Click here to send an email to JVL

nce upon a time there was a young mother who had two babies. The oldest one, the boy, was two years old. He asked questions all the time and loved trucks and had a red motorcycle he liked to ride. The other one, the girl, was just a year old. She was learning to walk and couldn't talk (at least so you could understand her) and didn't have hair yet, or teeth. But she smiled a lot. Their names were David and Elizabeth.

The mother and father and two babies lived in a small apartment in New York City. It was so small that the babies didn't have a room of their own. They lived in the living room, in two cribs. It was kind of crowded, especially with all their toys. The boy's motorcycle lived under a table.

The young mother was so busy taking care of the two babies that she didn't have time to do anything else. Like writing books (she'd already written three.) She wished she could, but she was just too tired.

Sometimes the babies did funny things. Like putting Cheerios in their juice or spaghetti sauce in their hair. The little one tried to do everything the big one did, so she fell down a lot. Sometimes they did naughty things. The little one knocked over the big one's block tower. The big one wouldn't share his toys. When the mother got them all dressed in their snowsuits to go out on a winter day, they took off their clothes. They said cute things too. The big one called blueberries "bluedoos" and raisins "raineys." The little one called everything "gah." The mother wrote all of this down in a notebook so she wouldn't forget.

One day she had an idea. Maybe she could turn what was in the notebook into little stories. They would have to be very short, because the only time she had to write was during naptime. She decided to try.

The mother put the babies down for their naps. Then she set up her portable typewriter (this was before computers) on the small table in the small kitchen in the small apartment. And she started to write a story about a little boy and his baby sister. It was hard to concentrate because the real little boy didn't like taking naps. He talked to his stuffed animals and sang the ABC song in a loud voice. But she kept trying, and after a few weeks she had written five very short stories about her babies.

She didn't know what kind of book they could be, but she decided to send them to her editor to find out. Just before she did that, she had another thought. The babies seemed to like books about animals. So maybe she should make these stories about animal children.She thought about all the animals they could be, and came up with pigs. Then she thought about the names of the children in the babies' play group, and came up with Oliver and Amanda. And that gave her a title for her book: Tales of Oliver Pig.

The editor liked the stories. After awhile the book was published. Then the mother got more ideas from her notebook, and wrote More Tales of Oliver Pig and Amanda Pig and Her Big Brother Oliver. As the babies grew up to be children, she kept writing about them, until finally they got too big to be Oliver and Amanda any more. In fact, they became grown-ups.

So now I, the mother (no longer young), write from my memories of those wonderful days when I had two babies.

Home | Meet JVL | JVL Bookshelf | Q&A | What's New |
Writing About History | Pig Tales | Links