949, and grew up among green grass, gardens, trees, open fields, and books, books, books. My father says he remembers me reading in my high chair. I used to make up stories in bed at night when I couldn’t sleep and my parents had caught me with my book and flashlight. I am currently teaching in the MFA Writing for Children program of Hamline University. I live in Minneapolis with my two cats, and numerous butterflies in season amid prairie plants, trees, lakes, and books, books, books. In my spare time I love canoeing, sailing, gardening, and of course reading. – Adapted from Children’s Literature Network bio

#1 – What was the impetus for Kiss the Cow!?

Kiss the Cow began as a pourquoi tale to my children in the midst of a camping trip where everything went very wrong, including a torrential downpour that turned the campground into a sea of mud.  I made up a version of what later became Kiss the Cow to “explain” how the Milky Way got in the sky.  The story underwent many changes, the biggest being that originally Annalisa did not kiss the cow, and now she does.

#2 – What research did you put in to the story about life on the farm?

I did not do research, as I had spent time around farms both as a child and also as an adult.  I did visit the state fair with the intention of kissing a cow to see what that really felt like, but at the last minute in the cattle barn looking at all those cows I lost my nerve.  I’ve since kissed a cow but long after the book was published.

#3 – As a children’s story, what ideas are you trying to impart on your readers?

As a children’s writer, I would like to give children stories that they want to read, that they enjoy, that entertain and delight and stay with them.That’s the sort of stories I loved as a child (and still do).

#4 – What feedback have you received about the book? From adults? Kids? Farmers?

The only feedback I’ve received is from adults and children who like the book.  No feedback from farmers as far as I know.

#5 – Are you working on any new projects/books you can tell us about?

My latest projects are non-fiction books about the world we live in but don’t often know much about.  I’ve written Big Belching Bog and Plant a Pocket of Prairie, and I’m currently working on The Lost Forest about old growth forest habitat.

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