A Few Kind Words

Praise for my work from my first editor, Andrea Spooner, Senior Executive Editor, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers:

“I’ve known Margaret since 1996, and during that time I have been delighted to be Margaret’s editor for a number of her published children’s books: Will You Take Care of Me?, If I Were Your Mother, If I Were Your Father, Am I Big or Little?, Now What Can I Do?, and I Love the Rain!. It is a very rare author with whom I have published six picture books, for I find original picture books to be the most difficult thing to write consistently well. But then, Margaret has some special gifts as a writer that have always made her stand out.

Margaret is better than any author I’ve ever worked with at writing picture books in dialogue between two characters, a form that presents unique challenges—for example, distinguishing voices, creating dramatic visual opportunities, constructing a story without a narrative that still lends itself to being read aloud. The natural, easygoing sense of humor in her words always has an undercurrent of warmth; the playfully fantastic moments she creates are always an outgrowth of a keen sense of a child’s day-to-day reality. My sales and marketing teams have always pitched her to booksellers as one of the few writers who can “do sweet” without falling into the trap of becoming saccharine, a tendency almost all picture book authors are vulnerable to. She is a writer who, one always senses, is in control of her style, subject, and process.

Speaking of her process, Margaret is also a consummate reviser, always willing to rethink a text in response to constructive feedback, and yet she easily engages in discussion about her intentions and the choices she’s made. She also appreciates what a visual artist can bring to a picture book, and her professionalism and cooperation on the artistic development of her work has always been a breath of fresh air. Finally, her good-natured, low-stress persona maximizes the potential for positive working relationships and experiences. In short, she’s an editor’s dream.

Margaret is very versatile, equally capable of writing rhymed texts and prose. But having been aware that Margaret’s first published work was an adult mystery novel, I’ve always been curious to see Margaret expand her writing range beyond picture books into a slightly older age group. For some years I’ve told her that I feel she must have a middle-grade novel in her, and that I would hope to be the first editor to see it.

As executive editor at Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers, and as someone who’s worked at four other established publishing houses, I have a broad perspective on this business; over the years I’ve worked countless picture book authors including the likes of Molly Bang, Steven Kellogg, Jules Feiffer, Jerry Pinkney and Robert San Souci. I hope my testimony . . . will be considered high praise.”

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