Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Leslie Patricelli - June 24

Happy Birthday Leslie Patricelli - June 24

It's time to get ready for a cookout at the park! Picnic basket packed with food and place settings -- check.  Charcoal and lighter -- check.  Baseball bat and balls -- check.  Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli -- check.

Leslie Patricelli told an audience when she received the 2009 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book Award for Higher! Higher! that "my daughter Tia, who when she was one-and-half dictated Higher! Higher! to me while she was on the swing set at the park one sunny day." (Click here to hear more of the story - or view the video embedded below).

My children and I feel very lucky to have a park within walking distance of our house.  We visit frequently but today's visit was a little bit more exciting. Over a year ago, my son and daughter asked if we could someday have a cookout at the park and use one of the charcoal grills near the picnic tables.  This day would be the day that I fulfill the promise that I made to them.  We ate hot dogs and hamburgers, played baseball, and then paused under a tree to read Higher! Higher! before we headed over to the swings.
Leslie Patricelli's bright colors in the book were even brighter in the afternoon sunshine.
We reenacted the book by swinging higher and higher until we reached outer space and high-fived an alien.  I asked my daughter, "What's after the alien?"  She quickly responded, "Pluto." But, changed her answer and said, "Heaven, Dad. Heaven is after the alien." 

I must warn you! If you read Higher! Higher! with your children before they swing I guarantee you will hear the word "higher" about 500 times!
Even the little guy was reaching for the clouds!
The first book by Leslie Patricelli that I ever read to my children was Yummy, Yucky.  It is the first book in a series of many board books (Click Here to View More) that feature the "Baby" character.  Leslie Patricelli explained in an interview with MawBooks that the baby character was conceived during a CPR class for new parents that she attended when her son, Beck, was an infant.  Yummy, Yucky came a little later when, "he was about one-year-old and was sticking everything in his mouth, I found myself constantly saying "yummy" to try to get him to eat stuff, or "yucky" to keep him from putting things in his mouth."

My youngest son loves this book (in fact all my kids have loved the book).  Although he is getting better about not sticking everything in his mouth he still tries to eat paper or dried up food scraps off the kitchen floor.  I will say, "Yucky." And he just shakes his head NO and smiles! He is quite a stinker!

Mulch at the Park - Yummy or Yucky?
It is now officially SUMMERTIME! I am very thankful that Leslie Patricelli was willing to share this summertime birthday memory with us:

Since my birthday falls in the summer, I didn't have many parties because we were usually off doing something else (and so were my friends!).  One of my favorite birthdays that I remember as a kid was my 10th birthday in the Grand Canyon.  I remember laying on top of our blue VW camper van late at night, wearing my new red track jacket with white stripes, holding my new Snoopy and Woodstock dolls (Snoopy had on a blue track jacket that matched my red one!). We were looking at the unfathomable amount of stars in the sky and trying to find the constellations.  It's a nice memory to have! This birthday (my 43rd), my husband, three kids and I will be driving in our mini-van (named Vanna) from Ketchum, ID, where I live, to Davis, CA where my sister lives.  That day we will be driving along the west shore of Lake Tahoe. It should make for another memorable time!

Leslie, thank you so much for sharing! We hope you have a wonderful birthday and a great time in California! Happy Birthday!

Put this on your list! Be Quiet Mike! to be released Aug. 23, 2011 (Click for review) and check out an interview with her son who inspired the book at KidHeaded blog.

1. Leslie Patricelli's Website
2. Follow Leslie Patricelli on Facebook + artwork on book in progress
3. Author Feature - Blue Manatee Boxes
4. Text Interviews - Two Writing TeachersMawBooks, Seattle Moms Blog, In the Pages, When is My Turn
5. The Birthday Box on iTunes for iPhone, iPad
6. Monkey Mike (BE QUIET MIKE - To Be Released Aug 23, 2011) video - YouTube
7. Check out her Patterson Puppies books!


  1. Nice! I had no clue that we had two very famous authors sharing b'days back to back. Grand Canyon b'day celebrations sound such fun, even for adults, fun enough to be among the 'happiest' childhood memories (i am sure)!

  2. Love the heaven comment!! And did the little guy really like the yucky mulch? Cute! AVR


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